Short Stories

Burning Dreams

The Vodnik and the Drak

Burning Dreams: An Australia Bushfire Charity Anthology
Fantasia Divinity Publishing 06/09/2020

Fire devastates all it touches, but even in the midst of despair, hope can emerge from the ashes. In this anthology, 27 authors band together to bring you stories to benefit the recovery effort in Australia.

Featuring 45 stories from 27 talented authors.
Amber M. Simpson, Cindar Harrell, Chandler Warren, Claire Davon, Connor Sassmannshausen, Dan Rice, Deeanna West, DJ Elton, Eddie D. Moore, Erica Schaef, Gabriella Balcom, Galina Trefil, Heather Hood, J.W. Garrett, Jami Baumann, K.B. Elijah, N.M. Brown, Nerisha Kemraj, Rainie Zenith, Rhiannon Bird, Stacey Jaine McIntosh, Terry Miller, Thomas Baker, V. Mylynne Smith, Vonnie Winslow Crist, Will Christian, and Zoey Xolton


Danger. Danger. Danger. Danger.

Something was happening and he could only think of one thing: Somehow the woman had found his place and was trying to destroy it. Perhaps he had sensed she was coming.

He debated raising the alarm but shook his head. The company had enough to deal with at the moment. This was his chance. He tried to run but his ankle flared, pain shooting through him and forcing him to slow to a walk.

She was standing near the side of the house, flames licking her body. They wrapped her as a lover might, consuming her. His back porch was beginning to smolder.

“Stop!” He focused on the stream under the earth. The hydrant was almost a block away and to get at that water here would require breaking pipes, which took more strength than he possessed.

She pronounced a word. Her mouth was a dark opening, her eyes as bright as the flames. He raised his hands, the water beneath the ground flowing toward him.

She mimed the word again. Andrej hesitated, although every inch of him wanted to throw his water toward her. She said it a third time and this time he got it. Drak.

“Drak? Do you mean drake? Or dragon? What are you talking about?” There was little time now. The fire was licking up the back of the house. It wouldn’t be long before it spread through the entire dwelling.

She shook her head again, flames creating a halo effect around her. The woman raised a flaming hand and pointed toward a small object. To an untrained eye, it resembled a ball of fire, but he could detect a dragon underneath. It pivoted to face the woman. The beast hissed and spit at the woman. She sped to the creature on leathery wings. Drak. He did not discern what a drak was.

Andrej summoned his vodník power, using every bit of energy he had to summon the stream. It exploded out of the back yard in a shower of dirt and grass and then shot toward the porch. He directed it at the guttering flames. There was no time for finesse.

The drak let out a bellow and started toward his home. The woman soared in front of it, blocking its way. Words filled his mind.

You have done wrong. You must stop.

We have found him.

Andrej focused the water again and this time it came cleaner, its path smoothed by the initial burst. The blaze guttered and died. The woman continued to block the creature’s way even as she changed from a fire being to one of flesh and blood.

You may not burn things. It is not allowed.

We have found him.

You may not burn things.