This evening I fought the thirteen fearsome dragons once again. All of them. I entered the circle to announce my presence and caught the little black one asleep. Jumping up onto his flat belly, I blared out my intentions to the others, who snorted and pawed at the edge of the ring:
"Alright. Here's the rules! I'll fight only one at a time. Line up, you scumbags. No fire breathing. No attacking from behind...absolutely no ganging up and no running away until it's all over and I've won. Because I WILL win, and you know it."
There were a dozen more of them, and I'd nothing to do but attack immediately.
The second beast I squeezed to death using just my mighty arms.
The third I easily swept out of the way with a series of vicious side kicks.
That fourth one was a little tricky, but intimidation won at last. With a fierce shake I pulled him toward me and thrust him away, rattling his head until he turned and collapsed in a pile of dragon scales on bone.
Ah, but the fifth one was uncommonly devious. Before I knew what I was about, she pinned my arms above me and I was left defending with only my feet. Kicking and kicking I strained the muscles of my calves against her leathery, relentless hide, until she released me at last and cowered back into her fetal position.
Not taking a moment to rest, I assailed the sixth with a series of upward thrusts to nail his jaw. Over and over I attacked until this treacherous reptilian foe squawked like a wet hen and crumpled to the floor.
Dragon number seven jumped onto my back and doubled me over. I think she thought she could snuffle me into the ground and smear my face on the mat...but no. I sat up...and sat up... and sat back up, until her claws released their grip and she stiffened with a sigh.
I ran for number eight, even as she whirled around behind me. Grabbing her arms I forced them forward, twisting and ripping relentlessly. She was no match for me.
The ninth dragon was an old fellow and much taller than I. He positioned his nasty, scratchy paws on my shoulders and heavy was the weight I felt as he forced my knees to bend.
"No. You shall not conquer!" and I struggled to my feet again and again with iron resolve.
At last he too was forced to quit the battle and I moved to the tenth and final enemy in the circle. Like Moses fighting the Amelek, I flung my arms into the air. Now I was winning. Now the dragon. Back hands to the sky! I was winning. Then the dragon. Then I. It took twenty times, and the last two or three my arms were shaking, trembling with fatigue and pain as again and again I held them high.
The sighing and creaking stopped. So silent they sat. Steel and not so formidable after all. I determined to chase them home. "
Run. Run. You sadistic creatures! I've bested the worst o' ye, I have!"
Alas! It wasn't over yet. Dragon number eleven came charging from the back room and took off running; I gave chase, running on a road that never led to anything, trying my best to catch up to him, but never gaining, never losing. There. With a last feeble peep, he stopped; but scaly beast Twelve took off on skies, and I slogged behind until he, too, fell still and smoldering.
Leviathan Thirteen took a bicycle; I grabbed mine. I pedaled. Again the feeling of inevitable defeat, as the road beneath was the same...same...same...same...
Then I knew...I could not kill them. Tomorrow they would be here again, in their circle of challenge, frothing angry and stronger.
Oh but I will be stronger too.
We meet tomorrow.
The fearsome dragons and I.