by Lee Mandel -
Marc put on his fire-truck pajamas and snuggled under his cozy blanket. His mother kissed him ‘good-night’.
“Sweet dreams,” said Mom, shutting the door.
Nestling his head on the fluffy pillow, Marc’s eyes closed and he drifted off to sleep. A few minutes later he was startled by a snuffle, then a sniffle. Was someone crying? He flung back the covers and jumped out of bed. He flicked on the lights. The sobs were faint. Where were they coming from?
The floor cre-e-eaked as he tip-toed around his room. Quickly checking under the bed and peeking behind the curtains revealed nothing. Marc stood still and cupped his ear to the closet door. He held his breath and strained to hear the sobs. They were inside the closet.
“Are you the fireman?” Came a voice from inside.
Straining to see through the slats in the door, Marc pressed his nose up against the wood. “I’m Marc.”
“Well, are you a fireman, Marc? You have lots of fire trucks. Even the bed and lamp shade are covered in them.”
“No, but I like fire trucks.”
Marc reached for the doorknob and eased it open. A very sad-looking, pot-bellied dragon stood inside His pink transparent wings were wrapped around his enormous purple body. His long neck curled downward and his large head hung low toward the floor. A pool of tears drenched the carpet where he was sitting.
“I’m sorry for getting your carpet wet,” the dragon said. “My name is Scortch.”
“That’s ok. Nice to meet you, Scortch. Why are you crying?”
“I’m allergic to paper. I sneeze whenever I am near it.”
“I’m allergic to strawberries, but I don’t cry about it. I just stay away from them.”
“But I like to do Origami,” sobbed Scortch.