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  • Elizabeth James

The Creatures Island (Part 1)

Prologue


The creature looked up from a crouch, and stared at the vines tangled around its body. What was this… It stared at the bindings, then closed its eyes. Suddenly, its scales hissed and crackled, and the vines fell away, turning in the air from green life, to inky dark ash. Why was it here? It couldn't remember the times before this, other than its powers and… what was that smell? It was… warm, like something alive. And…there was something familiar, a feeling of something missing, something important. They had come back, after all this time. All of a sudden, memories flashed into its head. It remembered that smell… and the significance of it to the creature's survival.


Chapter 1


Shadow blinked, the leafy green beauty of his home coming into focus. The warm silk of his cocoon fell away from him, the strands snapping as he clawed at them.. He was finally finished with his metamorphosis! After six days of sleeping and growing his wings, he had come out and he had them! Although… he was nervous to look at them. What if they were the same grey and white shades as the rest of him? The reason his name was shadow. Suddenly, he heard a voice. Sunburst! He swivelled towards her. “I missed you '' he exclaimed. Sunburst laughed, her shining gold wings glittering in the sunlight. “How could you miss me?” she said jokingly, smiling, “you were asleep the whole time!”. He then turned to his parents, Swallowtail and Apollo. They smiled at him too, their white and black wings blending together perfectly. “You should really look at your wings,” Swallowtail said proudly. “Yes, they are wonderful,” Apollo agreed. Shadow finally turned his head and looked backwards, stretching his four wings out as far as they would go. Beautiful rainbow colours shimmered back at him, swirls of red, orange, purple and green. When he looked more closely, he realised that there must have been every colour of the rainbow there in his wings, with the added swirls of vibrant pink. He burst into the biggest smile he could remember, and happily asked if they could go flying. His family smiled at him and they soared out of the door. The four of them zoomed through the vines, doing tricks and trying out loops in the sky until the sunset.  


The next morning, Shadow got up, exhausted after so much flying the day before, but still excited. Today they were going to the library to learn about one of his favourite things; old silkwing legends! He bounced into their main room and looked around. “Hi, mom! Hi, dad!”He called to Swallowtail and Apollo out the window. Then turning to Sunburst,he asked, “Is there anything for breakfast today, or are mom and dad out gathering it? Sunburst looked at him. “There’re watermelons.”, she said, “ but if you want anything else, you'll have to wait for the zebras”. The zebras were everyone’s, including Sunburst and Shadow’s, nickname for Apollo and Swallowtail, since their wings were black and white, just like the funny stripy zebras. 


A few minutes later, Apollo walked into the room carrying some mangoes and dragonfruit. Swallowtail came in seconds later, and put some bananas into the little hole where they stored food. “ Help yourselves to all the fruit!” they called as they flew out the door again. Shadow went over to the pile and chose a huge mango, and sunburst picked one of the bananas. As she split it open, she asked him if he wanted to share their fruits. “Half of each?”. Shadow smiled, and cut his mango in half as well, nudging one piece over to Sunburst and taking one of the banana halves. 


Just as Shadow finished his last mouthful of mango, there was a loud ringing sound. Sunburst’s head shot up. “The alarm for a full tribe meeting! Something important must have happened!”, she shouted at Shadow as she whizzed out of the hole that was their door. He quickly rose to his feet and spread his wings clumsily, following her out of the door and over to the clearing where the tribe had their meetings. 


Queen Atalanta was sitting on a large mossy rock in the middle of the flat area with a grave expression on her face.standing around the rock were silkwings murmuring amongst each other, especially some of the older dragons, who were some of the only ones who had been alive at the last full meeting. Some of the youngest dragonets looked confused and upset because they probably didn't know what was happening. Sunburst, standing next to Shadow, was buzzing with nervous energy. “I think somethings wrong,” she whispered to Shadow. “Look how scared those scouts seem”. Shadow turned to where Sunburst was looking. A group of silkwing scouts were huddled in a circle, whispering with terrified expressions. This worried Shadow, since scouts were the ones who searched and gathered information about the wilder places outside of the village, where the wild creatures lived. He was snapped out of watching them by the Queen's voice. “ My fellow silkwings,” she announced, “ I have grave news. One of our own has been found dead in the forest, a little way away from the village. There are claw marks on the trees around the body, and, according to my scouts, there are large bite marks on the dragon's wings and tail.” She quickly turned to the scout closest to her.  “ The dragon was…” she turned to a small yellow scout and asked something before somberly announcing , “Pieridae ''. There was a gasp from the crowd. Pieridae had been an old scout, but he had been amazing at sensing when things were near and if something was dangerous. Shadow wondered how he could have been killed by a creature with senses like those.''How did it sneak up on him?” he wondered to himself. 


