Saturday, January 12, 2013

Dragunculus trickeri, the Walleyed Flabbergaster

A letter has arrived from Madeline Brown in Minglemist.  Her employer, T. P. Dunlap, has identified another dragon species.  Here is what she sent:

I have not personally seen this dragon, so had to draw the picture based on T. P.'s description.  And as for the information on it, I'll let T. P. tell you himself.  The following is a copy of his notes:

This is the ugliest dragon imaginable with warts and wrinkles all over its blotchy grey body.  The head is big and blunt, the eyes small and peculiarly crossed, the snout turned up like a pig's, the body rotund and lumpish.  Small rounded ears are barely noticeable because of the leaves, grass, twigs and mud plastered to its head.  Perhaps this camouflage helps deter predators, though I can't imagine anything wanting to eat such a creature.  The fire they breathe is black and sooty and forms puddles on the ground.  Flabbergasters often sun themselves on the giant speckled mushroom that grows prolifically in Minglemist. 

Elijah Belltower, the man who first discovered Minglemist, and whose notes I have been studying, tells a wild tale about this dragon.  According to his story, whenever he approached a flabbergaster, the ground in front of him shifted and changed.  Hills became declines, trees migrated from the right side of his vision to the left.  The first time this happened to him he spent an entire hour attempting to climb a steep slope, but the flabbergaster he'd been trying to reach suddenly flew away and he found he'd been stepping in place the whole time and hadn't moved forward at all.  Of course I disbelieved this.  Belltower had been hallucinating.  He'd probably eaten some wild fungi with psychotropic properties.  Still, other strange facts he'd related about the dragons had proved to be correct, so I performed an experiment.  I walked slowly towards the two flabbergasters.  Sure enough, the landscape began to change.  I couldn't tell whether I was going uphill or down, and a thorny thicket in front of me proved to be illusion.  But not only my physical perceptions changed.  I began to have the peculiar feeling that there were two of me, the man walking along the ground and another man observing the walker.  The feeling was so uncomfortable I shut my eyes, turned around and walked the other way.  Immediately I felt normal again.  Now that time has passed I'm certain I must have been influenced by Belltower's strange ramblings, though I'm not at all impressionable.  And I still have the thought that someone or something is following me, daring me to turn around and look behind me.  What would have happened if I'd kept walking towards the dragons?  Here is what Belltower says in his notes:

Belltower:  When approaching the cross-eyed flabbergaster - beware!  The landscape shifts and we must shift with it, else we get stuck and can't move forward.  But do we go this way or that?  And who is it that watches us trying to decide?  Is it us up there, looking down?  And if so, why don't we help ourselves find the right path?  It is quite confusing the way we seem to be observing and acting all at once.  Who is the real us?  Are we one, or two?  Do the answers come from inside us, or somewhere out there?  Are we in the universe or is the universe in us?