This is a short story that I entered in a recent competition. It was shortlisted and received a few fans on the judging panel. It is a slight deviation from my normal sword and sorcery, epic fantasy style, but it still has fantasy elements. Let me know what you think.

‘Mum, Dad!’ Little Christine Walker managed to interrupt the almost constant flow of cornflakes into her mouth to splutter out a few words. Her father looked up from his perusing of the news sites on his mobile and looked across the breakfast table.

‘Yes, dear?’

The nine-year-old paused her rotary piston action of spoon to bowl to mouth then back to bowl again just as her mother walked in from the lounge, coffee mug in hand.

‘After we have been to Auntie Jeanie’s and I have done my chores, can I go out to play with Butterscotch?’

‘Butterscotch?’ her dad looked puzzled.

‘Yes, hunni, of course.’ Her mum answered. ‘But remember it is back to school tomorrow, so dinner will be at six, no later.’

‘Butterscotch? Is that the neighbour’s dog?’ Mr Walker repeated.

‘No, daddy. Jimmy’s dog is called Bouncer.’ 

‘You know that, Martin,’ Jayne, his wife, chided him slightly as she sat down and poured herself another coffee from the pot.

‘Don’t tell me it’s the name of one of the kids round here. That’s unbelievable.’ He shook his head and raised the slice of toast to his mouth. Thinking twice, he lowered it and continued.

‘I know Chardonnay or Porsche was fashionable at some time but naming your child after a flavour of whipped dessert is beyond me.’ This time the toast made it to his mouth, and he bit into it.

‘It’s not one of her friends, Martin. Don’t be silly. It’s her name for her imaginary dragon. Though I think that there is a Mercedes-Brook who lives a few streets down.’ Mrs. Walker said, sipping her coffee.

‘Mum! Butterscotch is not imaginary, she’s real.’

‘Of course, dear. A real dragon.’ Mrs Walker stood and walked to the sink, tipping her grounds away and rinsing the cup.

‘She is real, Mummy.’

‘I don’t remember getting you a pet dragon, hunni. I am not sure that would be very responsible. Do you?’ Mr Walker took another bite of his toast. He ran the back of his other hand over his lips to dislodge the few crumbs that had stuck to them.

‘You didn’t. I found her. In the woods.’

‘Ok, darling. Now hurry up with your breakfast. We have to leave in thirty minutes.’ Mrs. Walker said.

‘But she’s not imaginary, she’s real. As real as you and me.’

‘Dragon’s aren’t real, Christine. You know that. Same with pixies, unicorns and all the other mystical creatures that you have told us that you have rescued in the last few years. They don’t exist.’

‘Daddy!’ Christine protested.

‘Now, what have we told you. A little imagination is a good thing, but you just can’t get carried away by it though. It’s ridiculous!’

‘It’s not fair.’ Christine slammed her spoon down, rattling the bowl. She rose to her feet and stamped to the dishwasher, trying her hardest to open it and crash about as loudly as possible, but without damaging anything.

‘It’s not fair,’ she repeated. ‘Grown-ups never believe children. It’s so horrible!’ With that, she stomped off upstairs.

Her father contemplated calling her back down, but changed his mind, preferring to have another cup of coffee. Jayne finished tidying the kitchen work surface from the melee of breakfast paraphernalia. She turned to Martin as she found homes for the myriad jars and cartons that her family deemed necessary to open every weekend morning.

‘We shouldn’t be too hard on her. Let’s not spoil the weekend.’

Martin Walker threw his hands up in mock resignation, then nodded and smiled at his wife.

Upstairs, Christine waited on the landing and listened to her parents talking. She tutted and opened the door to her room. She slipped in and closed it quietly, then knelt at the side of her bed. Bending forward so the side of her head touched the floor, she peered underneath and reached for the small basket that was there. 

‘Come on out, Butterscotch. I want to say goodbye before we go.’

Curled up in a blanket was a small gecko, caramel in colour. Its long tail was wrapped around its body and its four feet had toes ending with large pads. Its large black eyes seemed to fixate on the little girl as she looked down. She brazenly stretched out her hand and ran a finger down its back. She swore she could hear it purr with contentment. 

‘Now, Butterscotch, please be good when I am out. I’ll be back soon, and we’ll go out to play then.’ She started to push the basket back under the bed. ‘No burning things. Butterscotch!’

She stood up, something catching her eye. On the ledge outside her bedroom window she had a small window box containing several pansies and begonias. Fluttering around the flowers was a small butterfly, its orange wings dotted with black eyes. 

‘Mr Pixie!’ she cried and ran for the window excitedly. She stared at it; her face pressed up against the glass. The butterfly stayed for a good few minutes, before flying away like a leaf in the wind. As she tried to keep eyes on it, before it disappeared out of view, she caught sight of the black and white cob cantering around the field beyond the estate. Its black mane flowed as its long legs ate up the field. Christine smiled.

Maybe, she would take Butterscotch to see the unicorn. She imagined that her dragon would like that.

If you would like more….

2 Replies to “Butterscotch”

  1. 😍 Oh I love this! I was very unfortunate to have kids who didn’t have imaginary friends or pets (one took a boiled egg for a walk and used to dress it up, but hey!) The idea that kids see things we don’t is our beauty. Of to have that innocence!

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