Buck Johnson: Dragon Wrangler

Wyatt McLaren

Smashwords Edition

Copyright 2012 Wyatt McLaren

This is a work of fiction. The characters and situations are nothing more than inventions of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to real persons, places, or institutions on Earth is purely coincidental.

Buck Johnson: Dragon Wrangler

When Buck Johnson finally managed to breathe a little again and knew he wasn’t dead, he propped himself up on one elbow. He spat dirt out of his mouth—pthit, pthit. Worse yet, the “dirt” was at least half dragon dung.

Commiserating, Skeeter Evans called across the football field-sized round pen, “You okay, Buck?” He was pretty sure Buck was uninjured—he was the best hand at breaking dragons Skeeter had ever seen—but the claims of friendship drew the question out of him anyway. “Buck, is anything broke?”

Finally managing to stand, but with hands on knees and head down, Buck worked hard at re-inflating his lungs, getting as much air into them as he could with each gasp. But the sulfur-tainted air of Terul didn’t give him much help in getting his wind back. Eventually, he answered: “Yeah, I’m okay. Too far from the heart to kill me. Did you see what that bitch did, Skeet?”

“Yeah, I seen it. Treacherous, ain’t she?” What had happened was this.

Dragon wranglers have to break a dragon twice—once to ride and then, about six to eight months later, once to flight. So a top-notch dragon wrangler has to be not only knowledgeable in all the techniques of dragon breaking, as well as being a top hand at keeping his forked end down, but he also has to be an outstanding judge of a dragon’s age. And that’s where it gets tricky, especially on Terul.

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