When a boy from the slums frees a young dragon from the horrors of pit fighting, the pair are forced to leave behind all they've ever known and escape into the uncharted world beyond the Infernopolis.
Wing pushed against the stream of revelers, unnoticed. Not a single person looked down. He threw his elbows against their thighs, dropped his shoulder into soft bellies, and dove headfirst into every short lived gap that appeared in the street's marching wall of flesh. It was the final night of First Flow and if you weren't headed toward the center of the Infernopolis you were headed in the wrong direction.
"A little space," he gasped, squeezing between an armored golem and the bristly haunches of a herdsman.
No one appeared to hear the boy.
The herdsman's tail flicked out, brushing Wing's lip.
"Fleh!" Some bit of filth, he didn't want to imagine the source, had gotten into his mouth. Wing threw a hand out, hoping to keep the tail from force feeding him anything more, but wound up slapping the herdsman along its flank instead. Of course everyone heard that.
"Of course," Wing hissed to himself.
Heads tilted. Unsympathetic eyes peered down at the small, stupid boy. The herdsman stopped, its human torso swiveling back toward Wing. The creature stared down at him, a dark silhouette with horns. It snorted.
Things were bad enough before this. Wing was late for his meeting with Trig and, with him, no excuse was a good excuse. Trig wouldn't care about this year's poorly timed First Flow, he wouldn't care about the gridlocked streets, and he certainly wouldn't care about Wing's run in with an overly sensitive man-mule who--
Thanks to everyone who took part! Our judges said, "This was really tough, with some excellent entries. Between us, we had a list of nigh-on 20 possible winners/runners up and we could have easily had a dozen in the final count. As it is we have bashed it down to one winner - and this writer really worked on her piece and took the advice offered to her and acted on it"