Dragon of Halong Bay (Vietnam). Photo by LoggaWiggler.
I have spent my life on this island, hiding behind these dragons. They were carved out of wood and spaced around the island to scare off any unwanted visitors.
Today the dragons are aging. The wood is cracked and broken; and so also, is the community behind them.
We were content to follow the old ways. We fished for food, made our tools, and worshipped our ancestors. We found comfort in these ancient patterns of life. Centuries back, my family was selected to be the guardians of our way of life. It is a sacred duty and we have always been zealous to keep it.
A man came from off island. I liked him, and became good friends with the man. But then I realized he was challenging the way of life I was called to protect. He was a missionary, attracted by the dragons.
I did my duty. But the incredible part was—when he knew he was about to die—he forgave me. He told me he was sorry he couldn’t prove to me his God was real.
He died well. He had no anger, no fear, and no regret. At that moment I wanted to be like him. Dying well, he had proven something to me. Loving his killer was proof enough for me.
Today I see the boats coming with more missionaries. He told me they would come. I have made a decision. I will not oppose them. When they arrive, I will encourage my people to listen to them. The power of their faith is stronger than death. I will no longer hide behind these toothless dragons. I have been protecting the wrong way of life.
But I also know my son is next in line as guardian of the dragon people. He is anxious to prove himself a faithful protector of the people. The minute I speak on behalf of the missionaries, it will be his responsibility to kill me. I trained him to know and love these traditions. I know he will proudly do his duty.
I hope I will die well, too.
The above piece of flash fiction was written for the one year anniversary contest for Flash!Friday. The photo above is the prompt and this weeks instructions were to write exactly 350 words, not counting title. If you are interested in learning more follow the link.