“We will need two or more dragons to hunt for this terrible creature” the queen called, “ do we have any volunteers?”.  Noone raised their claw. Silence stretched on.  Almost everyone turned their heads down. Everyone knew that whoever went on this mission might not come back.  Suddenly two voices made Shadow freeze. “We’ll do it”. It was Apollo and Swallowtail. Sunburst suddenly looked up, staring at their parents. Shadow knew that they were scouts too but why did they have to take this job? Sunburst and Shadows' eyes went wide. “Mom, dad no! It killed a dragon already!” Sunburst cried, but the queen had already accepted their offer of help. Shadow wanted to say something, but he was frozen. In what seemed like a few seconds, Apollo and Swallowtail had been equipped with sleeping darts and flown to the area where the creature was last known to be.


Back in their home, Shadow sadly drew a picture of their family all together on one of the pieces of paper they had stashed in some waterproof leaves. It was so quiet without their parents there. Shadow didn't like the quiet, but he also couldn't think of what to say to make things alright. With their parents gone, Sunburst cut and cooked different fruits for their dinner. Out of the blue, she asked him a question. “ do you think they'll be ok?”. Shadow froze. “Our parents'' Sunburst said, confirming his thoughts. He shifted, not sure what to say. “Shadow?”. He lifted his eyes, searching for the right words. “Yes,” he finally answered, “as long as they don’t disturb the creature”. Sunburst looked down in despair. Shadow knew exactly what she was thinking. But that’s exactly what they went to do… 


Chapter 2


A couple of days later, Shadow was sadly looking at the picture he had drawn when Sunburst rushed into his room, shouting. “I have an idea! I know how we can find out more about the creature! The library!”. She was right. The silkwing library had almost every book possible, on everything. As she flew out the room, shadow following, he heard an odd noise, a bit like another dragon's growl. He listened for a moment, then shook his head. He must have imagined it. He ran after sunburst, calling out that she had to leave one of the bananas for him.


Inside the room, a green dragon with slightly pink wings snuck out from behind Shadow’s shelves and hissed. Her leaf-shaped wings trembled slightly, as she pressed herself against the wall. She wanted to talk to them, but just one of them to start with! She had been spying on them for a few days now, and knew that their parents had gone to find out more about the creature. Her parents had done that, but they had been found dead a few weeks later. Suddenly, a wave of sadness hit her. Stop thinking about them in that way! You hate them! She thought to herself as her fury rose again. She would follow the silkwings to this library, and then she would speak to them. 


Shadow ate his banana as he turned a page in his book of myths and then paused. There was that weird growling noise again! He didn't think he was imagining it this time. All of a sudden sunburst asked “can you hear that? I think… I think there is someone else here”. Shadow agreed. “I heard it in my bedroom too,” he told her. Sunburst thought for a moment, then whispered to her brother that they should sneak back home and set a trap for whoever it was. Shadow looked down at the book, but guessed that finding out who was following them was important. He nodded, and Sunburst flew out the library doors. He put the book away and rushed after her. They flew into their home together and put a string over the doorway. The end of it was looped round Sunburst’s wrist, so it would pull when someone walked through.


A few hours later, nothing had happened. Shadow nervously looked around. All of a sudden the annoyed sounding growl came again. He looked at Sunburst. “How did the dragon get in?”. Sunburst turned to him, and answered “ whoever it is got here before us, and I think they're in your room! Let's go in and find out who it is!”  Sunburst twisted her body so she turned to the bedroom door. “Get ready,” she whispered as quietly as she could. She pressed herself to the floor and crept towards the doorway leading to the bedroom. Then she raced across and leaped out into… an empty room? Sunburst thought for a moment then decided that she and shadow should pretend everything was normal. She whispered her plan to him , and he nodded. It was time to have some fun with one of the village sloths!


