Submitted by Myas.
She’d been playing in the yard. It was the same size as everyone else’s on the block. Her Uncle and Grandfather had built a brick barbecue grill at the end of a walkway, already there when they’d bought the house, which made a path from the large patio into the grass. There were link-fences separating them from their neighbors with grapevines that intertwined their way through and a clothesline strung from the back door to the garage so her Aunt could stand on the stoop and hang clothes. The clothespin bag was on the line nearest the door and as Maria followed the line with her eyes she stopped and gasped. In the center was a dragonfly as big as a monster,
perched and looking straight at her.
Maria fiddled with the bottom button on her blouse pretending to be afraid. She didn’t want Dragonfly to see the button was a device like secret agents had that would cause the barbecue to silently slide to the side revealing a passage as the ground formed stairs leading down. Thinking Maria had no escape, Dragonfly’s antenna began to rise. Using lightening reflexes she leapt in a perfect dive into the opening and somersaulted to her feet on the fourth step as the grill slid back into position before his deadly stream of fire could reach her so that it instead lit the coals,
stacked by her Uncle earlier, in the fireplace.
Her Aunt came outside to hang a few clothes and heard it crackling, “Thanks for getting the fire going Jim, I’ll bring the chicken out as soon as I’m done.” “Barbecue is lit…? Sure I’ll cook…” Maria’s Uncle Jim came to the window. “Did Maria do that? She really should have someone stand with her. The coals need to burn down a little more, I’ll be out in a second.” Aunt Angela snapped the clothespin bag shut. “Hmm?
Did you say something honey?”
Dragonfly, a real dragon that could be any shape it chose, assumed its camouflage of an insect and remained alighted on the clothesline. She had escaped him for now but Dragonfly knew Maria would return. The swings were behind the patio.
She’d have to walk beneath him to get to them.
Maria’d found her way to the secret underyard room where she kept her weapons, put on her sweater of invisibility and armed herself with a swatter-fly-gun she’d made herself. Roots of the bushes that framed the side of the garage nearest the yard wrapped themselves around her arm and moved her along toward a second flight of stairs that’d formed to lead her up to the small patch of earth, off to the side of the concrete driveway, where her grandfather’s tiny garden was planted. They let go as Maria began ascending to the ground. “Thank-you for your help” Maria called back, “I’ll water you later with the garden hose when everyone’s outside.” As she came up behind the fig tree, the earth closed itself around the exit. Invisible now so no one could see her, she walked toward the yard. “I’ll make it into my room and hide my sweater
and swatter-fly-gun under the bed.”
Dragonfly wouldn’t try anything when adults were around. For now she was safe…