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There's nothing Kenneth Vogel hates more than Christmas. Then he meets a dragon. Suddenly, Christmas doesn't seem so bad . . .
For ages 8+
“This is a short, sweet story about two children from different worlds. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the characters develop and will be looking for more from this author.” –Amazon reader
“A fairy tale set in modern times, The Ice Dragon is a beautiful story for adults and children... and is perfect for holiday or bedtime reading.” –Goodreads reader
“This is definitely a story to read to your children on Christmas Eve, not just this year, but the next and the next.” –Goodreads reader
Gracie led him over to the tree, where one package remained, wrapped in silver wrapping paper with a blue ribbon.
Gracie picked it up and handed it to him. “Here,” she said. “This is for you.”
Somewhat awkwardly, he opened it. Inside was a solid gold ornament of a swan. Inscribed on the back was, Merry Christmas from the Calls.
"Look,” Gracie said, taking the swan from him and looping it on the blue ribbon from his present. “You can wear it like this. And look—”
She took his hand and led him through the dining area. She went up to the table where her father was sitting and removed two of the holly wreaths from the centerpieces. Then she led him through the dining area, off to the side of the lobby, through a pair of glass doors.
They stepped outside into a kind of little flagstone courtyard, enclosed by a wrought-iron rail. It was very quiet. They couldn’t even hear the band playing inside. In the spring, it must have made a pretty little garden, though at the moment, there were just little evergreens in the stone pots, trimmed with ribbons. It was very cold. The black wrought-iron was icy, its pointed spokes encased in a thick, crystal layer. But Gracie didn’t seem to mind the cold, so he didn’t either.
They walked over and stood beside the rail. “This is my favorite place,” Gracie said. She took one of the holly wreaths and put it on his head. “I crown you the Christmas King,” she said. Then she put a wreath on her own head. “And I’ll be the Christmas Queen.”
At that moment, a light snow began to fall. Both children looked up, Kenneth astonished, and Gracie pleased. As they looked, both of their hands touched the rail.
Suddenly, the railing moved. They jumped back as it rose and curved up, the spokes forming the ridges on a lizard-like back. Clawed feet appeared, a pair of bat-like wings, and finally, a head. It turned towards them, blinking, its nostrils quivering.
The mouth opened, revealing a slithery black tongue. Fire shot out.
It was not a very big dragon, only a little bigger than a cat, so there was not a lot of fire, but all the same, Gracie screamed, and she and Kenneth jumped back.
The fire melted the dragon’s wrought-iron center so it flowed like molten black blood, flooding the icy body with darkness. The black solidified into hard, rubbery scales, the ice melting into a mottled blue and white pattern over the black.
It stood for a moment, still balanced on the wrought-iron poles that made up the gate, and then the dragon lifted one great forepaw, then a rear paw, flexing, seeming to test its new body. Then it yawned, stretching like a cat, its rear arching into the air, claws splayed.
At last, it sat up on its forepaws and turned to Kenneth and Gracie, blinking its great black eyes. It flicked its black tongue, and lashed its long, blue-white tail, which had one great black spike on the end of it.
“Thank you, children,” the dragon whispered in a low, purring voice. “I’ve been asleep ever so long, and now, I would like nothing more . . . than a snack.”
With that, it leapt off the gate, spreading its webby black wings, and launched itself straight at them.
Both Kenneth and Gracie yelled this time, and leapt out of the way. But the dragon was not after them.
With a snort of its great nostrils, steam shot out and gusted the glass doors open. The dragon flew inside the shopping center.
Kenneth and Gracie stared after it for a moment, utterly aghast. Then ran in after it.