This is the third chapter of a 9-chapter novella by teenager Arden Calhoun. We’ll publish more installments of this story in weeks to come.
 Read the first chapter here. And the second chapter here.


Lauren, Lizzie, and Mr. Ron walked down the hall in a formation around Johanna. We must look pretty funny, thought Johanna, and her suspicions were confirmed when Mr. Johnson, the superintendent, walked past them. Everyone instinctively moved in closer together, and Mr. Johnson commented.

“Wow,” he said, seeing them, “I didn’t realize you were all such good friends. Even you, Ron! I’ll see you later at the teachers meeting.” Mr. Ron managed a chuckle as Mr. Johnson laughed, and they all smiled tightly towards him, then kept moving in different directions. They all breathed in the fresh air when they made it outside and over to the woods next to the building without any attention. 

“That was close,” Lauren said. 

“But we made it!” replied Lizzie. They kept walking out into the woods to get one space. Once they were out of eyesight and earshot, Johanna removed the cloak. It was warm out, and she didn’t want to have it on unless she needed to. 

Mr. Ron had only seen Johanna as a human with wings and there was no one else around. His curiosity got the better of him, and he asked, “Can I see you as a dragon? I’m so intrigued about what they are and what they look like. I’ve never actually met one in real life before!”

“Well, okay. We have some space—I guess it wouldn’t hurt. Besides, I need to practice dragoning anyways,” Johanna replied. So she closed her eyes, and tried to imagine herself as the dragon she had been before. Then it started. Like last time, it was one feature at a time, but this time it went faster, smoother, and didn’t hurt. In fact, it felt kind of good. Scales started to appear. Johanna’s muscles swelled as dragon legs developed. Claws and dragon feet grew in place of her human hands and feet. Spine triangles rose up along her back. Lastly, her tail stretched out to its full length. The wings were already there. Ron stood there speechless. 

“I guess I might as well test these wings, right?” Johanna said to the group. 

“Yes!” said Lauren. 

“Absolutely!” replied Lizzie. Mr. Ron merely nodded, still in shock.

So Johanna lifted her wings, and beat them down, up and down, up and down, until she was up in the air. Then she worked out how to move forward and turn, and she made a few loops around her friend before landing and turning back into a human in a puff of smoke.

“Whoa! That was so cool!” Mr. Ron cried. He had recovered by this point.

Then Johanna figured she might as well try flying with just the wings in her human form. She flapped her wings, and up she flew! She went high, above the trees, did a few flips, and then came back down. Flying is so much fun! thought Johanna, I’m going to have to do more of this!

“What now, though?” Johanna asked, “I’ll need to go back at some point, but I also don’t want to be our next biology lab science experiment.”

“That leaves you with quite a dilemma,” agreed Mr. Ron, stroking his chin in thought.

“If we stay out here too long, people will come looking for us. I think the cloak will work for now, and we should go back before more suspicions arise,” said Lizzie

“I know, but you can see a little bump under the cloak. She can’t hide those wings forever,” argued Lauren. “You’re both right,” said Johanna, and they both looked at her, “I can’t hide these wings forever, but I can come up with enough excuses to keep it a secret until we figure out a more long-term solution. But we have to stick together, no matter what, or this won’t work out.”

“And who knows? We might all be dreaming this, and we’ll wake up without any wings to worry about!” put in Mr. Ron. Johanna put her cloak back on, settling the matter, and both her friends and teacher looked at her in admiration. She felt so lucky to have at least a few people at this boarding school that she could trust. The friends linked arms and walked back towards the main campus.

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