“The Very Impressive Amulet of Great Significance,” by Stephanie Kraner

Jan 20th, 2009 | By | Category: Prose

Two mighty opponents glared at each other on the field of battle. One of them had a stomachache.

“I don’t care if the stars realigned themselves to spell out her name,” the dragon roared, wishing he hadn’t eaten the other traveler he’d come across that morning. “I saw her

“My uncle’s pumpkin patch you saw her first, dragon,” the wizard shouted back. “This girl has been chosen! If you steal her away to fawn over your ill-gotten treasure, the world will come to grave peril the likes of which your puny brain can’t comprehend.”

Though the wizard knew that the dragon’s brain was actually twice, maybe even three times as large as his own, that didn’t stop him from crossing his arms and fixing the beast with his most intimidating stare.

Between the two foes, the princess regretted her decision to run away this morning. “What do you mean I’ve been chosen?”

“Quiet, girl,” the wizard snapped.

“Wait a second,” the dragon said. “If we’re in such great danger as you claim, I’d like to hear more about it.”

“Don’t dare question my honesty, dragon. This girl is the only person alive who can rescue the Very Impressive Amulet of Great Significance and save us all from its terrible power.”

“And did the stars tell you how she’s to find it?” The dragon raised it scaly, ridged eyebrows. “It’s possible that she’ll find it in my hoard one day while she’s polishing.”

“Balderdash,” the wizard spat. “She’ll have to go on a long and dangerous quest, of course.”

“I don’t know that I like the sound of that…” the princess mumbled.

“I’ll save you, fair lady!”

The three of them turned their heads to see a lone knight charging headlong at the dragon and brandishing his sword. All eyes were on the blade as it cut a deathly arc toward the dragon’s midsection. The princess stifled a scream; the wizard held his breath; the knight gritted his teeth; the dragon still wished he hadn’t eaten the other traveler.

When the sword connected against the dragon’s hard scales, a loud clang echoed off the distant hills. The knight’s armor started to rattle from the reverberations, and before anyone could react, a mighty burp erupted from the dragon’s throat, killing the other three the instant they breathed a whiff of the poisonous fumes.

Meanwhile, inside the dragon’s stomach, an amulet worn around the traveler’s digesting neck reacted to the force of the belch. The dragon’s massive body exploded in a shower of thick, red blood as the Very Impressive Amulet of Great Significance released its power, and everyone suddenly forgot where they’d placed their right shoe.

From that point on, up until the very unraveling of time itself, human beings walked around with only one shoe on, always muttering about how cold or hard or ticklish the ground felt against the exposed sole of their right foot.


Stephanie Kraner likes shiny objects and furry critters, and she firmly believes that there’s absolutely no reason for anything to have more than four legs.  When she’s not distracted by something shiny, furry, or multi-legged, she’s reading and editing submissions for The Oddville Press.  Occasionally she finds time for her own fiction, which has appeared or will appear in Anotherealm, flashquake, The Battered Suitcase, Fissure, and Static Movement.  She also may or may not have eleven toes.

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