The sign clearly said “Warning, here be monsters” but no-one took any notice of things like this anymore. It was an old legend that the city centre park had been abandoned due to otherworldly creatures. Yet she had never been down in the park since she had been taken by her parents before the event. Today, the world had got to her and she found herself going down the granite steps to the gates. The sign still hung there proudly, lashed and tethered to the iron railings by enough metal to ensure it never moved. She paused and thought about turning back but it was so bad up there that she pushed the gate as far open as the chains would allow and slipped through into the overgrown grass and trees.
The streets had become full of the latest fashion trends as advertised on the Television. A floppy haired teenage boy and a wide eyed, open lipped teenage girl standing pointing at whatever was being sold and saying “This is good, you buy now” over and over as if it was some sort of mantra. The amount of people who followed that advice without question just got larger as more people gave up and became one of the collective. She had never been like that and hoped she never would. Television had gone from an information medium, to an entertainment medium and had finally settled into a selling medium. Every programme was sponsored by some mega company, every tv star was a spokesperson for a brand. Nothing was allowed to dilute that focus and she had grown tired of it all a long time ago. Friends had drifted away when she had chosen not to wear a T-shirt with the design “I am different”. They did not see the irony in masses of people wearing the exact same item. like an army of cloned consumers waiting to be told what to buy next.
Maybe that was why she found herself reading more? Books were being phased out as no longer cool. “Who needs to read, Everyone should just party” had been a hit in the early summer of last year and suddenly libraries were being closed down in cost cutting measures. A sub culture of paper junkies had sprung up and that had fed her addiction. The world was easier to cope with when you had a good book waiting at home for you.
Today had been so bad that the thought of walking along the main streets home was just too much for her to bear. So she had slipped down the granite stairs and left the hustle and bustle of the city above her. The park was just as she had been told. Overgrown with small, human made paths winding through it. It was said that people had lived her once, before the corporations had decided if they could not build on it, no-one should have access. public outcry was huge but you would not have known this if you had listened to the media. Any reports they did run was about how the public were in favour of the closure of the park. That was not how she had remembered it but that did not seem to matter anymore. The world moved on to the next shiny thing and the park was left to become a ghost land.
The monsters sign was placed there by a resident of the nearby multi storey flats. He had apparently heard a roaring one dark, moonless night and had seen several shapes moving through the grass. No-one believed him but no-one removed the sign either.
The sun was shining down on her as she made her way to the other sides exit. It was calm and peaceful down here. If she had not been alone, she would have liked to stop and enjoy the silence.
A roar came from her left. A guttural, animalistic sound that was like nothing she had ever heard before. Stopping in her tracks and trying to stay as silent as possible, she listened and could swear she heard something moving through the grass towards her. Breaking into a run, she dared not look back. The roars came again and they sounded closer. A lot closer. At one point she thought she could see the gate just in front of her but it dissapeared just as quickly. Dejected, she stumbled into a small clearing and there she saw a creature that could only be described as a small dragon. Its majestic wings unfurled slowly as it spotted her and it opened its mouth, flames burning inside its throat.
This was it, she thought, I am going to die.
The next few seconds were a blur and when she thought back later the only things she could honestly say she saw happen was a flash of yellow and gold, a high pitched animal cry and a slashing sound coming from where the monster was standing. A spinning red and white Sphere whizzed past her head and before she had taken in what she had seen, the dragon was gone. A man walked past her and into the clearing to retrieve the sphere. Turning he looked straight at her, touched the brim of his baseball cap and smiled.
Then he was gone.
She ran the rest of the way to the exit, slipped through a smaller gap than before in the gate and ran all the way home.
The next day she returned and painted on the sign, so it now read
“Warning, here be monsters and the man who hunts them”