Nathan Hawk was often mocked by everyone around him, for he believed Dragons once ruled the lands of Medieval England. He refused to accept these tales were only myths and legends, truly believing these fantasy creatures actually existed. Nathan claimed that the many dinosaur bones discovered beneath planet earth, were in fact the fire breathing monsters depicted in English folklore. It was a childish belief that turned into an obsession of his. He was compared to flat-earthers and other daft conspiracy theorists. One day, Nathan decided he had enough of this ridicule and began looking into his beliefs and theories online. He soon found a whole community of like-minded people, who all believed that Dragons too once ruled the lands. There were sightings of real-life locations, where dragons once lived with photographs of burn sites upon ancient temples and old castles around England, China, Japan and even Egypt. History depicts these areas were destroyed in fierce battles long ago, but there are other sites, showcasing giant dungeons and flat terrain, where a giant beast was likely caged or once dwelled. Another source of proof was the fact that Dragons were a part of mythological folklore not just in England, but around the whole world. Greek Mythology depicted Dragons, China was known for its Dragons and so was the United Kingdom, with its many legends and stories about such beasts. It just couldn’t have been a coincidence that so many cultures all around the globe, believed in the same entities. Nathan got in touch with one of these conspiracy theorists, who was an American by the name of Nigel Harrison, a seventy eight year-old historian, who was quite the adventurer back in his youth, during the late 1960s when he was only in his early twenties. Nathan got chatting with the old man over the internet through social media, then they began to talk over the phone and ultimately, Nathan’s obsession with proving his fantastical theories right, decided to fly all the over to Atlanta, USA. This was where Nigel Harrison had retired, living in a huge church-like mansion that he had inherited from his father (who was also an adventurer quite like he was). Nathan was a British man from the north of England, he had never visited America before and found the city of Atlanta exciting and full of life. It was when he finally arrived at Nigel’s residence that his adventure truly began.
Nathan walked up the long steep steps, leading up towards this mysterious mansion. By the time he had finally arrived, it was night and the yellow full moon shone high into the dark sky. Honestly, Nigel’s mansion appeared spooky at this time of night, for it was an old building like something out of a noir horror flick from the 1930s. Bats flew around its chimney, wolves howled in the forests surrounding him and the gargoyles upon the roof did little to comfort him. Yet Nathan took a deep breath and knocked on Nigel’s huge wooden doors, they creaked open without an answer and a beautiful woman with pale skin greeted him at the door.
“Why, hello there.” The woman smiled cutely, “you must be Nathan Hawk, The Master is awaiting you.”
“The Master?” Nathan gulped.
“Oh yes, forgive me for not clarifying… Nigel Harrison is The Master of this estate, he is awaiting you upstairs, allow me to lead you there.” The woman grinned, leading Nathan through the mansion’s lobby. This place was somehow even bigger from the inside, the oak walls were covered with portraits of historical figures, buildings and ships. The floor’s ground was made of a green marble so clean and shiny, Nathan could see his own reflection upon it. Huge chandeliers hung from the ceiling, lit with candles, giving this place a dim orange glow. This mansion felt cosy, yet creepy at the same time. It was far older than anything the young man had ever seen, at best he guessed it was at least three hundred years old. Little did he know, it was actually far older.
The woman opened the door into Nigel’s bedroom, it was a huge space with a large window facing the courtyard, a single piano stood beside it. There was a massive television to the right of Nathan, like that of a giant projector screen with definition so high, it was like looking through crystal clear glass. The characters on TV were life size, as if they were actually in the room with them. This creeped Nathan out. Beside the television was the most luxurious sofa Nathan had ever seen and beyond that was a walled off space, which the woman revealed to be where the bed lay. It was big enough for a whole family to sleep in, and there in that giant mattress was a tiny old man, who looked 120 years old.
“Is… Is that the boy?!” The ancient man croaked, struggling to put on his spectacles.
“Yes father, Nathan has come here, all the way from Great Britain.” The woman smiled.
“Oh excellent, Elizabeth, excellent!” Nigel Harrison smiled, leaning up on his back.
“Uh… Hi, Nigel.” Nathan smiled awkwardly.
“Oh, don’t be shy boy, don’t be shy!” Nigel chuckled, “as you can see I’m far too old to be adventuring about, so I’ve brought you here with a request.”
“What request?” Nathan gulped, feeling anxious.
“Oh it’s nothing too scary, dear boy. Only I need you to accompany my daughter here, on this exhibition.” Nigel grinned.
“Oh dear, where are my manners?!” Nigel coughed, grabbing his glass of water from the bedside drawers, “we found evidence of a Dragon nesting under the ancient temples of southern China. Oh how I wish I could see it for myself, but as mentioned before, I’m far too old and weak to handle such a journey. Do you think you could undertake such a request, dear Nathan?” The old man pleaded.
“I uh… Sure!” Nathan smiled, “I’d happily.”
“Splendid!” Nigel cheered, “my daughter, Elizabeth, will be joining you on this expedition.” He pointed at the pale woman who led Nathan here.
“It’ll be an adventure to remember!” She smiled.
