Today's prompt came from Twitter: "But it's only a story."
"The dragon roared and reared its ugly head. The prince jumped from the stone wall, stumbling on the rocky ground, just as the dragon's tail whipped against the tower behind him." Susan pointed out the crumbling tower on the page.
"Is the prince going to live, mommy?" Michael asked, looking up from the picture book.
"I don't know. What do you think?" Susan asked, holding the pages firmly between her fingers.
"The prince always wins. He's going to kill the stupid dragon and save the princess," Michael responded, nodding firmly.
Susan smiled and turned the page. "The prince's horse whinnied as he ran towards it, shying away as the dragon approached. Without pausing, the prince leapt onto his horse and galloped off, putting some distance between them and the dragon."
"Ugh, you're reading this story... again?" Melody asked from the door.
Susan looked up from the book. "It is your brother's favorite."
Melody pursed her lips. "But it's only a story. He knows it by heart now, and yet he keeps asking those same questions every time you read it."
Susan smiled and ruffled Michael's hair. "The story isn't about the beginning or ending. It's about the journey you take. And Michael has the imagination to fill in the blanks, to feel what the prince is feeling as he faces the dragon. Or to feel how angry the dragon is that the prince disturbed his sleep."
Michael nodded sagely as he pulled the book from Susan's grasp and began to turn the pages.
Melody rolled her eyes. "Whatever you say, Mom." She waved her hand and walked away, her nose pointed toward the ceiling.
Susan glanced at Michael and smiled. "She'll understand one day," she muttered as she brushed her finger over the page. The dragon's scales shimmered for a moment, and the page shook, as if the dragon was rumbling in appreciation of the touch.