The first few flaps were awkward. I gave a roar of surprise as my feet lifted off the ground, not used to flying, causing me to instinctively stop and end up crashing to the ground a few seconds later. Thankfully, this was done on the road outside my house, so as I crashed a few times nothing was dirtied as the road wasn't muddy, unlike the patches of grass that lay on the sidewalks.
It took me a few tries before I finally managed to fly properly, and it soon became a matter of constantly flapping my wings, regardless of whether I was being lifted off the ground or not, so that in any event that I did so, I wouldn't end up crashing a few seconds later.
I took to the sky soon, and I was roaring in delight as I soon found myself whizzing past the tops of the HDB blocks (also known as apartment buildings) as I did a few rounds around my neighborhood district. Each flap of my wings brought me higher and higher than before, and it was like an ecstasy for me. It was a powerful feeling, a feeling of freedom and power, like I'd never known before. I could roam the skies, and I laughed at the pitiful ground birds we called 'humans' walking along the pavements or driving around in their cars.
However, keeping my bag with me seemed like a continual challenge because my bag's straps kept slipping off my shoulders, and I had to keep hanging on to them with my own claws or they'd fall off mid-flight.
The flight to school was a brief one though, lasting nothing more than a good 5 minutes before my school came into view. My school was an old, neighborhood-class school that existed before I was born, and since it was old it was a small, non-air conditioned school that had multiple levels with lots of glassless windows in the classrooms that were simply held by iron bars to keep people from falling out, yet allowing maximum ventilation to prevent its occupants from dying of heat stroke in the tropical Singapore heat. It was, like any other school as old as mine, originally designed to be a double-session school, with half of the school coming in the morning and going in the afternoon, while the other half came in afternoon after the first session and left in the evening. However, like other schools, my school decided to shift to a single session one, so as to make logistics and staff deployment easier. Something in my gut seemed to nag at me not to land there, like I was giving up my freedom of the skies I landed there.
Still, I forced myself to land in school, and I found myself rapidly approaching the school quadrangle. I checked my watch and found that it was still around 6.45am, which was still enough time for me to get into school before the morning rush.
Unfortunately, I didn't know how to land yet, and since it was the first time I was landing, I landed in the quadrangle, before one of my talons caught on a brick, landing me a free face-plant as I tripped forward. My mind uttered a string of curses that came out of my mouth as a few discontented growls and rumbles as I tried to stand up again.
It was only then that as I pulled myself up from the brick floor that I realised quite a few people were staring at me from the corridors by the side of the quadrangle, their faces an expression of curiosity, awe or outright disgust, since at that time I was one of the only few dragons around here. I couldn't blame them though, because even though the news about Ethan Compas coming out about being six months ago, I guess there were still very few dragons around in Singapore.
But still, I tried to ignore their looks as best I could as I tried to think of a place where I could stay put, away from as many people as possible. I could almost literally feel the stares of the students and staff members of the school as if they were trying to disintegrate me by staring at me, and it felt exactly like the time I accidentally tripped and fell in front of the entire school during a concert finale when I was performing with the choir, causing a brief moment of silence with everybody staring at me before they broke out into uproarious laughter. Yes, it felt exactly like that, save the laughter.
As briskly as I could, I found myself walking (yes, walking, not running) towards the council room, which was probably the only place I could be without regular students being able to get at me.
With record-breaking walking speeds, I managed to reach the Student Council room, before bolting in and slamming the door on the tip of my tail. Without thinking, I snarled in pain, pulling my tail out from the door. I found myself still giving the door a low growl as I unstrapped my bag from my chest, placing it on the rack next to the notice board.
I pulled my tie out of my bag and stuffed it in my pocket for later, before turning around to realize that I wasn't the only one in the room. Sitting right across the room on one of the meeting tables doing some last-minute work was Cheryl, one of the people I had befriended in my time as a student councilor. She was a short, slightly (and I mean very slightly) chubby girl with an extremely volatile temper, and a single wrong move could have you drinking your meals through a straw for the next few weeks. While I wasn't the kind who could set people off so easily, I still held my tongue a lot of times when I was around her, for fear of my own life.
'What the' and the F word were the only two things that managed to come out of her mouth coherently at that moment as she stared at me, jaw dropped.