So the two of them went to China together, in search of this ancient temple, where the dragon supposedly nested. It was a long and rough plane ride, but Nathan Hawk got to know Elizabeth rather well and was beginning to grow fond of her. When they finally arrived, there was another long coach journey, followed by a series of multiple long hitchhikes across the countryside with plenty of stops along the way. It took them a good two weeks before they finally arrived at the location of the temple. Nathan felt like he was on some romantic holiday, as Elizabeth was also falling for him too. He feared how her father would react however, because Nigel was a powerful man and Nathan was just an errand boy. Now Nathan and Elizabeth stood at the entrance of this huge ancient structure. It stood impressively tall and that familiar feeling of anxiety crept over him yet again, for he could almost sense the evil that lay deep within.
“How exactly does Nigel know there is evidence of dragon life inside this temple?” Nathan asked Elizabeth.
“I’ve told you this already!” She scoffed, “my father reads up a lot on history, he’s followed the many ancient myths of dragons and this is the last place on earth that hasn’t been fully discovered yet.”
“Ok, so we have no idea what awaits inside?!” Shivered Nathan.
“What’s an adventure without a bit of mystery? There could even be a bit of action awaiting us.” Elizabeth winked, “now, let’s go explore!” She cheered, racing inside the giant temple. Nathan gulped and followed her lead nervously.
The inside of this temple was dark, cold and mysterious. The air felt thick and stale, cobwebs dressed the walls and statues all around. Most of the architecture was broken and crumbling to pieces. Their footsteps loudly echoed around this empty interior.
“Oh, the wonders that await us!” Elizabeth danced gleefully.
“Shush!” Nathan mouthed, “we don’t know what’s in here!”
“Probably just bats and spiders… maybe rats.” She chuckled, “stop worrying!”
“I’m just… Nervous, ok.” Nathan replied.
“Well quit it, will you?!” She groaned, “you’re really killing the mood. This is an adventure of a lifetime and you’re sulking like a child.”
“Shut up…” Nathan whined.
“Let’s just explore, ok. Everything will be fine.” Elizabeth said, leading the way forward.
The temple split into many different, claustrophobic passageways and labyrinths, crawling deeper and deeper underground. The temperature got colder, the environment got darker and Nathan’s dread escalated faster. Yet Elizabeth was still full of wonder, eager for adventure, grinning ear to ear, as they ventured further into the abyss. Only their fire torches showed the way forward, accompanied by the sounds of flames, footsteps and the occasional chuckle from Elizabeth. It was a long, creepy and uncomfortable walk until they finally arrived within a large open space.
This open area was like a throne room, where an army of noble warriors stood facing them with swords, spears and shields at the ready. Nathan trembled in fear, while Elizabeth laughed.
“They’re just statues!” She patted his back, “just relax already, we’re the only ones her-“
Suddenly, there was a loud, horrifying rumble. The temple’s floor shook violently, knocking them around like ragdolls.
“What’s that?!” Nathan roared, standing to his feet.
“I- I- I don’t know!” She cried, finally afraid of the dark.
“Is this still a fun adventure?!” Nathan mocked, leaning against a tall broken pillar for support.
“Shut up!” She barked. The ceiling began to fall above them, Nathan pulled Elizabeth out of harm’s way.
“Thanks!” She smiled quickly, before frantically searching for an exit.
“We’re trapped!” Nathan screamed.
“Don’t give up hope!” Elizabeth cried. Then there was a terrifying roar, like that of a dinosaur.
“No, it can’t be!” Nathan gasped, as a monster’s giant claw smashed through the walls, shattering the statue army into a million pieces. A horrifying beast now crawled forwards, revealing its many, deadly fangs. It was a dragon. Somehow still alive after all these centuries and starved to the absolute bone. It hadn’t seen another living being in far too long, both Elizabeth and Nathan looked absolutely delicious within its cold hungry eyes. Elizabeth screamed, motionless with fear, like a deer in headlights, as the dragon charged for her. It swallowed the young woman whole, muting her cries of terror. Nathan was horrified by the sight of this despicable creature, for it looked nothing like the depictions of dragons from legendary stories. Gone were its silvery scales and glorious muscles. It was a hideous mummy of a dragon, with skeletal remains that were full of scars. Its eyes burnt a vivid red, like the fires of hell itself. Fangs black with rot and decay, claws outgrown and hideously mangled. It was in a weakened state, yet somehow far more powerful than any other living beast on earth. Nathan shivered at the thought of witnessing a younger dragon, in all its prime, it was downright petrifying to even imagine. If a dragon this wasted still held such strength, how fierce were the legends of old? Nathan did not wish to know, his fascination with dragons quickly became a living nightmare, as the last known specimen on earth just devoured his newfound lover, like she was nothing but delicious candy. Nathan ran back through the tunnels he came from, crying and screaming in terror, as the giant dragon raged after him. However, the dragon shot flames from its weathered mouth, into the passageway, engulfing Nathan in fire.
Nigel Harrison waited for many months, hoping his daughter and Nathan would return, but they never did. The dragon had awoken, Elizabeth and Nathan were just the starter. It still had the whole of China to feast on, then it would concur the world for dessert. None of this would’ve happened if Nathan Hawk hadn’t gotten in touch with Nigel Harrison, or if Elizabeth didn’t have a thirst for adventure. The world will soon fall, because curiosity killed the cat. Perhaps, some mysteries are better left unsolved.
Joseph Roy Wright is a British independent author from Cheshire, who focuses mostly on horror. Whether it be occult, dark fantasy, psychological or even sci-fi, Joseph has a story to tell that will satisfy your morbid curiosities. He has been writing since 2017 and in that time has written a total of 10 books, an achievement he is very proud of.