Here’s my contribution to the 2020 8 Ladies Christmas Short Story Challenge. I think I got all the prompt words!
George and the Dragon
The winter sun was low in the sky as Georgina Albion moored her sailboat at Stack Aerie’s small dock and picked her way along the slippery wooden boards, ignoring the freshly painted PRIVATE PROPERTY sign and the new ones that said NO TRESPASSING and VISITORS BY INVITATION ONLY.
She raised her eyes to the scudding clouds, but her thoughts were directed at the reclusive new owner. How can I be be invited, if you never answer your post or open your email?
There was a painted steel circle beside the first step of the narrow stone stair that clung to the vertiginous cliff face, and another at the top. Stylized dragons with razor claws and fiery breath, contained within a red perimeter and crossed by a red diagonal bar. In case that wasn’t clear enough, the message was spelled out below: NO DRAGONS HERE.
George stopped for a moment to trace the image with a fingertip. “If that’s true, your Uncle Basil made a big mistake.”
From the cliff top it was a short walk to the futuristic glass-and-steel dome that perched atop the towering granite sea-stack. She knew from past visits that the bubble’s airy interior was comfortable but sparsely furnished. The temperature was always pleasant, the filtered light clear and bright, and the views out over the stormy ocean and back toward the mainland were breathtaking. The traditional rooms—a kitchen, dining room, office, bedrooms—were below, set within the rock. And far, far, far deeper, under the ocean bed, Bas’s treasure cave lay hidden.
The reinforced glass door was flung open before she could ring the bell. “What now?”
The man who blocked the entrance was tall—six and a half feet of long legs encased in dark jeans, broad shoulders snugly wrapped in black cashmere, chiseled features, and short, dark, spiky hair. The luminous eyes that glowered down at her were a distracting golden green color, with an unmistakable amethyst rim.
George blew out a breath. There was no mistake. Bas had chosen his successor. The rest was up to her.