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Anna Zgierun-Łacina

"Bart"

Chapter I



Some years ago, somewhere in the world, there was a boy called Bart. He was almost nine years old, but he looked much younger. He was living together with his parents in a flat and he had a hamster named Thunder (you know that people give sometimes very strange names to their pets). The boy had quite a pretty collection of plastic dinosaurs nevertheless he dreamed of having a dog - a very big and a very strong one, unfortunately the flat was small and there was place for a hamster and not for a big dog. His another dream was a super fast battle machine with the onboard talking computer. With such a machine he would not have to go to the school every morning twenty minutes past seven, and would not go through the streets in rain or snow, but after two seconds he would be in the place safely and comfortably. He would get up at ten-to eight, and even so he wouldn't be late. After the lessons he would travel to other countries or even to another planet, and experience incredible adventures. And of course, he always would get home before his parents, because of his really super-fast machine. Such were his little dreams, and he was fully aware of the fact that those were only dreams and nothing more than dreams. He saw various situations in which he himself as the pilot the machine saved humanity from terrible monsters, robots and other great menaces. The dreams made the way to the school much shorter. Every day Bart walked to the school in the morning and came back afternoon. Unlikely his classmates, Bart used to return to the empty house, where no one would have been waiting for him. Indeed there was Thunder the hamster, but he totally did not pay any kind of attention to Bart (at least it seemed to the boy that Thunder did not pay any attention). Our story begins on a sunny, warm September day. There are yet no indications that it is the beginning of a really unusual events. Bart finished his lessons and lost in thoughts he got out from his school. Passing along the edge of the site he imagined that this was an airstrip destroyed by terrible robots, so he managed to land the machine on the surviving foundations of the hangar, transformed himself into a supergun and was completely ready to begin the fight with a multiclaw monster when he noticed a number of his schoolmates and returned immediately to the real world. The boys gathered at a pile of flagstones, and shouted something one over another, throwing small stones and the sand into the holes among the flagstones. - Hey, what are you doing Luke? - Burt asked his second floor neighbor. - We wanth tho ecthpell the thoad fvom heve - said Luke, very excited (he could not spell certain sounds, since he lost his front teeth). - We hadh almothth goth ith buth ith ethcapedh vevy quickly. -But toads do not run. They are slow - thought Bart. - It's very strange. - And what do you want to do with this toad? - he asked aloud. - You fool! - Laughed another boy who lived in the neighborhood (Bart didn?t know his name because he was a newcomer). - "Toads must be killed". Nobody likes to be called a fool. Bart was often angry when he heard such a word, but this time he even didn't noticed it. -Why kill it? You have not right to kill it! It is forbidden to kill the toads! - He cried. - Not for me! - laughed at the "Newcomer". - Why you want to kill it? - asked Bart again. None of the boys could find the answer and at last one of them muttered: - Because the toads are disgusting. - But they're very useful - said Bart. - When toads are in the garden, they eat many pests on strawberries. - Rubbish - muttered "Newcomer ", but with less conviction than before. - I have no garden. I do not like strawberries. And the better way to get off the bugs is to use chemical pesticides. - And after that? Would you eat all this pesticides? How can the poison be healthy for you? "Newcomer" opened his mouth to answer but unexpectedly Casper agreed with Bart and said . - He's right about these chemicals. My mother says that my allergy is because of them. I cannot eat strawberries, but I like it very much. - I'd like to took the toad to my home - said another boy: Jacob. - How did you feel - asked Bart - if you were chased by a bunch of giants, who were throwing stones at you? - Giants? - asked surprised Adam who was a little brother of Casper. - Well, think of yourself, how much you're bigger than the toads. If someone such a big would chase you, he would probably be like those skyscrapers. And if he threw stones, they would be like ... Oh! Like these containers of garbage!

- And my dad kills toads - said "newcomer" attempting to overwhelm small entrance to the hole. - And for what? - Asked the boy again. - For that! - This is not argument - said Bart. - Stupid! King of frogs! Bart smiled. His dad almost every day repeated, that the insults mean that the opponent lost all the arguments, and he is angry because he knows it. -He just exhausted all the arguments- said daddy. He tries so unfair tricks. Do not give up when provoked, and you win.? So Bart said shortly: "Who insults, himself assaults " and slowly walked, hands in pockets, imagining that he was a brave sheriff, who just fought a bunch of gunslingers. Other boys decided to go home. Newcomer shouted something at them, but nobody listened to him anymore. Bart pretended to go to the store, and when he was sure that all the boys went home, he ran back. He wanted to see what happened with the toad and maybe transfer it to a safe place. Nearby was an abandoned plot of land with a muddy, overgrown pond. He was going to move it there. The boy gently brushed the stones and peered into the hole. The toad was still there. Huddled in the corner it looked at him with it's big golden eyes. - Do not fear ?-said Bart. - I'll not harm you. Then he took out a thin book from his knapsack, rolled it up and slipped it into the hole. He did not really believe in the stories of poisonous skin of toads, however he preferred to avoid the risk. - Come on - he said. - There is a beautiful pool nearby. It's a much better place for you. There is a lot of grass and trees there. The toad crawled obediently on the book. It was not very difficult task for it. - Good toad! You seem to understand what I sad - whispered Bart. - Why should I not understand? - he heard suddenly a low, dull voice. Bart would certainly drop the book, if it was not on the ground. - You are talking? -He exclaimed, looking at animal with eyes round with amazement. - Is it strange? - murmured the toad. - You are talking too. - Well, yes -said Bart, coming a bit closer - but I'm a man. The toad uttered a low guttural bark, which probably would be a kind of laughing.

