“Abby!” Ellie yelled running up on her plump baby legs all smiles. Aunt Abby scooped her up and spun her in the air. Several more voices chorused her name and Aunt Abby soon found herself surrounded by little people, most with blonde hair, but one with red, and one with dark brown. She hugged and kissed the many faces before sending them in to greet their grandparents and Great-Gran.
Several moms hurried off before their absence was notice. Boxes of raisins where handout, toys dragged into the living room, and a whirlwind of chaos created by the seven cousins.
“Tell us a story,” Jules said later in the day as they lay outside in the sun.
“Yes, a once upon a time story,” Bruce said. “About us.”
“With dragons,” Jules added.
Several oooohs and aaaahs followed Jules’ suggestion.
“Do you know what a dragon says?” Bruce asked.
“Do you?” Aunt Abby said.
“I am FIRE!” Bruce growled. “And they kinda look like lions.”
Aunt Abby smiled. “That is what they say Bruce. Okay, a story about dragons . . .”
Once upon a time, seven cousins had a slumber party –
“At my house?” Jules asked. “Cause I’m Party Girl?”
“I’m Party Girl, too,” Bruce said.
“Party Boy, ” Aunt Abby corrected. “Yes, it was at your house Jules.”
“Was I there?” Constance asked linking her arm through Jules’.
“Yes. You were there and so was Joshua, Imogene, Jude, and Ellie. Now back to the story.”
Once upon a time, seven cousins had a slumber party at Party Girl’s house. They played hide-and-go-seek, freeze tag, ate lots of yummy cookies, and then watched a movie. Finally, they were all put to bed. Joshua, Bruce, and Jude unrolled their sleeping bags covered in cars, trucks, and planes. Constance climbed in bed with Jules after emptying flowers, sticks, and rocks from her pockets. The two girls instantly started to whisper as only two little girls can. Ellie and Imogene shared Ellie’s bed and soon started a stuffed animal war with the boys.
After settling down again when several adults growled at them, the cousins slowly fell asleep.
“Not me!” said Joshua.
“Yes, Josh, even you fell asleep.”
“And me?” Ellie asked.
“Yep, each and every one of you fell asleep.”
The moon rose high in the sky and all the stars winked and twinkled around it. Suddenly! A door opened in Jules’ bedroom. Everyone woke up with a start. The door wasn’t where the door should be. It was on the other wall. Bruce, Joshua, and Jude leapt up. Ellie brandished a plastic sword and Constance a stick. Bruce and Joshua tugged toy guns out of the bottom of their sleeping bags and aimed them at the open door. Imogene pulled Jude up in their bed. They armed themselves with several stuffed animals.
“Wait!” Jules yelled holding out her arms.
A giant, black head with gold glowing eyes poked in the door. The seven cousins froze in fear.
“Good evening, children,” the head spoke. “I am Alchemist, a—”
“Dragon!” Bruce said.
“Yes, a dragon. I am a dragon.”
“Will you eat us?” Constance asked.
“Um, no. I’m not that kind of dragon.”
“What kind of dragon are you?” Jules asked.
“A sweet one?” asked Ellie?
“Are you pretty?” asked Imogene.
“He’s not pretty!” Bruce and Joshua said together. “He’s a dragon.”
“Well, I don’t know,” the dragon said with a glance down at himself. “I think I’m quiet fetching.”
“Mom says boys aren’t pretty,” Bruce said.
“We’re handsome,” said Joshua.
Jude nodded in agreement.
“I think he’s pretty,” said Jules.
“Enough of this,” the dragon said. “I need you children to come with me.”
“Why?” Bruce said.
“Because, my home is in danger, and you must save it.”
“Why?” Joshua said.
“Because only you seven can find the last dragon egg.”
“Why is it the last?” Jude asked.
“They have a bad case of the whys,” Imogene informed Alchemist.
“I see that,” Alchemist huffed. “Listen all of you. Seven cousins are required to find the last egg. It is just beyond our reach and we need you to help us. Will you come?”
“Yes!” said Constance jumping off the bed. Ellie quickly followed her.
“Then come through the door and climb on my back.”
The seven children hurried through the door, some on long legs, and some on short tottering legs, but all eager to see the dragon. They found themselves in a place filled with silver starlight and moonlight. It glinted on Alchemist’s black scales and large gray wings. The children gaped in wonder at the large dragon who bowed his head in appreciation of their awe.
“Do you breathe fire?” Bruce asked.
“Why do they always ask that?” Alchemist muttered to himself. Then more loudly, “Of course. All dragons breathe fire.”
“Can we see?” asked Imogene.
“No. You can climb on my back.”
The seven cousins, with Alchemist’s help, climbed up between the rows of scales on his back. With a flap of his great big wings, Alchemist took off. He flew high, high, high into the sky right towards the moon leaving the world far below them. Wind blew around the children whistling in their ears and teasing their hair. The cheered the dragon on as he flew. Jude waved his chubby arms. Imogene squealed and Constance laughed. Joshua and Bruce whooped and whooped while Jules clung to her scale not wanting to fall off. Ellie stood up and spread her arms wide as the dragon flew.
“And that’s where we’re going to stop today,” Aunt Abby said.
“What?” Jules said.
“No!” said Ellie.
“You’re going to stop there? But did we rescue the last egg?” Constance said.
“Why are you stopping there?” Bruce said.
Imogene’s lower lip came out in a perfect pout and Jude growled.
“Aunt Abby,” Joshua said, “finish the story.”
“I will, but this is part one. It’s a very long story. When you have a very long story sometimes you have to give the storyteller a break.”
“Why?” Bruce said.
“Cause storytelling is thirsty business.”
“If we get you a drink, will you finish the story?” Jules asked.
“Yes,” Aunt Abby said.
Seven cousins bounded to their feet racing to reach the back porch. They scrambled to find Grammie and a glass of water. Aunt Abby smiled to herself and tried desperately to figure out what happened next in the story.
…to be continued…