He stood in the middle of the path near the ravine listening for more sounds to guide him. He knew the woods well, but it was impossible to tell exactly where he was at night in the fog.
“I didn’t think you’d come.” The voice was disembodied, coming from deep in the fog toward the ravine.
Paul turned toward the voice. “You said you needed help.” There was a loud snort, and the fog over the ravine abruptly moved, causing Paul to shiver.
The woods had always been creepy and mysterious, and few people ventured into them. There were reports over the years of people never returning after they entered the woods. But Paul had always been drawn to the woods and, in recent years, found himself spending more time there than he did in town, leading to his being labeled as a village outcast.
It had been many years since the strange orange glow in the mist. Curious about the light, Paul found what appeared to be an egg in a small clearing in the deep woods. Its large size and round shape made him believe it was from another world altogether. He dared not to bring it home, so he hid it in his camp. When he returned several days later, he found it had opened and was empty. It didn’t take long for him to locate the creature that came from the egg.
Paul and the scaly humanoid known as Argon learned to communicate. Fearing what would happen to them if the locals discovered them, Paul kept his existence a secret. These days they rarely met as Argon had become self-sufficient and wise to his new world. On the rare times when Paul could spend time with him, Argon expressed a longing to return to his home. Paul understood that. There had been many times when he’d longed to return to a much earlier and simpler time.
The humanoid dragon-like creature had grown to a size that made it increasingly challenging to hide in the deep woods, and he had increased his range, sometimes coming dangerously close to nearby towns.
“Argon, you must leave the woods. It is no longer safe for you.”
A large leatherlike face emerged from the fog over the ravine. Argon’s hot breath warmed Paul. Argon snorted. A stream of fire jetted from his nose and vanished quickly, leaving only a thin wisp of smoke and a neat circle of burned ground next to Paul.
“You’ve been spotted. The villagers are talking about forming a hunting party.”
Argon nodded, “I know. I saw them.”
“The fools will kill you if they get the chance.”
“And you. If they find you knew about me all along.”
They stood in silence for a few minutes. Neither wanted to say what was on their mind.
“We could introduce you to them on our terms,” Paul suggested almost innocently.
Argon flashed his version of a smile, baring his sharp teeth. “I think it is time for your kind to learn of mine.”