The Food Chain
By Random Dragon
|Story Copyright (C) By: Random Dragon
2001 - All rights reserved.
Story not to be reprinted, or redistributed,
If you wish to use the stories, or
The Food Chain ( Part 3 )
Life is a bother sometimes. A ruthless exercise in "guess and check", if you will. And when we "guess" incorrectly, we end up paying for our mistakes when we "check". And as every living creature has done before me, I made mistakes. Quite a few, in fact. Most of them silly, some of them grievous. I suppose if I had listened closer to my father's imparted wisdom, I might have avoided some of the problems in my life, but as I said before: we know surprisingly little as we live our lives, only seeing the truth when it is too late to be of any good.
As you can probably guess, what got me into trouble the most was my insatiable appetite. "Always thinking with my stomach", as my parents had said. To be honest, it was a lovely, carefree thing, to live my life according to the whims of my ever-ready bottomless pit of a belly. When too many variables are entered in an equation, however, the problem multiplies and grows more complex. And as I snuck around with my two lovely pets, my perpetual dinner-dates, I kept adding more and more variables to my life. Things were no longer so easy.
Obviously, I spent my free time in the clearing with my scrumptious little toys. The particular fiasco that took place one brisk autumn day was quite a big one. There he was, my delectable Lucas, bathing himself in a small (to me) pool of water that lay to the side of the clearing. It was fresh, clean water that came from a nearby spring, and Luke practically lived in it. I wasn't one to complain, however, for I like my food to be nice and sanitary.
My charming Lucas had been living with me for seven years. Every winter, he'd return to the nearby village, offering some excuse he wouldn't tell me as to why he was always out in the mountains during the warm seasons. The village folk must have bought it, because he returned to me safe and sound every spring. It pained me to be away from him, but he pointed out the fact that it was nearly impossible for a human to survive in the cold, rugged conditions in which I, as a hardy dragoness, thought nothing of. I tried to convince him otherwise (even coyly offering him a "warm place to stay"), but in the end, he won out. He was right, anyway. All for the better, I suppose.
The afternoon had started normal enough, with myself coming to visit Lucas, happy and hidden from any dragons that might mistake him for an hours' devours. A good while passed while we exchanged the recent news, our feelings at the moment (Luke was such a sweetie), and our plans for the future. Eventually, the conversation became one-sided, and Luke began to explain the complexities of human society. Politics, government, taxes, and then on to frivolous things like money and "high society".
To be honest, I learned little from his speech, because my mind was occupied elsewhere. The sounds just couldn't break the images dancing in my head, those of my pet human, curled up in my distended belly. Luke threw one hand up and his eyes narrowed a bit, but I had no idea what topic he had reached. All I cared about was food, and he was the cuisine of choice. Lying on my rounded belly next to the pool of water, I gazed at him, through him, with dreaming, half-closed eyes. I think he caught my gaze once or twice, for he would occasionally pause and blush, then continue with his tirade.
" which, of course, it totally untrue. But they'll say anything, as long as it " I heard his voice again, coming through my naughty mental veil. Another unexplainable thing, as usual, but there was just something in the air that suddenly yanked us both back into reality, out of our own worlds, to pause and stare at each other. I forced a nervous smile, and I was faintly aware of the growing heat on my face. At least I wasn't the only one, for Luke was turning red as well.
"What what is " I began, turning an even brighter red and lowering my gaze to the grass. "Is there something wrong, Lukey?"
"Well, I was going to ask you the same thing. You keep staring at me, and I feel like I should be saying or doing something,"
"Oh? No, dear boy, I'm just admiring ..the reflection of the sunlight on the water," I lied, stuttering and struggling to dispose of the butterflies that had begun fluttering about in my stomach. Besides, I would rather have had Luke in there.
Ah, young love. Or is it lust? Or, in my case, nothing more than a greedy hunger? Whatever the case, Luke and I were frozen in place, framed in our nervous picture by the gentle waving of the leafless trees. Just when you think things seem like they can't get any more awkward, couldn't possibly become worse than they already are, Old Man Irony has the nasty habit of proving you wrong.
It's a good thing my human and I were already frozen, because it saved me the time of doing so. That voice, it couldn't have been
"Erinystial, my feisty dragoness! I do believe I hear the dinner bell!"
