• Published 28th Apr 2016
  • 1,388 Views, 43 Comments

Rocky Mountain Dragon - Iron_Cauldron



Changing species and genders was the easy part. Surviving in a world without people and infrastructure, that's going to be a challenge. Luckily, I've had some help to prepare for the long haul. A VERY, long haul.

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Chapter 11 - Checking Things Out

Author's Note:

My apologies for abruptly canceling like that. I tend to do wreckless things like that, that most of the time, end up biting me in the backside. I may not update once a month, but the urge to write has bitten me again. This is also a way to tell my story without bugging my family and friends. Please enjoy, creatively criticize if you feel the need, and have a happy New Year.

The walk to Wal-Mart was mostly uneventful. Without the constant noise of cars, planes, and people, I could hear nature more clearly. Birds, insects buzzing about despite the cooler temperatures, and the breeze through the leaves. There was a row of cottonwood trees along a creek, and the sound their leaves made in the light breeze was enough to ease my tensions, and anxiety somewhat.

My claws scrapped on the concrete and asphalt as I crossed each road, then made my way up the hill. For some odd reason, walking on the grass of people's yards, just felt better on my feet, so I committed 'a grave social taboo,' and crossed their yards, only waking on the concrete when I needed to cross a driveway, or skirt around the odd fitzer bush.

The concrete and roads were mostly dry, but there was dew on the grass, cooling my feet as the water evaporated from my new scales.

"I guess this is why some reptiles avoid getting wet... Damn this is going to take some getting used to." I said in my new voice.

My gate was a little unsteady, since my new feet were so small. A human's footprint is already small enough, but my new feet, heck the new configuration I had to walk with in my legs, left me a little wobbly.

For a good bit of time, I stared down at my feet while I walked, marveling at how, as I stepped, my toes spread somewhat instinctually, adding some stability, though not all that much.

'It's like how the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park walked...' Toes collapse together when the foot comes up, only to spread just before touchdown. I had watched my reflection, sometimes openly, other times through my peripheral vision, when I was human in the storefront glass on my way to lunch, but this, this was something else.

'Kinda cool, in a weird way.' I thought.

I topped the largest hill faster than I thought I would. Distractions and busy work make the time fly by! There was a horse 'ranch' on the downward side of the hill, on the way to my destination, and the smells coming through the air were no less reminescent.

'Mmm, always loved the smell of a horse ranch!' Some may think it's disgusting, but I always appreciated the smell of an area with horses. Something about the smell reminding you of home, of not being in a suburb, but out on the open fields...

"And they know I'm here..." Indeed, the horses had all turned and were staring at me, ears and eyes alert. The wind shifting as it was, alerted them of my approach. One snorted and stomped a hoof, before neighing, apparently nervous. For minutes, we watched each other, me out of curiosity for what they'd do next, and perhaps them from some animal instinct against something new, and unknown. 'I may be a new potential predator to them.' I'd never had, nor wanted to try horse meat though.

I edged closer to the fence of their enclosure, a maybe two acre plot of land, moving in deliberate, very visible steps. I wanted to let them know I wasn't a threat, despite what their instincts might be telling them. Before I reached one of the edge of the fence with a small shack, I noticed a horse peak it's head out of the window, and whinney.

I heard the thunder of hooves before one of the larger ones came into my peripheral, itself whinnying loudly at me, in a head down, ears back posture, on slightly lowered front hooves. Without approaching too close to the fence, it reared up, whinnyed again, this time kicking with it's front hooves in the air, before stomping down, whinnying briefly a third time, and snorting at me.

"Ookay, I'll go." I said slowly, as I backed off, keeping the horses in my sight, as I backed up through a ditch, almost stumbling yet again, and back to the side of the road. My voice though, elicited a strange responce from the horse. It cocked its head in apparent confusion, it's ears flicking in my direction, before resuming their threatened, cocked back position. Once I reached the road, I turned, crossed back to the other side, before getting back to the grass.

Before I got too far, I turned back to the horse ranch, and saw some of the horses milling about the pen that had the extra stables. A couple were eyeing me warily, while one was nosing the horse in the stable, and another was nosing the lock, maybe a sliding latch, as if... 'Are they trying to free the other horse?' I thought, then another thought came to me, 'Could it be from memory... No.'

I shook my head before continuing on to Wal-Mart, having a bit of a fright with the charging animal. 'Damn, but they're big now...'

*-*-*-*-*-*

I thought at least the Supercenters were 24 hour stores, but I found that wrong. I tried both main entrances, to no avail. The garden center doors I knew were closed; getting back late many-a-night after work and school, to catch the ride that dropped my brother off for his night shift, there was always a cart behind the locked door. Sure a sign as any, that that area was closed. Sure enough, neither would budge when I tried to pull them.

