Rain, Fire, and a Night Fury

Chapter 8

Rain was still falling. An occasional flash illuminated the area, followed by a low rumble. And Toothless was still frozen in time. Still in that same position as when he crash-landed on this island. He was lying on his left side, his eyes squeezed shut with his mouth drawn into a grimace, like someone was pulling on it with an invisible hook.

I never got up from my sitting position because there wasn't any point. I was pretty sure Dragon Island was uninhabited. From the areas I had explored during various trips here, it was always the same landscape. An unforgivingly jagged experience, completely bereft of any greenery or animals, save for the occasional wandering dragon or bird. But even then, the animals would be gone not long after that.

I looked back at Toothless through the falling rain. From the water that was running down my face, I couldn't tell what was rain and what were tears. It all felt the same to me. And it didn't look like the rain was going to stop any time soon.

I saw Toothless with his grimace. The stirrup connecting his saddle to his tail fin was blown completely open. Small pieces of it were probably missing. Most of the connections that strung from the fin to the stirrup were nowhere to be seen. And the tail fin was completely gone, like it had been ripped cleanly off the frame. I kept my eyes on the frame, wondering how anyone was going to get it out of Toothless’ skin without causing immeasurable pain to him. If I could trade places with him, I would have done it without a second thought. He didn't deserve to go through something like this. He had saved my life on several occasions, and I never forgot about it. Toothless was my protector, and this was how he was rewarded?

Above everything else though, nothing masked the fact that we were completely stranded here. Nobody knew where we were. Most of the people in Berk probably didn't even know we had left.

What a way to go, I thought. My dragon and I were stuck with no food, and the only drinkable water was falling from the sky. That would end soon, leaving us parched.

I thought about what my dad, Gobber, Astrid and Fishlegs were going through right now. And maybe even Snotlout and the twins. They had their own problems with Mildew to worry about. But after he gave up for the night, then what next?

Where's Hiccup? That would be the next question. Where's Toothless? Soon to translate into the following question: Are they all right?

The gravity of the situation was what really scared me. I realized very quickly that our only hope of getting off this island was for someone to come to us.

I pulled my knees closer to my chest and looked down at the rocky beach I was sitting on. Pulled in a deep breath with a lot of quavering. The lightning was still creating dull flashes of white, followed by a low rumble some seconds later. The rain was still falling, creating a small pool around Toothless and me.

When will I hit rock-bottom? I wondered sarcastically. When would this situation become so unbearable I couldn't take it anymore? If I didn't do something soon, Toothless was going to drown. That is, if he was still alive.

My joints still wouldn't obey me, but I didn't have a choice. Slowly, I got to a crawling position and began pushing several rocks toward Toothless’ head. I knew I couldn't move him, even on my best days, so my only hope was to get his head elevated and wait the rain out. I removed several rocks with jagged edges and eased my right forearm underneath my dragon's head. Pushed the small pile of rocks underneath his head and set it back down. It looked a little better, with a small island of rocks supporting Toothless’ head. It bought me at least another hour or so.

"I'm sorry, bud," I whispered. I had nothing else to tell him. I sat back down next to his head, unmindful of the small pool of water that had been collecting around us. Reached out with my left hand and stroked his cheek gently. He was still warm to the touch, telling me he wasn't dead. I wished there was something I could do for him to make his pain disappear. But just like the thunderstorms we suffered through, I had to watch every second of his torture.

If it was any consolation, when I touched Toothless’ face, his grimace lessened slightly. It wasn't very much, but I could see it. For once, I wished I could channel the magic Toothless had. No matter what happened, I always seemed to heal more quickly when he was watching over me. I sighed, turning my attention out toward the ocean. The rain was lessening slightly, but it still showed no signs of stopping. And a light fog was beginning to settle over the island. I knew Dragon Island was no stranger to fog, just like the forest on Berk. It wouldn't take long for the fog to become a seemingly-impenetrable wall.

"We'll get off this island soon, bud. I promise," I whispered to Toothless. Deep down inside, I felt like it was an empty promise. Stroked his cheek again. His grimace receded a little more. At this point, I only hoped that my promise would hold. Hoped that the gods would help us somehow. While we were still alive.

The rain slowly tapered off, taking the fog with it. The night sky was still pitch black without a star in sight. Clouds which would have been ominously dark during the day were hanging threateningly over us. Toothless was still lying in that same position, although his grimace was mostly gone now. The lightning bolt we took must have really paralyzed him. I felt significantly relieved when I heard him breathing. His breaths were very shallow, but he was breathing. Every time he exhaled, a few bubbles came out of his mouth from the water pooled around him. I knew if Thor decided to send another rainstorm our way, I'd have to figure out how to get Toothless to higher ground.

My pants, boot and shirt were completely soaked through. And the night air was just chilly enough to make it feel even worse than it already was. I sidled closer to Toothless, brushing my left arm against the back of his neck. Hoped he'd regain his consciousness soon. Because I felt scared, alone and hopeless. Not only because we were stranded. But also because Toothless was unconscious. I had only the company of myself at the moment. The feeling of loneliness in the air was so thick I could almost taste it.

In the distance, a small light show was happening. It was to the southeast, which probably meant there was another storm tormenting Berk. In the back of my mind, I hoped it was Thor getting his revenge on Mildew for what he did to Toothless over the past few days. But from Mildew's point of view, he probably thought Toothless was still on Berk somewhere. He'd call out the search party, and they'd go on an island-wide hunt for a Night Fury. After that failed, I knew it wasn't going to be too long before he started trying to kill other dragons. Maybe as a threat to get Toothless out of hiding. Or maybe out of complete and utter frustration.

I watched impassively as the light show dimly illuminated the pool Toothless and I were sitting in. It was completely silent, except for the crashing waves around Dragon Island, telling me the storm was too far away to be of immediate threat. That was the one saving grace I had because I couldn't come up with a backup plan to get Toothless out of this hollow.

I sighed, shivering as the wind picked up slightly. Inched closer to Toothless, hoping his warmth could help me a little.

"Wake up soon, bud," I whispered to Toothless. "I'm scared."

I had no problem admitting I was frightened to Toothless. He was the one I could always trust to keep my deepest, darkest secrets. I knew he'd listen to me when I was frightened or upset, and he never judged me for it. Never told me I was weak and looked for a better, more suitable, rider. When Toothless was around, I always felt more comfortable because I knew he was going to protect me. But as long as he wasn't awake, I was on my own. And that scared me more than anything right now.

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