Hill of Sidh
Novelist : Judit Elias
The dense mist cleared as quickly as it
had formed. The dragons stood, stunned, looking around them. It was Seed who
saw it first. He gasped and took his sister’s hand. Now they were in deep
A creature stood before them with a lit
torch. It had soft pink fleshy skin and pale blonde hair on top of its head, falling
in long curls to its shoulders. It had no horns, and its snout was ridiculously
flat, with tiny teeth. It had long arms and legs but no wings. Seed had always
wondered how it must feel to not be able to fly.
The dragons recognised the creature: it
was a human. Their brother Ashes had been wise enough to tell them about
humans, the most widespread species in the universe. This human was a
hatchling… no, a… children? Child? Yes, child was the correct word, Seed thought.
That was easy to see by its size and proportions. He decided it must be a
female, as he had been told female humans had longer manes than males.
The thing was… there were no humans in
that part of Sidh. They mostly gathered far away, in the big city on the hill.
The child was startled when she saw them but didn’t seem too scared. She looked
at them curiously.
“We have to go,” Seed whispered to his
Ashes had been very clear that they had to
avoid any interaction with other intelligent species. Ideally, they shouldn’t
have been spotted in the first place.
The human was now looking for something
inside the small bag she was carrying. She produced some kind of fruit that
Seed had never seen. Knowing she had captured the attention of the strange
creatures, she took a bite of it, making exaggerated chewing sounds to show how
delicious it was. Then she kneeled and stretched out her arm to offer it to the
“I wonder what it tastes like,” muttered
Rot, who started slowly reaching for the fruit.
grief!” thought Seed, “We have just
eaten so many nuts, how can you be hungry?”
He wanted to leave but he was also feeling
curious about the little creature. He had only seen one human in all his life,
and never a child. Maybe if they didn’t speak in front of her they would pass
as some kind of woodland creature. Ashes had told them no one must know about
the small dragon family living in Sidh.
Rot was already devouring the food and the
child was laughing at the dragon’s greediness.
“This is good,” said Rot. “It looks like
an apple but tastes more like a melon. You should try it, Seed!”
Seed sighed. So much for his plan to pass
as non-intelligent beings. The girl clapped her hands, pleased, and produced
another piece of fruit from her bag. She ran behind one of the trees, poking
her head out and making faces at them. Her eyes were glittering with joy and it
was difficult to resist such a playful invitation. Seed and Rot ran towards
her, smiles on their faces. The child gave them the fruit and hurried to
another hiding place. She was not difficult to find. She was not very fast and,
even when she managed to hide, she couldn’t help but giggle, so the dragons
could easily locate her. Every now and then, when the twins got to her, she
would give them one of the apples as a reward. Soon the bag was empty and the
little one signalled that they should follow her.
“Can we go?” asked Rot. “Maybe she has
more of those apple-melons.”
Apparently, Seed’s sister’s appetite never
ended. They really should be getting back, but Seed’s curiosity was niggling at
him. What was a small human child doing in these parts of the woods?
“Only for a while,” he whispered to Rot as
they followed the girl.
The woods were getting thicker and thicker
as they walked along. Tall pine trees now covered most of the blue sky with
their wide branches. Soon they stumbled into a meadow full of grass and yellow
daffodils. In the middle stood a cabin. It was small, made of wood and with a
thatched roof. In front of the hut there was a stone well. The dragons peeked
inside and could see their reflections and something else. It looked like tiny
shiny bugs, maybe some sort of firefly, skidding on the surface of the water.
The bugs followed the lines of their reflections, as if trying to draw their
little girl entered the cabin without a thought and the dragons followed her.
It was dark and musty, and the door closed as soon as they were inside. The child was standing in front of them,
now with a grin on her face.
was odd. Seed noticed the smell, a rotten scent, even putrid, that made his
nostrils flare. Rot coughed in disgust, she must have sensed it too. The girl
just stared at them, staying completely still. And then her skin started to
at her with alarm. Seed, on the other hand, stayed silent. This was just wrong,
he could feel it in every part of himself. The child was now beginning to grow.
Her golden curls fell to the floor in clumps and her tiny white teeth yellowed
and grew, becoming quite crooked. The little hands were now huge and hairy.
dragons took a step back in horror, unable to believe the transformation that
was taking place. A huge thickset
man was now in front of them, staring at them intently. His eyes looked small
in his big flat face and his square jaw was covered with a greyish stubble. The human, dressed in a dark
robe, stood straight, his chubby hands with their plump short fingers resting
on his waist.
“My, my, what a perfect pair of specimens,”
Nothing in the tone of his voice seemed
friendly. Now that their eyes were adjusting to the dark, Seed could inspect
the interior of the cabin. It was terrifying. On a large table there were
books, all kinds of sharp instruments and, Seed noticed, swallowing nervously, organs.
