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On the Disappearance of Dragons

Mary Soon Lee was born and raised in London, but has lived in Pittsburgh for over twenty years. Her two latest books are from opposite ends of the poetry spectrum: Elemental Haiku, containing haiku for each element of the periodic table, and The Sign of the Dragon, an Elgin-Award-winning epic fantasy with Chinese elements. She tweets at @MarySoonLee and reports that her antiquated website (marysoonlee.com) has finally been updated.

There are numerous conflicting theories concerning the disappearance of dragons. These range from the drab (dragons never existed in the first place), to the staggeringly improbable (they constructed a time machine), to the romantic (the many variant explanations that dragons are among us still). I propose a new theory.
Let us firstly consider the mythology of dragons. Chinese dragons are usually depicted as wingless. Those from Europe possess wings, but are aerodynamically ill-equipped for flight. Nonetheless, both traditions insist that dragons can fly. If we rule out magic, we are drawn toward a technological cause.
Let us secondly consider the Fermi paradox, i.e. the puzzling absence of extraterrestrials. Current estimates for the Drake equation suggest that the galaxy should abound with intelligent alien life. Why, then, have we seen no sign of this?
Let us thirdly consider wormholes, structures linking two disparate locations in spacetime. Following the successful 2015 construction of a magnetic wormhole, researchers have recently used quantum entanglement to transport qubits between quantum circuits, a feat related to transport between wormhole-linked black holes.
Is it not then possible to resolve two mysteries at one stroke? Might not dragons have been extraterrestrials, present among us but their high technology misinterpreted? And then, when conditions here turned less congenial or when their research on humans was complete, might not these visitors have constructed a wormhole to return them to their home?
For sometimes the staggeringly improbable proves accurate. Wormholes can connect not just space but also time. The very moment that I saved the file containing my initial thoughts on this matter, a golden wingless dragon appeared in my office, having traveled from the future to congratulate me.
I leave as evidence this selfie of myself and the dragon. My new friend has invited me for a bowl of tea, and I suspect I may stay a while.
The End
This story was first published on Thursday, April 28th, 2022


Author Comments

This is a very short story, just over 300 words, but is still three times longer than I'd hoped! I set out by trying to write a drabble, a story exactly 100 words long, but failed spectacularly. As for the story's subject, I am drawn to both dragons and aliens, so it pleased me to bring them together.

- Mary Soon Lee
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