I stood, scratching my head, between my new horns, trying to figure a way to get in. 'I would be insanely lucky if someone left a backdoor open, or just a side exit...' So I sauntered around the building, before groaning in exhasperation that I had no luck what-so-ever again. 'I can call my mother just before she starts eating, but I can't freaking catch a break with an open door...'

Last thing I wanted was to break one of the windows in the front to get in, and set off the hellatious alarm. Not even the damn dock doors were cracked. All this way for nothing.

The highway was just to the back of the Wal-Mart, so I decided to check it out. Confirming my suspicions from the lack of noise, there indeed was not a car on the road. Kinda creepy really, as if the people and their cars just were taken up by something. No show or movie, not even one like that Australian 'zombie' movie I'd seen a couple times, was like this. There was nothing but the empty road, not a car was crashed, parked or otherwise abandoned on the thoroughfare.

From my vantage point I could see Denver to my north-east, and it wasn't a smoldering wreck of a city. No fires, apparently collapsed buildings... Just no one. 'Huh...'

*-*-*-*-*-*

"Well, I can raid the gas stations." I made my way over to them, having come full circle to the front of Wal-Mart, back to the side where the street was closest to the main road, and made my way to the nearest gas station.

'Shit, but my luck just turned!' I thought, starting a light, slightly drunken looking jog to the gas station. In one of the bays that I hadn't noticed before, was a style of scooter I'd seen in an anime. 'A real Vespa!' I marveled. Not quite the same from the show, but definately a real Italian vespa. I hadn't seen many people with them here. Scooters yes, vespas no. It even had the Vespa company logo!

Even more of a bonus, the keys were still in the thing. I had no idea why it was here, but I decided to take advantage. Perhaps the owner was just about to get back on when they vanished, or were inside. It was of the basic design, no storage compartments, and a light blue color, with a white seat and footwell.

I was just about to hop on, when I remembered what I'd come this way for. I reluctantly tore my eyes from the machine to head inside the gas station it was parked at. This was at least a twenty-four hour establishment.

"Aaand they don't have much of what I need..." Basic suplies, snacks, drinks, pet food... "Well this small venture was a bit of a bust." I stood in the middle of the entrance, trying to think of something to do, when I had an idea.

I found my way behind the counter, moved and got up onto the stool in front of the register, all touch screen now. Familiarizing myself with it, looking a little like what I used at Sam's Club as a cashier myself, then scurried out to the Vespa. I checked it's gas guage, and sure enough, the previous owner had filled it up.

I leaned back from it, and thought for a moment, before I realized what I'd need. I ran back inside, and checked the supplies section, and found what I was looking for. Minutes later, I had two bunjee cords draped over the seat of the scooter, and a medium sized gas can by the pump.

Darting back in, I got back to the stool and- "WHAT THE FRICK AM I DOING?!?!" I yelled. "I'm about to try and steal gas, before stealing someone's scooter. Yeah, that's not klepto behavior." Pens are one thing, but this...

I squatted down, sitting on my heels with my head in my hands, trying to rationalize my feelings and strange desires. No one was around, I might as well've been the only person left, and I was having issues getting what most wouldn't've had hardly any qualms about taking to survive in this situation? 'Heh, my family taught me well.' I thought sarcastically, smiling. 'I can't even take what I need in this situation without feeling bad.'

I took some breaths, before steeling my resolve, quelling my internal moral compass with rational thoughts toward what I needed to do, and proceeded to set the pump up to fill the can. 'I do pirate anime. This is no different.'

Step one, done.

*-*-*-*-*-*

Riding the vespa was a new experience, my new form notwithstanding. I'd ridden my friend's electric moped, my cousin's dirtbike, and was a passenger on my aunt's motorcycle, but this was a whole other thing.

It was thankfully automatic, making it easy, and without people around, I shirked the rules of the road a little, laughing inside at myself. I skimmed by the horse ranch, garnering their attention again, before going up, and over the hill. It was relatively smooth sailing, so to speak, from there. Automatically taking my usual route home, took me to a spot my friends and I had played at when we were little.

That wasn't what got my attention though. It was the sudden burst of, something, followed by a large truck appearing on my right. Panicing, I twisted hard on the accelerator, squeeling the tires of the moped just as the truck sped past me, bouncing over the curb, and hitting the large cotton wood tree. I turned in time to see it slide a little down the tree, peeling bark off, before toppling over and collapsing into the ditch.

I stopped the vespa and parked it, before hopping off, and awkwardly running to the totaled vehicle. It'd somehow toppled right-side-up, but smoke poured from the damaged engine, and from inside, I heard an odd groaning. And the truck did look a little familiar...

The truck wasn't a monster of a vehicle, so I was able to reach the handle, albeit I had do stretch to do so. Nearly tearing the handle off in my haste, which suprised me, I managed to open the door, only to be treated to another sight out of mythology.