Back inside the room, the green dragon heard whispering. They knew she was there! She moved her wings to look like the leaves on the wall,and hoped that her plan would work. The yellow dragon- Sunburst she remembered poked her head round the door and called back to her brother that the room was empty and he could come in. Argh! She thought. She would have to stand in this weird position for even longer?! She watched as the grey dragon walked into the room, opening the windows in the little bedroom. Suddenly, a few small pink butterflies flew in.  She saw the two silking go over to the leaf bed and sit down, ignoring the butterflies. Suddenly, one landed on her nose. She twitched slightly, and managed to shake it off. But then, the yellow silkwing flew out and, a few seconds later, returned with a sloth. A SLOTH!? Her panic started to mix with her annoyance. No, no, not a furry creature! Her head screamed at her, Get out of here! But she couldn't move, not with the two silkwings in the room. Then they started petting the sloth. Who pets a sloth?! She thought as its fur shed ALL OVER THE ROOM. Venus could not believe these two silkwings. Their stupid sloth would give her away. Slowly, some of the sloth's fur floated towards her as she tried not to scream in annoyance. As it came closer, her nose started to tickle, and then the fur LANDED ON HER FACE. She let out a huge sneeze, moving slightly as she tried to shake off the fur. The two silkwings' heads snapped up, and their eyes locked onto hers.


Shadow suddenly heard a sneeze. He and sunburst looked up sharply, and his eyes locked onto the eyes of a green dragon with leaf shaped wings. Sunburst gasped. “Leafwing?! What are you doing here? Don't you have your own village?”. The leafwing glared at them. “First of all, my name is Venus, not. Secondly, I'm here because of the creature, and thirdly, yes, I do have my own village, but I'm not there right now, so who cares what's going on over there right now!” the leafwing growled, counting on her talons with a furious expression. “And,” she said, “I need your help with capturing the creature that killed Pieridae.” Sunburst turned round. “How do you know Pieridae?” she asked. Venus looked bored. “ Did I forget to mention I've been spying on you for days now? I was there at the announcement. I know your parents went to find the creature , and here's what's gonna happen to them: they are either going to come back having seen nothing, or they're going to come back - as more news of murders”. Shadow gasped, a hopeless look coming over his face.  Sunburst on the other hand, roared “DON'T YOU DARE SAY THAT!”, enraged at what Venus had said.


Venus screamed inside herself. How could I say that, she thought, all I've done is upset them, and now it's so awkward. Why am I so bad at trying to make friends! These thoughts raced around her mind, making her head hurt slightly. She was jerked out of her thoughts by the grey silkwings voice. “Why do you want to catch the creature?,” He asked curiously. “That is none of your business” Venus snapped, then instantly regretted it as she saw the look on the little dragon's face. She wouldn't say sorry, she couldn't. That was the whole point of Venus the protector, Venus the dragon who never admitted to anything, Venus the dragon who was expected to obey everything so she could be stronger, faster, tougher. Thinking about this almost made Venus scream with fury in real life, which finally managed to completely jerk her out of her head. She growled instead, just as Sunburst said, “we'll help you find the creature,but only because we want our parents to be safe. Shadow suddenly asked a question. “ Can I leave a note, just in case our parents come back before us?" “Fine,” Venus growled irritably, “ but let's get going as soon as possible”. 


“So,” Sunburst said later as Shadow was writing a note, “ what do you actually know about the creature?” Venus glared at her. “ we know that its scales are electric blue, and that it kills stuff and then bites the dead bodies”. Sunburst looked at her sarcastically. “Wow, so helpful,” she said, rolling her eyes. Venus’s annoyance at the gold dragon grew even more. “Well it's more than you know,” she muttered, frustrated, “ now lets leave since Shadow’s finished…. AREN'T YOU SHADOW.” she commanded, staring at him. Shadow stuttered “y-yes i'm done”. Sunburst glared at Venus and mouthed the words, ‘stop being mean’ Venus seethed, Mean? Maybe a bit? But how annoying is Sunburst? She was TRYING to help them find their family. Venus flew out the door angrily, jerking her head for the silkwings to follow.