It was. Derekin. As if being shocked back to life, I regained all my normal functions of movement and speech, and used them in a panicked fashion. Derekin was approaching, and if I didn't act fast, he would discover my secret snack. I commanded my mind to think of a suitable plan, but it seemed intent on just mocking me. A man, caught with another woman in his wife's bed. A woman, risking the thrill of two relationships at once. Me, about to be discovered slinking off with another meal. And the similarity between them? They were, we were, all idiots. Kinky little idiots.
"Lucas, my savory pet, how how long can a human holds its breath?"
My question had obviously been one he hadn't been expecting. It was utterly stupid, but it was the only idea I had. I silently prayed that humans shared some characteristics of dragons, who, with their powerful heart and lungs, can go without breath for almost ten minutes at a time. His answer was like a knife to my throat, but there was nothing I could do.
"Actually, I can hold my breath for quite a long time, much longer than the guys back home "
"Yup, they all wish they could beat my record of 1 minute, 43 seconds,"
"Lucas, my treat, you might want to take a deep breath. I need you to get to the bottom of the water and stay there for as long as you can. I have some dragon stuff to do, and you'd be better off if you were out of sight," I tried to explain to him, my words hurried and running together. Derekin was humming a happy tune and, by the growing sound, was almost upon the clearing. Perhaps Luke had begun to respond, but I'd never know, for with a hasty movement, I patted him on the head, gently yet firmly, and he plunged, partly with the momentum I had given him, beneath the crystal waters. I turned just in time to meet Derekin's grin.
"Ah, I knew you'd be here," he began with a coy smirk, "and I just couldn't stand another minute apart from my hungry lil' dragoness,"
"Wh-where else would I be, Derry?" I said, trying to swallow my anxiety. Unfortunately, anxiety seemed to be the only thing I couldn't swallow.
"Oh, I don't know," he said, letting his eyes wander playfully about the clearing. He was trying to play cute, which I normally would've adored, but I had a strict time limit on this ordeal, and games weren't helping.
"I'm terribly sorry, but I was about to take a nap. I well, I've had a tough day. Nothing is never enough for the Elders, and I've been running errands all day," I lied, though even as I did, I regretted doing so. His expression, on hearing this, was a poison to my heart.
"Oh," was his only response, and the long pause that followed only allowed the poison to spread. I hated myself, but was helpless in the situation. I blinked my guilty eyes and turned my gaze away from him as he began speaking again. "Well you know Stuff like this happens, I can understand. You you get your rest. I wouldn't want to be a a burden,"
Was he trying to kill me? To physically cause me pain? If so, he was doing a bang-up job. It was then that life decided to up the ante once more, and prove that things could always get worse.
"If you need me, I'll just be " his voice burned me, but his sudden pause and outcry were what made my heart practically stop. It was too late. "Erin Erin! Move! Get out, do something! There's a human in the water, right behind you! He's probably armed, the bastard!"
I looked honestly srprised, though more by the alarm in Derekin's voice than by the actual "danger". I leapt from the water onto the shore in a graceful (for me) dive. Hoping to quickly quell my tasty kin's apprehensions, I snared Lucas' right ankle with the tip of my tail, bringing him out and up to my face. I did my best to look intimidating, and to satisfy Derekin's suspicions.
"Who are you, human, and why do you defile this place with your wretched presence?" I growled. Luke just blinked.
"Defile? Did I do something wrong? I was just doing what yo-" he responded, but my maw cut him off. I worked his body into my jaws, getting a good grip with both my paws and throat.
Derekin was apparently satisfied, as the wild look in his eyes was replaced with an interested calm. I rolled my eyes and brought my focus back to Luke. If this was how my "clever little plan" had turned out, I might as well go along with it. I couldn't take as long to savor Luke's legendary taste, for it might look a little too similar to how I handle Derekin. The last thing I needed was for my gorgeous dragon-snack to wise up on what had been going on behind his back.
Old Man Irony was up to his old tricks again, as this was undoubtedly one of the best meals Lucas had ever been. His recently cleaned body, gently soaked in the cold spring water, was a constant torture to my tongue, which I was forced to hurry my unintended dinner along before it could get a good, solid taste. I was unable, however, to suppress a sudden quiver of delight as my human's hindquarters disappeared between my rows of gentle teeth. Derekin raised an eyeridge, but dismissed the sudden shiver as vengeful rage, or something similar.