"Mornin' Cheryl." I said, sounding as casual as I could manage.
"Yes?" I replied, cocking me head at an angle as I turned to look at her.
"Is that you?" she asked disbelievingly.
"Is that the first thing everyone's honestly going to ask me?" I said sarcastically, rolling my slit eyes in their sockets.
"Answer the question." she demanded, sounding unamused.
I unpinned my badge off and threw it at her, allowing her to catch it before she glanced at it.
"Are you pretty sure you didn't eat Ryan and steal this?" she said, raising an eyebrow.
"Oh har har." I shot back, snorting.
Cheryl almost literally threw my badge back at me, before resuming whatever she was doing. "...and I thought your little fetish for dragons was enough, but this is ridiculous."
"Hey, " I retorted, "I just happen to like dragons, okay? At least I don't imagine myself being one and raping someone else."
"But then again, you are one, so I don't happen to see how that's different..."
"Bastard child..." I muttered, growling, knowing I had lost the argument.
I promptly pulled myself a chair to sit on, before turning it around and leaning forward on the backrest, so as to not crush my new appendages if I happened to lean back.
"You're lucky I don't hit girls..." I said as I closed my eyes and rested my head on the table, hoping to get some rest.
"Yeah yeah..." she muttered, scribbling something onto whatever she was doing.
I held my eyes shut and tried to relax as I listened to the sound of Cheryl's pen methodically grinding on the paper, putting ink over its white canvas.
The peace didn't last very long in the room though, with someone bursting into the room shouting "Lesbian Goats, lesbian goats!" repeatedly, as a parody of something Farm-Fresh happened to mention in one of his stories. I growled, and the owner of the all-too-familiar voice stopped abruptly, before shouting 'What the' and the F word together.
"Shaddap and close the door lah!" Cheryl snapped, her ever-standard Singaporean accent and slang going into full play.
The door was heard being closed and locked, and I cracked my eye open to see Fuad staring at me, his bag dropped on the floor next to him and his mouth wide open.
Now, before I get on to the rest of the story, I should probably introduce Fuad. Fuad, like Cheryl, was also a year younger than me. However, unlike Cheryl, I met him when he was fresh out of the student council selection camp, and I was assigned to be his mentor because he was placed in the same committee as me.
Standing at a mere 4"11', Fuad was probably the shortest person I knew for his age, being even shorter than me when I was a human. He was a typical Malay guy with straight hair and a good sense of humor, and he was one of the only few I'd honestly call a friend. I'd introduced him to Farm's works some time back, and while he enjoyed reading his works too, he'd often make jokes about it.
"So, who joined the ranks of the lesbian goat writer?" he said jokingly, referencing the ever-famous Farm-Fresh.
"Ryan." Cheryl replied.
"Ask him." she said, before jabbing me with her pen.
"Yes, I AM Ryan." I said, sticking both my hands up.
"Damn," he said, looking me over, "how on Earth did you end up like... this!"
"You just gestured to all of me!" I replied, imitating Hiccup from How To Train Your Dragon.
"Exactly!" Fuad said, playing along, "Stop being all of you!"
At this, Fuad and I burst out into fits out laughter, before Cheryl threw a textbook at us, causing us to shut up.
"But seriously, how did you turn into one? I mean, I heard of dragons popping up here and there, but in Singapore? Where did you even find one of those?" he said, his voice changing to a more serious tone.
"Well..." I went on to tell Fuad about what happened to me, going on about everything I could remember, up to now. I mentioned the rock, the park, me going back via the old road, being hit by the car, my dad finding me, and the part about me being poisonous.
After a good 10 minutes or so, after I finished telling my story, I looked up, coming to the realization that there were quite a few people in the room now, all intently listening to me, giving me a solid look-over.
"When did all of you get in here?!" I said, totally surprised.
"Well Mr. Dragon," Fuad said, "while you were so engrossed telling your story, you've totally failed to notice everybody coming in. Well done."
And with that, Fuad started clapping. To rub it in, everyone else clapped as well, with some people cheering, as if to encourage my extreme lapse in awareness while I was telling my story.
I looked around and realized that at least half the council was in here with me, and with that, there was only one logical thing for me to do.