Dragon, Bucket, Moon
By Sylvia Volk
Published by Sylvia Volk at Smashwords
Copyright Sylvia Volk 2012
When the dragon showed itself to her, Humility was climbing Mount Biggest-of-All, on her way home from the spring. Both hands clutched the handle of her old bucket; her back was bent and her shoulders were rounded against the weight of the sloshing water, and she wheezed as she walked. It was evening. The sky was a sea with the moon swimming across it, and beyond the moon were infinite depths of nothing.
She captured the full moon in her bucket. It floated on the water, a shining silver face; Humility let the bucket down, ever so gently, and knelt over it and joined her hands together. Maybe now would be a good time to meditate? Enlightenment had eluded her for so long—
That was when the dragon’s image appeared, behind the image of the girl in the bucket. It rose, immense, out of the reflection of Humility’s head; above and behind her, dim in the blue water, curved the dragon’s vast jade-scaled neck and the serpentine coils of its body. Its eyes, twin gulfs. Its jaws yawned open, and swallowed the moon’s reflection. And Humility prayed, frozen in fear, as the dragon’s hot breath gusted on the bare nape of her neck.