Everyone knew the stone creature was alive, though it never moved, because of its living eyes. Once, perhaps, it was a dragon. For ages it stood in the middle of town, as a reminder it was said, though no one knew what they were supposed to remember.
No one looked it in its eye, at least not the left eye. That eye was the most beautiful eye in creation. Multifaceted and gleaming, it was an artist’s dream. But it could only see the bad. The tales told of people turned to stone themselves or they became hideous monsters. The tales grew as the years went on. No one appreciated the magnificence of that orb.
The other eye was not so lovely. Surrounded by scarred skin, broken scales and bulging sores, nothing about it was attractive. But it could only see the good. Everyone was willing to look into that eye for they could see their inner beauty reflected back at them. One went away feeling confident, worthy, and perfect.
This continued for years until a small child with a misshapen body dared to look into both eyes. Limping up to the statue she stared for several moments then fell to the ground in tears. Other townsfolk watched in horror, waiting to see her punishment, not daring to help her. The girl only stopped crying when she heard gasps and screams from the people as they fled.
“Why do you weep?” asked a raspy voice.
The child sat up and found the statue towering over her. “You’re like me. Everyone pretends only part of you exists. They are only interested in what you can do for them.”
“And you are not?”
The girl wiped her nose on her sleeve and shook her head. “I think you’re beautiful. May I just sit here and look at you for a while before you kill me?”
So she peered deep into the creature’s eyes. It stared back. As they watched each other a transformation began. Pieces of stone flaked, shriveled and fell from the statue’s body. The scales underneath were the color of the vanishing stone, only brighter, full of life. The eyes didn’t change. When the shedding was complete the dragon shook out his wings and stood tall and proud.
He gazed down at the girl. “Only you truly saw me, allowing me to evolve. For that, I will grant you one wish. Would you like me to fix your body?”
The child shook her head. “No, I like me, just the way I am. Would you let me ride you instead? Just once.”
“Yes.” He stayed, working as the girl’s trusty steed until she was too old to ride.
Just before death she made one final request. The shocked dragon granted the wish. He stared deep into her eyes as the metamorphosis occurred. When it finished, he lovingly carried her to the town square. To this day when people see the dragon statue there, they only look into its right eye.
This piece was inspired by a writing prompt I came across from talyabeyers. I was going to use my prompt about rain, and I still will, but this one really caught my attention so I went with it first. I haven’t written much flash fiction lately so it’s a bit rough. I planned on it being only 100 words but it kept growing and I had to spend a ridiculous amount of time paring it down to 500. Does that sound like complaining? I had a wonderful time writing and tweaking it! I’ve missed this, which I’ll remind myself of when I revise at a later date.
I was going to wait until Friday to post it but this one is a bonus for me and I plan to write more flash this week.