I let out an exasperated breath as my throat became freed of meaty obstruction, my sentient food now sprawled in my "dainty" belly. I repressed the urge to punch Derekin in the face, which was difficult, because as I turned towards him, panting and dripping with mingled sweat and water, he wore the widest grin I've ever seen on a dragon. My stomach tossed and turned, then finally settled, as if to certify that my next thought was appropriate. No. Not now. Please, no. Derekin. He had that grin.
"I knew you could handle it, Erin. In your own way, of course," he started, wasting no time in getting his little hints across. "Of course, such a scrawny human is hardly worthy of being called an appetizer," he continued, eyes wide, voice dripping with playful hope. "It's time for the second, and sweetest, portion: dessert!"
I audibly groaned, this time not caring about his feelings, and let my deprived tongue hang from my lower lip.
"Derekin, I haven't exactly been starving myself lately. Usually I'd have room, but with Lu--, uh, with the human already in there, I don't think I " I rambled, though I might as well have been arguing with a tree.
"Oh, Erin! There's always room for dessert! Please? Pleeeeeeeease?"
"Seriously, I don't-"
"Pretty please with a cherry on top?" he interrupted. To my surprise, he took his paw from behind his back, which held the aforementioned red fruit, and placed it atop his head. He blushed and gave a cheesy, hopeful grin. Another groan from me, a sound I was getting accustomed to. He was so cute, and my defenses had just been breached.
"Oh, jeez you win. Come here, you tasty devil you," I cooed, caught up in the moment. There was not a moment's hesitation, and before I could barely finish my sentence, Derekin was sprawled in front of me, soft, pliable, and vulnerable, his waiting head level with my own enticing maw. We just stared at each other for a while, that inevitably embarrassing moment right before starting our naughty dinner date having set in. As always, it passed, but not until after turning he and I an equal shade of crimson. "Down the hatch, don't look back", as my motto became.
I reclined into a more comfortable position, and pulled my willing dessert onto my stomach, giving me a little assembly line approach to devouring him. Threading his head and sinuous neck into my mouth and, ultimately, into my throat, he offered no resistance. In fact, Derekin did his best to help the process along. That's what always got me. No matter how many times I managed to cram him into my cavernous stomach, he was so anxious to get there that he couldn't sit still.
I closed my eyes and arched my back, which, in my lying position, raised my belly, Derekin's pedestal, hoping to get gravity in on the fun. Derekin's upper body fell victim to the basic machine my stomach had become, an inclined plane, a chute that led straight to the inner portions of what he was resting on at that very moment. My fattened belly was our little toy, and he, in reality, was probably having more fun with it than I was. Before our little game of "chutes and dragons" was over, he was all but gone, only his excitedly wriggling tail protruding from my mouth.
Pardon my imagery, but I believe this supposedly "blissful" scene needs some clarification, some dispelling of misconceptions. To put it bluntly, I was in Hell. I had felt the pressure even before Derekin was halfway between being dragon and being food. But now, with his enormous bulk piled into my poor, aching belly, I wasn't sure if I could finish my dessert. He seemed to be egging me on, however, for his tail was doing a little dance that I could feel from within, all up and down my throat. Gripping my pitiable, bloated belly, and whispering words of reassurance (more to my stomach than to Derekin), I tilted my head back and slurped up his tail like the scrumptious noodle it was.
Ow. Just plain ow. I laid there in the clearing, which isn't as calming as it usually is when you've got a stomach the size of a house, praying for sleep or unconsciousness or some form of release. When the struggles within my engorged gut had stopped, being playful and teasing for Derekin, while disconcerting and painful for myself, I got into the most comfortable position I could find, and just let myself go. My arms flopped to the side, and I'm not quite sure how my legs ended up, because my entire lower body was numb, not to mention the fact that my swollen belly eclipsed over half of my field of vision.
I promised myself, right then and there, that I would never do such a stupid thing again. Mistakes are too easily made, and the price is often terrible. Of course, this all sounds well and good on paper, but I could elaborate on the countless other mishaps I've suffered throughout my life. However, I don't think such a thing is necessary. You've got all the embarrassment, pain, and awkwardness you could ever want right here, in this poor, bloated dragoness.
Regretting everything I had done that had led up to this fiasco, my lament only increased as I realized I wasn't lying in my favorite patch of grass. I could literally not move under my own power, so I gave up and lay right there, waiting for the blissful sleep that follows a sumptuous, satisfying feast.
Craning my head ever so slowly, I noticed Derekin's cherry, perched in a tuft of grass, close to the water's edge. I sighed, picked it up between two dainty claws, and popped it into my mouth.