In The Rain

“Rain, rain, falling down~!”

Malar splashed into the biggest puddles, sending water spraying across his aunt and uncle. Tryp yelped, shielding himself with a slate-colored wing. Chemi shivered, shaking water from her crimson scales. Rabi just laughed, twisting in midair as his tiny but long, flexible body held him aloft above the watery ground.

It was raining today. Thick, fat drops that covered the ground in a wet layer of chilly water. It made the bones and ground slick, the fleshy lumps and rot slippery to step on. The goo that bubbled in spots between rot and bone hissed angrily when the water hit it.

All in all, a very interesting environment to play in.

Safe and Zone watched from the lair entrance. It hadn’t rained this much at all since they first set up their home fifty days ago.

Fifty days…

Had it really been that long since they first met?

The youngest of the lair played and splashed in the rain. Rabi twisted in figure eights high above, squawking and cheering. Malar dove and splashed and flared his dripping wings against flashes of lightning. Chemi watched Rabi crow, smiling. Tryp dutifully braced himself on his sister’s back so he could shelter her from the rain with his wings, since she seemed too preoccupied with Rabi’s antics to notice that she was getting wet.

Safe turned her attention to the graves not far from their lair. Though partly flooded, the bone markers held firm. Lymph and Winse were digging ditches in the rot and mud to draw the water away from the tiny graveyard.

Losis was chirping to Leth, trying to convince her to play outside. Leth had been withdrawn since Cepha and Boni’s deaths. Lymph played double duty as both mother and father to Rabi currently, fussing over the sickly dragon every time Rabi so much as shivered or coughed. It was clear Rabi hated it but he let his father fuss. Lymph needed something to do until Leth came around again.

Betes was nowhere to be seen, though Safe had noticed her lingering near the nesting grounds. Perhaps she was ready to try again for more children? Safe knew Winse would not complain about that.

Thunder boomed overhead and the four youngest dragons shrieked. Tryp bolted for the den, diving behind his father. Chemi tripped and stumbled after him, blinded by the lightning flash. Rabi crashed into the far wall of the lair and, without any warning, his father was right there to tend to the bruise blossoming on the young Spiral’s face. Malar froze, eyes wide as he stared up at the sky, waiting for the owner of the roar he’d heard to appear and eat him.

Safe shushed the cowering Tryp and left her mate to care for the two crimson Guardians. She went out into the rain to claim her grandson. Winse joined her, both of them gathering the cowering Malar up.

“Shhhh, Malar. It’s just the Stormcatcher saying hello,” she said softly.

Winse did not believe in deities but he did not openly contradict his adoptive mother. He pulled his son close and blocked the sky out with one brown wing, the eye spot staring at the smaller Guardian like an old friend.

A mirror to the eye spots on Malar’s own chocolate wings.

“Let’s go back in the lair, dear. I think you’ve played in the rain enough today,” Safe suggested, voice soothing in comparison to the rumbling of the storm.

Malar nodded blankly, pressing himself tightly to his father’s side. As a unit, the trio left the rain behind and entered the warm shelter of the lair. The storm roiled and howled outside, where it belonged.

“How about a treat tonight?” Zone offered.

The newly-grown dragons did not complain. Anything was better than the storm right now. The rain had been fun until the Stormcatcher saw fit to appear.

That wouldn’t stop them from going out to play in the rain next time, of course.

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