By Thomis Bride
Ding. The microwave sung its note and the lasagne was now warmer than room temperature. Warmer than the atmosphere of the breakroom at least. A seat near the window at the head of one of the tables was sufficiently far away from the rest of the department’s dullards for his liking. It was outside of the contagion zone of their insipid small talk, so it was there that the lasagne would meet its demise.
Planting himself in the chair with a creak, he surrendered a few tiresome blinks and took advantage of looking at something that wasn’t an LED screen. The clock’s hands pointed straight to heaven, the notice board stood flush with event notices, and every head in the room was hunched over the dim light of a smartphone. The heat of the microwave hadn’t completely softened the lasagne, it remained hardened by its reservation in the fridge the previous night, but it would still be no match for his plastic knife and fork.
His gaze wandered around the banality of the office until it stretched out through the window into the world beyond his white collar labour camp. It found its way onto the window sill, where a pigeon pecked through dirt, scraps and whatever else interested a pigeon. The pigeon appeared to be completely normal, it wore a sleek coat of grey feathers that converged into a smooth green at its head.
But then the pigeon appeared to be everything but completely normal.
It’s feather’s hardened into scales, pearling from the unremarkable grey into a striking turquoise. Its head slithered out from its shoulders, elongating and undulating like a snake, and sharpened into a snout. Where there were simple pigeon’s feet were now monstrous claws brandishing talons of jet-black. The window sill cracked under the weight of the former-pigeon, who had now grown larger than the building itself, completing its transformation into a fearsome dragon.
The dragon emptied its lungs with a stentorian roar, filling the air of the world around it with a most terrible sound. The force of the sound caused the land itself to ripple, trees became uprooted and skyscrapers collapsed as waves the size of houses rolled all the way through to the horizon. The distortion of the earth caused the ground to crack, ripping enormous fissures into the landscape that swallowed cars, buses and anything else that tried to escape. Tongues of fire lashed out from the fissures with blasts of magma as an encore, smothering the landscape with pure flame.
And then something else rose from the fissures. A gargantuan, muscled arm leathered by coarse, excrescency skin grasped for the sky before planting its fist into the ground, sending out a shockwave that cracked the cooled magma. The arm was one of four that belonged to a hideous demon, in size that matched the dragon, bearing an array of mismatched fangs scattered across both jaws, with four pairs of twisting and swirling horns sprouting from its skull that housed two burning eyes. The demon unfurled leathery wings spanning longer than freeways, and beat them in a ferocious rhythm to rise up to the dragon. More arms reached outward from the fissures, and soon dozens more demons rose to join their harbinger.
The dragon flew erratically to escape the flock of demons that pursued it, now hundreds strong, like a swarm of locusts. The sky was thick with the creatures, soon the world around the dragon became blotted with nothing but twisting horns and leathery skin. With no space to breathe, the mass of demons soon converged on the dragon.
But not before a beam of light pierced the sky.
A scintillating ray of sunshine cut through the heavens and smothered the dragon in pure brightness. The demons scattered, falling away like sand brushed off tarp. The beam of light dimmed slightly, and a figure descended from the cloud line. The figure took the form of a man, gleaming with flawless skin and curling blonde hair, brandishing enormous white, feathered wings from its back. More identical figures began to pour out of the beam of light, and soon their number matched the horde of demons.
The demons released a cacophony of terrible screams to rally themselves, and the angels sang in kind. Before the dragon could react, both throngs hurtled towards each other and all the eye could see was the great and terrible conflict between the two. Demon and angel began to fall from the sky as a result of the conflict, littering the broken world with their corpses. All the dragon could do was-
The chair creaked again, this time with a jolt of shock, and he saw the familiar white-collar figure of his manager.
“Break’s over. Back to work.”
The break room was vacated. All that remained of the lasagne was a few smears of bolognese. He looked to the window sill and saw a pigeon pecking through dirt, scraps and whatever else interested a pigeon. The clock’s longest hand pointed straight to hell. And that was where he returned to.