By: Kathleen Locklear

He sat in his rocking chair, reciting the tale for the thousandth time to the gathering of children sitting at the rug by his feet, their eyes wide with awe as he described the dragon, scales glittering like gemstones shining in the light, its roar louder than a hundred planes and winds creating gusts of wind that could easily send the tiny children tumbling.

He retold the tale with excitement, arms flaring like the great wings he described, roaring with his old voice and making the children squeal and laugh at his antics. He told them of the dragon and the many cities it destroyed, the many knights it slew, and the great many lands it had conquered in its immortal life. He told them of the great knight that finally came along to slay the dragon, coming to end its endless reign and finally free the masses from its anguish and torment.

They watched in excitement, giggling and grinning, at the exciting tale as their parents gathered in the back, smiling sad smiles. They knew the truth, that this would be the last year he told the annual fairytale. The children didn’t need to know that, they were too young. For now, he focused on telling them the best dragon story he could, filled with treasures and fire and great battles, ignoring the nurse standing off to the side with a frown on her face, holding his paperwork in her hands. His time was coming, he knew this would be the last time he told the tale, so he made sure to tell it the best way he could, before the dragon he called cancer came to claim him. The knight couldn’t slay every dragon after all.

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