Losing her grip

The mountainous red beast hovering over her may not have understood the specifics of the insult, but nonetheless there was a gurgling rumble of anger from deep within Mama's throat. Like a rolling fog, it bubbled slowly across the nest to where Tegain struggled to her feet. The pain dropped her to her knees more than once, but her stubborn will forced her to a (somewhat) standing position. She glowered over her bare shoulder at Mama and waited for the huge creature to bite her in two; the dragon would eventually lose patience after all, right? It was inevitable.

Something wet on her upper lip. She abstractly wiped the back of her hand over her mouth and was surprised to find it covered with a big red smear of blood. Oh hell. Her first guess was a punctured lung, but her breathing seemed fine, so that was unlikely. There was a sharp, throbbing pain in her skull; was it possible to make one's brain bleed? Tegain didn't know. Didn't care, really, though she imagined the inside of her skull probably looked more like a dripping bowl of gruel at that point. She had other problems which would do her in long before her brain turned to jelly and oozed out her nose. Namely, one dragon towering above her with death in its eye. It was the very image from nightmares, and Tegain's knees no doubt should have buckled in terror as it was obvious she was about to meet her destiny, but they didn't. Her legs were strong and her back was rigid as she stood to confront her killer. Maybe it was the strong stubborn streak around which her entire childhood was based.

Or maybe it was the ragged remains of her clothing which hung from Mama Red's front teeth at an oddly comical angle, in spite of Tegain's current dire situation.

There was a moment's hesitation, where Tegain's rational mind contemplated her next actions, but what the hell, might as well go out swinging, right?

As well as her gimpy ankle would allow, she strode boldly forward until she was within arm's length of the giant red beast's belly. She stabbed an accusatory finger from her left hand hard into those iron scales and grit her teeth, “You do not get to dictate which dragon I pick! Do you hear me? That is MY decision! I will NOT stand around idly and let you bully me! So if you wanna eat me, fine! But you're not gonna catch me cowering in fear just because you're some dumb ass!”

Each word was punctuated by her fists against Mama's belly scales. Tears obscured her vision and her sobbing breath burned in her chest. She could not see Mama's reaction above, but she could feel it. She sensed the long, muscular neck slither down toward the ground, down to her level, and she braced herself as the mighty dragon opened its mouth. Tegain feared the worst but it did not choose to eat her. Instead, Mama screamed a song of fury and rage only inches from Tegain's head. The dragon's breath was hot and wet, and the sound released was unlike anything Tegain would ever hear in her life; the decibels alone had the force to knock a girl on her ass, yet Tegain stood firm. Her teeth bared, her fists balled at her sides, she suddenly found Mama Red's delay in eating her to be growing tedious, and perhaps even a sign of weakness. She set her jaw and silently wished her family well as she growled, “Bring it."

The End

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