That’s it. That’s the story.
She was six years old with hair the color of a summer sunset over Lake Erie the first time you saw her. She grabbed your hand and pulled you into a new world called Emriolan. She was not a princess but a knight; you were not a dragon to be slain but a dragon to be flown, to be pointed in the direction of enemy armies, to be the protector of the kingdom of her freckled body.
The two of you roved the countryside rescuing damsels and razing tyrants for many years, until she grew too old for Emriolan. Too old for adventures. Too old for a terminally uncool baby like you.
You are twenty-nine when you receive an invitation to her Facebook memorial page. You imagine her crossing the border into Emriolan, where she can blaze, magnificent, forever. You spend a week scribbling in a notebook all the things you and she did there. When that’s full, you pull another from the shelf and begin to write.
Sir Emily of Clan Dervishon was hiding a dragon egg.
You save her, over and over again.
Jasmine Sawers is a Kundiman fellow and graduate of Indiana University’s MFA program whose fiction appears in such journals as AAWW’s The Margins, Foglifter, SmokeLong Quarterly, and more. Their work has won the Ploughshares Emerging Writers’ Contest and the NANO Prize, and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, and Best Small Fictions. Their debut collection, The Anchored World, is forthcoming through Rose Metal Press in fall of 2022. They serve as an associate fiction editor for Fairy Tale Review. Originally from Buffalo, Sawers now lives outside St. Louis. Learn more at jasminesawers.com and @sawers on Twitter.