- Do you think that only people can speak? - It chortled. - I would like to mention that the people learned the art of talking in such a way as we do here, from the dragons. - Do you mean we learned the art of talking from the dinosaurs? They disappeared for many years before man. Moreover, they had very small brains and ... Suddenly he stopped, because a strange thing started happening with the toad: its wide mouth narrowed, its eyes slightly recessed and a long neck decorated with a crest and a long sinuous tail shaped up. The animal lifted up a bit on the outstretched legs, became more slender, and a pair of membranous wings appeared on its back. Bart instinctively jumped back, stifling a cry. - Permit me to introduce myself - again sounded dull low voice. - I'm Edward. The Dragon. - A real dragon? - But what do you think? That I am artificial one? - Not, but ... - murmured Bart - I ... I always thought that dragons are large. I mean ... they are in fairy tales .... but the dinosaurs ... - You are right, you man with no name - laughed the toad, that was now The Dragon. - I have recently hatched from my egg and have not yet had time to grow. - Does this mean that your parents are somewhere there? - asked the boy, looking around anxiously. - I'm afraid that they are not - said the dragon, sadly, also looking around. - From the very, very long time I did not hear their voice. They went away and I'm afraid that I will not find them. He lowered his head. A tear ran down the golden eye, and sank into the sand. Bart took the little dragon in his hands. He was surprised that the skin of the dragon was not slippy as he expected. It was rather rough, and at least as warm as that of his hamster Thunder. In the school the teacher said that reptiles are cold. This dragon was warm. The boy hugged him gently to his cheek. -Do not worry - he whispered. - I'll do everything to help you find them, or at least find out what happened with them. When did you see them last time? And where it was? - I never saw them. - sighed the dragon, and a very narrow stream of smoke flowed from his nostrils.- I am sorry, I am sad. - he blew his nose into his wing. -I did not see them, because they were not there when I hatched from my egg over there ?he pointed on the construction site nearby. - Then how do you know that your name is Edward?

-How? Because I have heard it! My mother took me in her arms (I was still very small in the egg, but I remember all that very well) and she said to my daddy: "And this one will be called Edward. Will be strong, wise, and will be lucky in life." - Edwawrd? - My dad grimaced when he heard it (and every time he grimaced he pronounced the words in a strange manner through his teeth) -Is it really a good name for the dragon?! I think that the best name for him is Hilary ? it is the name of his grandfather. -But we already have a few Hilary's ? said my mother and then my oldest brother (the same one who always boasted terribly that he was the oldest and that one day our mom would allow him to hatch) immediately began to whine. - And also this one - she nudged the egg with my second brother, who was a terrible sleepyhead and loud snoring from its egg caused my dad very angry when it came the time for teaching Jawz. - And weeeeee! - Squeaked my next brother and sister. - Well, you see - said my mother - it seems to me that you exaggerate a little with giving this name. - I don?t exaggerate! - growled my dad - The grandfather, Hilary, was a great dragon and all my children should bear his name! - Whoa! - interrupted Bart. - Then how do you recognize one another if all of you bear the name Hilary? And who was Jawz? -Oh, each dragon has got two names, not only one - explained Edward. -One recent and second decent. However my oldest brother called Hilary Thuban has got both decent names.. He was very proud of that - added Edward with a sneer. - But now I miss even his braggings - he sighed. - Well, nevertheless he was a bit right because only the eldest brother can be called Thuban. (...)

Chapter V, Drahuun Two hours later the dragon still didn't come back. Bart was hanging over the balcony, looking around and trying to catch a glimpse of Edward?s shape. He hoped that he would see Edward coming back or at least he would see some gathering of people which would tell him that something happened. But there was nothing suspicious. Resigned, he sat down for homework. His parents would come back after an hour and he thought for sure they would notice the crashed flower pot. In such cases finished homework and clean room would be some advantage. He toiled over mathematical equations, when he heard a noise in the parents room. He ran there as quickly as possible and noticed that there was a new flowerpot on the balcony. Next to the open balcony door, laid and breathed heavily the dragon. -Edward! Are you okay? Where did you get the pot? -Bart peppered him with questions. - I made it - smiled the dragon with pride. - It is nice, isn't it? But very heavy also. I barely could fly. Bart brought a bowl and a bottle of mineral water from the kitchen. -I am sure you are thirsty. Well, I don't know what you?d like to eat - he said pouring the water into a dish. The dragon crawled and lapped the water, saying between one and another gulp: - Water ... willingly. But I ate ... only ... light ... snack. A few ... mice ... - So you're going to sleep again? - Bart was actually disappointed. ? You slept terribly long last time while I liked to ask you so many questions. - On the contrary - barked the dragon. - I just got up. We are still before the middray. - Before what? Before the midday?- asked surprised Bart - It is four o?clock in the afternoon. His parents would soon come back! - He thought that the geranium should be put quickly into to the new pot. -Before the middray, not midday?, We are just in the middle of the dray.