Glen ripped down the weeds and vines that guarded the cave entrance. He stuck his head into the dark and called out, “Hello?” He was only mildly surprised when he got an answer and an invitation.
“Yes? Hello. Do come in.”
“It is rather dark,” Glen said as he stepped in and stepped aside to let in as much of the fading sunlight as possible.
“Oh, I beg your pardon.” There was a roar of flame like flame from a flamethrower. Glen had to shade and close his eyes to not be suddenly blinded, and he had to keep back to not be burnt. When it was over, a big campfire was lit in the middle of a round room cavern and there was a dragon curled up comfortably against the back wall. There was also a man sitting cross legged before the fire.
“Hello?” Glen spoke to the man and again he was only mildly surprised when the dragon answered.
“Yes, hello. Do come in. The old man said to expect you.” Glen stepped forward toward the old man who had his back turned and made no indication other than that he was perhaps sleeping sitting there. He made sure the fire remained between him and the dragon. “Sometimes the shaman prefers the dark, and to me, of course, it makes no difference.”
“Who are you?” Glen asked, not that he expected an answer he could understand. He imagined this was the dragon of the long march from the Windy Castle on the Fogwart River or some such thing. What he heard did actually surprise him.
“I am the Spirit of Home,” the dragon said.
“I beg your pardon?” Glen repeated the dragon’s phrase.
“I make a house into a home and a community into a hometown. I am the greater spirit that reaches out when people go away. I remind them of all the good things. I sing to them in the night. I draw them back to the place they were raised and hold them close to family and loved ones.”
“So you are the one I have to thank for Debbie.” Glen showed his anger.
“Regrettable. I am not allowed to discriminate, but how a person responds is entirely up to them. Which call was stronger? Regretable.”
Glen let go of his anger in a breath of hot air. It was puppy love, as he knew. There really was no future there. “Yeah, well I would like to get home,” he changed the subject.
“So would we,” the old man spoke and Glen took a step back. “But our home has been taken by people from the old world. We have no right of return. Our home is lost to us forever. We have had to make a new home. I am here to see that time of homelessness and despair is short, not long.”
“I am sorry,” Glen said. “But all of that was ages before my time. I would like to go back to my time, if it is not too much trouble.”
The dragon lifted his head and stared long at Glen. It cocked its head to one side and then the other before it spoke. “I see no home in you. Yet you are not of the nomads or gypsies or travelers who carry their home with them. I see many homes in you down through the ages, and I see you in many forms living a native among many people.”
The old man spoke over top. “You have an ancient touch of the Tuscarora people. That alone is why I let you live. That is why I called you here, but I see now there is no help in you.”
Glen took another step back and swallowed. He was not aware his life was in danger. “The reason it is an ancient touch of native is because I don’t belong here. I don’t belong in this time.”
“I see many days,” the dragon continued. “I see many times. I am confused. I cannot sing to you.”
“I don’t know.” Glen shook his head. “I am only me, right now. And I belong a hundred years in the future. I should not have come in the first place.”
“You do,” the old man confirmed.
“You should not be here.” The dragon agreed.
“Well?” Glen waited.
“Why are you here?” The dragon asked.
“The old man?” Glen suggested.
The old man shook his head. “I saw you in the entrance and called to you, but you came of your own volition.”
“Why did you come?” The dragon rephrased its question.
“To have my heart broken?” Glen said. “To find one more wonderful thing that I am not allowed to have. You have no idea.” The tears came up into his eyes. “Why? Every time I find something good, it gets discontinued and taken from me. Everywhere I go I am not welcome and not wanted. I disappoint everyone. I get passed over and neglected always. There is no good in me, and though I beg for forgiveness, all I hear is silence. The silence in my life is deafening. Please, I just want to go home.” He began to cry and fell to his knees because all his strength to stand left him at once.
“You have no home,” the dragon said.
“Though you fear homelessness and despair, you must pass through to make your own home,” the old man added.
“You have had and will have many homes, but you don’t belong here,” the dragon concluded.
“That is because I am not dead yet,” Glen mouthed. “Why did God let me live?” He faded from sight.