Chapter 1: Birth
It’s dark. Oppressively so. Where am I?
I feel claustrophobic and confused. I barely have any space to move, and in my fear I lash out in front of me. I hit something solid - it must be what’s keeping me from moving much. There is a small crack in the thing in front of me, and a little light streams in.
I hit it again, causing the crack to grow some. The brittle surface gives way to my claws, and after some effort I manage to force a large chunk away from myself. It is hard work, but I need to get out. I breathe deeply when I escape and open my eyes fully, seeing the world for the first time.
I see several ovals around me, of varying colours. Inspecting myself, I find that there is a thin layer of slime on top of what I know to be part of me - my scales. My body wants to be hard and strong, but is still forming. I am soft for now. My scales are green.
Some creatures that seem to resemble myself, though in different colours, are breaking their way out of similar prisons to my own (“egg” - the word appears in my mind). I climb out to inspect the world more closely. Stretching out my wings and legs, I stumble around this space. My clutch-mates don’t seem to be faring much better.
It isn't long before all of the eggs have been broken ("hatched"? The word seems too gentle for the ordeal we faced). We explore our small world.
I am alive.
Over the next year, me and my clutch-mates vie for the attention of Father. He feeds us and keeps us safe, but he is no pushover. And it isn’t long before we notice a weak link.
She is always last to the food that Father provides for us. One of my other clutch-mates, on one occasion, ‘pretends’ to try and knock her from our small but safe nest. He nearly succeeds. She seems to be the only one that doesn't realise that it is not an accident. We are dragons, there is no room for a weak link. The rest of us know what must be done.
One day we all scramble for a spot in the nest, pretending that Father has come to feed us again. Not realising that he is nowhere in sight, the runt falls for it. She tries to push her way into the circle of reptiles, knowing that we won't let her feed as an equal unless she fights for it. I see hope and happiness in her eyes as we pretend that she has forced her way through, just before she realises that there is no food in sight.
I make the first move. Blood spurts from a wound in her neck, covering her attackers. Within seconds, she is dead. We quickly devour her.
When father next arrives, I see a hint of pride in his eyes as he notices the bones of the runt. We are dragons.