Chapter Three


They flew through the forest at a quick pace, stopping only for food, water, and sleep. The trees were green and the flowers popping up around the forest floor were beautiful. Shadow breathed in the scent of fresh air, and flew faster, trying to keep up with sunburst. Venus was way ahead.  Shadow was surprised, but Venus was faster than both of them, even though she only had two wings. To be honest, shadow would guess that one: she was around sunburst’s age, and two: she would probably win a race against an adult dragon. Suddenly he screeched to a halt, almost crashing into Sunburst, who had stopped. A few moments later venus flew back to them, muttering about ‘idiotic silkwings who would stop for anything, even the biggest crocodile. Shadow ignored her. “Sunburst, what is it?” he asked her, but she was frozen, staring at something. Shadow turned to look, and felt like ice was trickling through him. A fox lay on the ground, stiff as a nail. It was clearly dead. But that wasn't what had frozen them. Huge scratch marks were clawed out of the poor creature's body, and massive claw marks were gouged into the trees all around them. Venus stared at the fox, then at the trees, then at them. “ We are leaving,” she hissed, her tone as cold as winter. “ now”. 


They were flying through the trees once more, but Shadow wasn't as peaceful as before. He couldn't shake the sight of the fox from his mind. Suddenly, sunburst turned to him. “ Venus says it's time for a sleep stop,” she said, slightly excited. Shadow finally realised how tired he was. His wings ached, and his claws hurt. He gratefully glided down towards where venus had just landed, and helped her and sunburst scoop soft leaves into three beds. They each went to one bed, and after a few hours of laying there, they finally were all asleep.


Chapter Four


Venus awoke to sunlight moving through the trees, right into her eyes. She snapped them closed and shook her head. Maybe… she had used her power the night before when the other two were sleeping, creating a bubble of plants around them. Suddenly, while wondering if she should create more plants, she realised something. How? The plants should have still been there… a feeling of uneasiness crept through her.” sunburst, shadow, somethings wrong,” she hissed to them. 


Sunburst blinked sleepily. “What is it?” she yawned, then noticed the bright sunlight. Venus looked at her irritably. “ Yesterday I created a bubble of plants around us,” she said, “ it should still be here.” Shadow stared at Venus in confusion. “How did you create the bubble of plants?” he asked curiously. Venus glared at him. “ that,” she growled, “isn't the point right now”. Sunburst darted up suddenly. “ Everyone shush, somethings here,” she said, sounding panicked. She then closed her eyes, using her antennae to sense the world around her. There was something huge, and it was nearby. “ There's something massive,” she said nervously, just as a twig snapped behind her. She twisted around quickly, then looked at the others. “Guys,” she whispered, “ did you hear that?”. Shadows' face was pale. “Y-yes,” he stuttered, terrified of what might be lurking in the darkness of the trees. Suddenly, from the corner of her eye, sunburst saw a flash of neon blue in the trees. Panic hit her. What was it venus had said they knew? It kills dragons, and it has electric blue scales… sunbursts head shot up. “ run!” she screamed at the other two as the blue flashed through the treetops. “The creature is here! And it knows that we're here as well!”. She jumped up from the ground and, dragging shadow with her, flew into the inky darkness beyond their clearing.


Venus spun around, ignoring sunbursts cries to run. She wanted to see the creature, maybe even trap it in vines or poison ivy. She listened, slowly hearing the flapping of wings- that must be shadow and sunburst- she thought. She listened harder, and all of a sudden she could hear it, a quick whoosh noise every few seconds. Where was it? She twisted in another circle, trying to follow the noise when she saw it. bright , crackling scales in a shade of neon blue, and there was…. Venus stared in horror at the orangey red eye glaring at her. It looked… evil. For a moment she froze, then, her survival instincts kicking in, she burst from the ground and flew as fast as she could after the silkwings.


End of Part 1


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