by Savannah Hendricks -
Emma took hopscotch steps over the cracks in the sidewalk on the way home from school. She passed the house with the enormous vegetable garden. This is when Emma would pause in her walk and wait for Ayden. He was blue with a short tail and gray eyes. Ayden was a dragon.
“Emma!” Ayden bellowed, climbing over the green bean bush.
“Ayden! You and those veggies,” Emma said, readjusting her tiara.
“So yummy,” Ayden added between bites of cucumber.
“Blah, gross,” Emma said, sticking out her tongue. “Princesses don’t have to eat vegetables.”
Emma reached into her pocket and pulled out a piece of candy. She unwrapped it and popped it into her mouth. The sugar melted into the spaces between her teeth.
“Ouch,” Ayden yelped. “Oh, ouch!”
“What is it, Ayden?” Emma asked, placing her hand on his scaly side.
Ayden placed his claw against his cheek. “My mouth is sore.”
“Let me look,” Emma said, motioning him down.
Ayden was a rather short dragon, as far as dragons go. He knelt down. Emma placed her hands on his cheeks.
“Now open wide,” Emma said.
Ayden opened his mouth. He was not afraid of blowing fire on her. He was born without the fire breathing power other dragons had.
“Ayden, your teeth! They look…dirty,” Emma said, her head nearly all the way inside his mouth. She pulled back and fixed her tiara.
Ayden stood up. “Why are they dirty? I eat vegetables and fruits.”
“I don’t know. Do you brush your teeth? Do you go the dentist?” Emma asked.
“No, I hate brushing. No dentist!” Ayden yelled.
“Why not? It’s not a big deal,” Emma said, popping another piece of candy.
“I’m a dragon. Dragons don’t brush their teeth or go to the dentist,” Ayden said as they started to walk again.
The next day, Ayden emerged from a garden, munching on strawberries. He held out his claw.
“No thanks, I have my strawberry flavored candy. Yum!” Emma said, crunching loudly. “Ouch! Oh, ouch!”
“Are your teeth dirty too?” Ayden asked, looking down at her.
“No,” Emma stated, rubbing her cheek.
“Maybe you need to brush your teeth? Or go to the dentist?” Ayden asked.
“I do brush my teeth. No dentist,” Emma replied, still rubbing her cheek. “They use those loud tools and tell me not to eat candy. I love candy.”
“But you said it was no big deal?” Ayden asked.
“It’s not a big deal for a dragon, but it is for a princess.”
The following afternoon Emma was walking home and rubbing her cheek at the same time.
“Emma,” Ayden muttered, not in his normal cheery tone.
“Ayden,” Emma mumbled. “No fruits for you today?”
Ayden stood without his normal claw full of garden finds. “It hurts to eat. Some days they hurt and some days they feel okay. I’m just giving them a break. They’re tired.”
Emma and Ayden walked on, both a little slower than normal, both rubbing their cheeks.
The next day Emma did not see Ayden. She was a bit concerned. Emma went to his cave, which was surrounded by willow trees. She could see him lying in his bed.
“Ayden, are you okay?”