Dust

The tower’s columns soared as high as an eagle, a masterpiece of both architectural and magical construction. Still it shook when the dragon alighted on its pinnacle.

“Madame?” the servant said uncertainly. “There’s no time left. We must–“

“Must?” the mage answered sharply. “The only thing we must do is face death.  You may do that now, or if you wish you must postpone it.”

The servant glanced upward, nodded, and dashed for the stairs.

Ignoring his retreat, the mage stepped to the balcony. “Beast!” she called out. “I’ve been waiting.”

A large, scaled head descended, the monster’s large yellow eye peering down at her. “Your bravado is wasted, witch,” the dragon’s voice rumbled. “No boasts nor screams nor pleas for mercy shall stay my fire. I will consume you, crush your tower, incinerate even the memory of your name.”

She smiled. “All are forgotten eventually. All comes to dust in the end. Even you.”

The dragon snorted, a cascade of smoke and sparks.

“Piteous,” she sighed, “that a creature of ruin would be too afraid to face the darkness that awaits us all.” With that, she turned her back.

No flames came.

The tower shook as the dragon fled.

* * *

Story by Gregory M. Fox