The aroma of the field of flowers was a potent but pleasant scent. The way it wafted through the air, bringing about a sense of serenity to me. I thought it was perfect. The ground was firm beneath my claws, the air was fresh, the sky a beautiful blue. My claw moved without thinking, to a spot just behind my ears, on the back of my skull. An oh too familiar protrusion. It was pointed up, so I flicked it down with an ease of movement.
My mind fizzled, and the scenery changed. A barren wasteland of sand and dunes greeted whatever I used for sight, the sky a rusted red. Talons of bronze material shined dully in the red sun, a smooth metallic body coated in dust. I knew whatever I had for a head was only vaguely dragon shaped, smooth; being without features and mouth. I didn’t even have eyes, yet I still saw in vivid detail. I couldn’t smell anything. There was nothing to smell.
I flipped the tiny switch back up, and everything was ‘normal’. My rainwing scales were back, the flowers, the wonderful scent, the blue sky that was awash with fluffy clouds. Off, a wasteland, on, almost a paradise. Off, a rusted metal monstrosity. On, a kindly rainwing, with multi-hued scales, and a small smile.
Off, the truth.
On, the lie.
When I finally moved my claws away from behind my ear, I kept it on. At least the lie was better than the truth. I took in a deep breath, and enjoyed the extremely well made illusion of life, as birds fluttered by, and tiny bugs chirped in the grass.
I sighed, my breath ruffling the grass. Spreading my wings, and I took flight. What I estimated to be fifteen minutes later, I was at the rainwing village. Dragons of all scale colors and more danced about, loving life for what it was, gliding against trees and treehuts. Some rested in hammocks, or on branches.
Idly, despite even knowing what would happen, I switched the tiny lever behind my ear, off. *Fizzle*. Only decaying buildings lay here, covered in sand and dust, and ash. So much ash. No trees lie here, and neither did dragons. Not even ones like me.
Back to the beautiful place I call home. One of my ‘friends’ looked at me funnily.
“Why do you always seem to have an itch back there? I rarely ever see you not scratch it.”
I merely shrugged, not sure how to respond. Just told him that he was correct. Told him it was genetics, or something. He looked at me strange, leaving muttering about strange made up words. Genetics. Certainly not a rainwing word. I heard it somewhere. But where?
Probably just yet another remnant from a forgotten past. No matter how hard I tried, I could find snippets of my origins. Sometimes, in the Off, I would find little rectangles flickering with faded light. They had voices, crackling voices that told of an experiment. Over the years, I pieced together I was the subject. I didn’t know what to feel about it.
I shook my head, tossing such thoughts out of my head. I’d only get depressed just thinking about. I was a rainwing. I was supposed to be happy. Right?
I heard the powerful flapping of wings, gusts of winds brushing against my scales. A skywing was behind me, on the landing pavilion. It was a she, with brilliant orange and red scales, making her look like a dying sunset. She was pretty.
Too bad she was fake. Like countless thousands of times before, I fiddled with the switch behind my right ear.
Something stood in her place, with a featureless face, and wide metal wings. Similar to me, it was coated in rust and dust, made of smooth bronze metal. It tilted its head, looking at me with no eyes. A mechanical sound.
“Why are you staring at me like that? Do I have a slug on my face?”
A lie that had some truth to it.
Another one. I experienced something I haven’t in ages. Sheer giddy joy. Finally, someone else.
A strange creature on four scaly legs, stared at a large screen. His arms were crossed behind his back, a human half.
“It appears my replica has found a friend.” He flicked it off.