Pieces of other animals. He could recognise some of them. There were stuffed
heads mounted on the walls. He could hear his sister growling softly, panic in
“You… you can’t hurt us,” he stuttered,
trying to control the tremor in his voice
The man threw his head back and laughed.
“We will burn you if you try to harm us,” added
Seed scoured the dwelling hoping for a way
to escape. He noticed that the last of the sun’s rays were piercing a number of
small holes in the thatched roof. If they could fly up they might be able to squeeze
through one of the holes. The huge human was tall, but they only needed a
moment of distraction. He turned to Rot and signalled the roof with his eyes
while slowly batting his wings. His sister nodded, she had understood.
The man had picked up a small bowl from
the table. It contained some dark purple ooze. He then produced a small thin
crooked dagger from the pocket of his robe and dipped the tip in the potion.
“Do not fear little ones, this won’t harm
And he lurched towards them.
“Now!” shouted Seed.
The two dragons leaped up, extending their
wings, attempting the short flight to the roof. Seed reached the straw, but it
was too tight and he couldn’t make the hole any bigger.
“Let me,” said Rot frantically, pushing
Seed could feel Rot’s body temperature
rising, preparing to burn anything standing between them and their freedom.
The man grabbed his sister’s foot and
pulled her down.
“Seed! Help me!”
Seed flew towards them. Rot was a ball of
teeth and snarls, trying to bite anything she could. He aimed at the man’s arm
and sunk his fangs into the hairy flesh. With a strong push the man sent the
small dragon flying. Seed clashed against the cabin wall, hitting his head and
left wing. For a few seconds he felt too disorientated to move.
He could hear the man groaning in pain.
Rot was on fire, literally. Flames surrounded her and bolts of fire shot from
her open mouth. The man was distracted, holding his hand, its skin now
Rot was by Seed’s side, ready to help lift
“We have to go,” she said.
Seed grabbed her hand. He knew her fire
would not harm him.
The cabin was burning, the flames had
spread through the wooden walls. The roof was now collapsing. Now was their
chance. Their foe seemed to have recovered and was holding the dagger, ready to
“Damn you wretched creatures,” he cursed,
grinding his teeth.
The dragons were already flying, Seed was almost
through the hole when he felt a sharp pain in his wing. He looked back and saw
it was strangely crooked. He hadn’t noticed how badly he had injured it when he
had hit the cabin wall.
Rot was ahead of him but he could not keep
up. His body felt too heavy and, with every flap, his wing seemed to get worse.
He started to fall, unable to keep himself aloft.
“No! Grab onto me!”
Rot tried to hold them both up, but her
wings were not strong enough to lift the two of them. For several seconds, they
were able to stop the fall, Rot furiously flapping in an effort to sustain their
“Go,” said Seed, knowing Rot could not
hold him forever. “Go and get Ashes.”
Below them they could see that the flames
had started to recede. Eventually Rot gave up, and they landed on the ground
with a thud, not far away from the cabin.
“I am not abandoning you!”
Rot dragged her brother to the cover of
some nearby bushes.
“Go. Get help.”
Rot was in tears.
Footsteps approached and the bushes shook.
With as much strength as he could muster, Seed pushed his sister deeper into
the vegetation. A bearded face with a sickening grin appeared in his field of vision
and a big hand grabbed him. Seed squirmed and grunted when the man picked him
up. He tried to bite and scratch, but the chubby fingers grabbed him tightly, making
it impossible for him to move. The man brought him inside the cabin again and
placed him on the table, face upwards. His broken wing now sent pulses of hot
pain across his body but Seed did not stop trying to fight back, screeching in
From her hiding place, Rot could hear the
man chanting loudly.
“The well will swallow you, feel the
chilled water soothing your warm flesh and sleep with the night”.
Without thinking, she emerged from the bushes
just in time to see, through the window, a shadow holding the crooked dagger
and plunging it into a smaller shape lying on the table. Rot heard a shriek and
a column of dense purple smoke billowed out of the cabin and disappeared down
Rot rushed towards the open window and
perched on the windowsill. The cabin was pitch dark except for the rays of
light coming from the holes in the thatched roof. She hopped inside the hut. It
was empty, no sign of the man or her brother.
The stuffed animals looking at her with
lifeless eyes gave her goosebumps. She flew on top of the table where her brother
had been lying and tried not to think about the sharp metal instruments and the
spots of dried red blood.
Where was her brother? She had seen… she
tried to push the memory of the shadow blade entering the soft belly. No, Seed
had to be ok. She felt too stunned to react, as if it was all a dream. Her
heart pounded and her ears were ringing. She felt as if the whole cabin
throbbed around her, as if the walls were alive, threatening to swallow her.
The dagger was not there any more but the
bowl with purplish thick potion was. She sniffed it. It smelled like rotten
vegetables. She noticed some small empty vials next to it and cautiously filled
one of them, being very careful not to allow the liquid to touch her.
She had a last look around the cabin and
flew through one of the burnt holes in the roof. It was not until the fresh
evening air caressed her cheeks that she began to cry.