Dragon: Myth of the Bermuda Triangle (Claxton Spinoff Story)

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Chapter 5: Dragon

The dining hall is at the other end of the ship. It’s next to a lounge called the Stargazer Lounge, but to get there, Maddie, her parents, and I need to walk down a hallway that passes a game room. It’s reserved primarily for adults, and Maddie tells me this.

“This isn’t exactly a room for you and I to hang out in, Will. It’s where adults like to play.”

I nod and turn my head to the left. The outside shoulder of the hallway has a long window, as well as benches. We’re walking on a red carpet that has different designs on it. I’m still nervous to be around other humans other than Maddie, so I stick close to her.

We pass the game room and next find ourselves in a circular section of the hallway. It’s the last hurdle before the Stargazer Lounge and dining room. There’s a small stage in it. A trivia game is occurring. The audience is adults, most all whom are holding wine glasses in their hands. Some of them are clearly drunk. I’ll never understand human behavior.

The host of the trivia show is a tall man who has endless tattoos on his arms and legs. His hair is long, blonde, and in a ponytail. He’s a little scruffy-looking. He sees me and gasps. “Hey, it’s the boy from the ocean!”

Me? I stop and point at myself.

The humans attending the trivia stop what they’re doing and stare at me.

I shiver.

Maddie’s mom and dad urge me to keep moving, and Maddie’s dad says, “Yes, and he’s very hungry.”

“Oh, come on! Everybody is talking about him. He’s the star of the Carnival Ecstasy,” the host explains. Hopping down from the stage, he takes my arm. “We love ya, kid! How would you like to be the host for our Harry Potter trivia show?”

I don’t know what Harry Potter is, dude. I’m sorry.

Maddie’s mom helps me through the awkward moment. She pulls the host off me. “Leave him alone. The poor kid is still recovering.”

“There’s more to him than you think, lady,” the host adds. “Why else would he be wandering around the Bermuda Triangle?”

Maddie’s mother takes a peek at his nametag. “I don’t know what you’re talking about, Mr. Ritchie. Just how much have you had to drink tonight?”

Mr. Ritchie bursts out laughing. “Have y’all never heard of the Water Clan of the Bermuda Triangle?”

I cringe. The Water Clan. My people. Who is this man?

Maddie’s father is the next one to step in for me. “We’re not going to ask you again. Leave the boy alone.”

Mr. Ritchie smirks. “But he could very well be one of those dragons.”

My body turns to stone. How does he know who I am?

Maddie narrows her eyebrows. “Enough! Come on, Will.” She grabs my hand and lugs me away from Mr. Ritchie. Her parents glare at him and then follow us, but he is still staring at me. What did I do to blow my cover? Why am I such an idiot?

“What a weird man,” Maddie admits as we continue down the hallway.

Her mom wraps her arm around my shoulders. “I’m sorry if he made you uncomfortable, Will.”

I shrug. This is why I may never understand humans. However, that man knows something about me.

“Oh, hey! Here’s the Stargazer Lounge!” Maddie’s father suddenly says, probably to change the subject.

We’ve made it to the end of the hallway. The Stargazer Lounge is in front of us. It’s quite fancy-looking. It has a purple tint to it, high-end chairs, and a screen at the back of it.

“Ah, yes,” Maddie’s mom adds. She removes her arm from my shoulders. “Say, Maddie, they’re going to play Inside Out in there at 7:30. Maybe you should take Will.”

It doesn’t look like Maddie’s paying her any attention. She’s standing off to the side, and she has her hand at her chin. She’s thinking.

“Maddie,” her mother calls.

“Huh?” Maddie snaps out of her trance. “Oh, sorry, Mom. Sure, I’d love to see Inside Out again.”

My “what” questions never seem to end. What’s Inside Out?

“Let’s first get some dinner, and then you and Will can have your ’date,’” Maddie’s mother jokes.

Maddie blushes, as do I. I don’t remember my parents being this annoying. Sigh, I just want some food.

The dining room is down a set of two staircases. Whoa! I thought the Stargazer Lounge was fancy, but this is a whole different story! There’s a bar, but all the wine and beer bottles are up on a shelf that glows a bright turquoise. Rounded lights hang from the ceiling, and there are clusters and clusters of tables that hold six to ten people each. The restaurant’s booths are up against some windows. The sight of all the humans having dinner make me nervous again, and I clutch my necklace pendant for comfort.

A waiter greets us. He is a short, stoutly man who has dark skin and black hair. He’s wearing a rather fancy waiter uniform: a white, puffy-sleeved shirt, black pants, a vest, polished shoes, and a tie. He speaks with an accent. “Ah, if it isn’t the Carter family.”

“Hello, Alan. How are you tonight?” Maddie’s mother, I guess Mrs. Carter, asks.

“I’m doing very well, thank you very much,” Alan replies. “Ah, is this the boy of the day?” He pinches my cheek and shakes my skin. “What a handsome young’un!”

Mrs. Carter nods. “He is. The poor thing is starving, though.”

“Oh, I’m sure we’ll find something for him,” Alan admits. “May I?” He offers Mrs. Carter his arm, and she takes it. He leads us to a table that’s to the right of the walkway. Six more people are sitting at it: two, retired couples and a mother and her daughter. The daughter is older than Maddie and I by quite a few years.

She and her parents take their seats, but I’m still standing.

Alan briefly leaves to grab a chair from one of the empty tables. He, along with two more waiters, dance over to our table. They put on a little performance.

Alan sticks the chair behind me, and I sit down. He pushes it to the table. I’m right next to Maddie and the older daughter.

The second waiter sets a napkin in my lap, and the third one hands me a glass of water. Together, all three of them back away and bow.

Maddie, her parents, and the rest of the party clap.

Honestly, they don’t look like bad people. They look friendly, like they just want to have fun. I mean, this is a cruise.

No, Will, don’t think this. Humans are humans. They are the Ocean’s worst enemy.

Alan sets a menu in front of me. Once again, he pinches my cheek. “Welcome to our family, young man.”

One of the other waiters pour the adults a glass of wine. She rubs the bottle off with her napkin and puts it down on the table’s center.

I pick up the menu and bring it to my face, but I can’t read. I mean, there’s no need to learn when you’re a dragon.

“I don’t think he can read,” Maddie says to Alan.

“Ah, no problem.” Alan leans over my shoulder, and he runs his finger down the menu. “We have a deliciously stuffed pork with a side of green beans and mashed potatoes. There’s also a lobster that we’ve kept fresh all day that comes with hushpuppies. Yum, just thinking about it is making my mouth water. There’s a teriyaki dish, and the sauce is homemade. Oh, and let’s not forget our famous crab cakes.”

“Alan, he’s twelve years old. He doesn’t want seafood,” Mrs. Carter says from her chair.

Really? But that lobster and those crab cakes sound delicious. I think I want the lobster. I point it out to Alan, and he grins.

“I say otherwise. This boy is craving a nice lobster.”

“Wait, really? You actually like seafood, Will?” Maddie asks. She is clearly disgusted.

Of course, I do. I eat it all the time. Squid is my favorite.

Alan cheers. “One lobster coming right up!” He pulls a pad and pen out of his vest pocket and jots down notes.

Shaking her head, Maddie tells me, “You are one weird boy.”

Trust me, Maddie, it’s only going to get weirder from here. I’m not human. I’m a dragon, and I’m part of the Water Clan.

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