"A griffon?!"

The griffon was bleeding slightly from a head-wound, likely from hitting the steering wheel.

"You okay?" I asked, only to be treated to further groaning. A whoosh from underneath the truck, along with the strangely pleasent tingle of heat, told me the engine had caught fire.

*-*-*-*-*-*

By the time I managed to get the griffon out, the fire'd spread, and smoke from the burning plastics in the engine, was filling the open cab. I hooked my arms under the griffons, and dragged them up the hill, away from the quickly burning wreck, trying not to injure them with my claws.

"Oh, ow," the griffon moaned, reaching its tallons up to its head, "What happened?"

'So he must be like me. And he sounds familiar to boot.' I thought. Crouching down near the griffon, "If I knew what changed us, I'd tell you. My guess is, you wrecked from the shock of the change."

Eyes still closed probably due to the pain, "I just remember a bright flash, then being smaller in my cab, crashing and being knocked out... Wait, 'changed us?' What d'you mean?"

"Well, you're a griffon, if I have my mythology right, though like no griffon I remember seeing. And I'm a dragon. Of sorts."

He chuckled a little, but then groaned from the pain in his head, again reaching to press against it. "I wouldn't mess with your head too much, you were bleeding, and still may be. You wouldn't want to aggrivate it, or cut youself with your claws."

"Okay, I know you're on something. You've gotta be. People don't just change, like, that....." He'd started, only to crack open his eyes, squinting at the light, and finally noticing his claws. "WHAT THE HELL?!?!" He moved to scramble upright, only to fall, barely catch himself, smacking against the ground.

Groaning for a long minute, "What happened? Why are we like this?"

"Like I said, if I knew, I'd tell you." I replied, getting up. "You live around here? I was heading home myself."

"I live a few blocks from here. I was heading home from a short night. I wasn't feeling good, so I left work early, on my boss's recommendation, when this shit happened. You?"

"I was home when this happened, about 4ish. You just appeared here, just now." I replied.

Looking bewildered, "'Just now,' it's the middle of the day!"

He groaned again, and fell back on his back, "Just lay there for a while." I said, "You may've had a concussion."

"Shit, it feels like it. My head's pounding..."

After talking with him, his voice really did strike a chord with me. It was certainly higher, but I still recognized it. "I'd like to ask you something, but if you don't want to answer, that's fine."

"Go ahead."

Hesitating, "Is your name Jared?"

Comments ( 6 )

Nice to see this updating!

I hope it's update city! :moustache:May your muse mumble many marvelously mythic memories to emote to your multitude of fans.:moustache:

8642342
i agree. really pleased to see a update after so long.

Woo! Another Returnee in a story sense and in a character sense too! I've been hoping for this to come back. I have family in Colorado and have been watching both of the stories there with interest to see if I recognize anything.

I know I'm late to the party, but I'm sad seeing this story incomplete.
I know it's your first, Iron_Cauldron, but I must share that I feel your writing has improved dramatically over these eleven chapters, and I was dreading getting caught up because I knew it wasn't complete.

It's been fun reading about what happened on the other side of the portals, and I can't help but hope to someday read more about what happens with Star and company, how they might meet our newly-draconic friend, and to see more of her adventures.

The location also hits a soft spot for me. It's nice to see mention of places not that far from home, and mentioning places I've been to certainly helps my mental imagery.

So, thank you for writing this, Iron_Cauldron. I hope you're not done, but even if you are, this has been a good read!

9480034

I do apologize to all those who read my story, and checked for a time for updates, for it to be for naught for a time. At this point all I can do is apologize, and say that I am not finished with this story. Roughly about April or May of 2017 something happened (I cannot remember for the life of me), maybe I became really depressed (and I mean really depressed), or something else that just made me lose interest. I regained it about the fall/early winter of that year, and posted my last chapter, then I was let go from my job of almost two years. Adding more depression onto my plate.

After that, I just drowned myself in games for three months before getting my current job, in March of 2018. During that time, I all but forgot about MLP, and regained an interest in other things. I've been thinking about my character more lately, and plan on starting writing again within the next month or two. I just need to watch the show again, since I haven't seen a full episode in months, and haven't been keeping up with the recent seasons. Heck, I didn't even finish season 7 yet, and I got to the third to last episode of it! :twilightsheepish::derpytongue2:

So yeah, I haven't given up on this story, I just got really sidetracked on other things in life. Some days, even from when I thought up this story, I really wanted the events leading up to this to happen. I'm very world-weary, and not even middle-aged yet. Often times, I just want to be any one of my characters, just to have a reason to avoid people. (Also very introverted.)

Expect more to come, I just have to write it out. First though, I need to flush it out, and get my backside into gear.

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