The Lost Dragon
“Kyle, take your hand out of the lion’s mouth!” I yelled.
With his hand inside a stone lion’s mouth, my best friend scrunched up his freckled face and asked, “Why, Hailey?”
“Because it’s my turn.”
Grandpa Wong and I used to visit the China Gate lions every month. We’d visit a dim sum restaurant where I ordered my favourite dish—shrimp dumplings. He always ordered something we had never tasted before.
When I whined about the strange dish, he said, “Don’t be afraid of a new thing. It might be the start of your next adventure.”
After lunch, we walked to the China Gate. Red pillars supported the upturned golden roof that stretched over the street. Chinese lion statues perched on pedestals at the foot of the gate. Mounted on the archway, two Chinese dragon statues looked like rolling ocean waves meeting in the middle. The wingless creatures watched over the street like guardians.
The closest I ever came to the dragons was when my grandfather lifted me onto the lion pedestal. He said if I rubbed the stone ball in its mouth, the lion might grant me a wish. I always wanted the same thing: another visit with Grandpa Wong. The last time I made my wish, it didn’t come true. He died a week later. A windstorm blew off one of the dragon statues and destroyed it around the same time. I felt like the remaining dragon—alone.
“Why did we have to come here today, Hailey?”
“Tomorrow, the city is tearing this down so they can dig a tunnel for the subway.”
“What are they going to do with it?” Kyle scratched his mop of curly red hair.
“My dad told me the Gate’s going into storage.”
“That’s too bad. How am I going to get my wish?”
I grinned at my best friend. “You want the same thing all the time.” I fished out a baggie full of chewy worms from my backpack. Kyle licked his lips.
“My wish came true!”
“You’re so predictable.” I tossed the baggie at him.
He plucked a rubbery treat out of the clear plastic while I climbed onto the pedestal and rubbed the stone ball. I gazed up. The last dragon was my favourite part of the China Gate. I had never expected it or Grandpa to leave.
“I wish there was a way to save you,” I whispered.
A rumble of thunder. Rain splattered on the sidewalk around me. The sky was clear. Not a cloud in sight.
Kyle backed away, pointing up. What was he staring at?
I jumped off the pedestal and backed away. My mouth dropped open. The stone statue was now a brilliant shade of jade. The spiky spines on its back jutted up like a row of shark fins. It shook itself like a wet dog, shedding water everywhere. The dragon was alive!