Mini sat on her father’s shoulders holding her breath. Below her, the heads of the crowd pressed around them and she saw more children on adult shoulders who were pointing with chubby fingers down the street. She looked, but couldn’t see anything other than the red paper lanterns that were strung up between the streetlamps.
She sniffed and rubbed her nose, feeling the tail end of her cold getting her down again. Mini put her hands on top of father’s head and pressed her cheek on them. The voices and movements of those around her slipped into the background and her eyes began to close.
The pounding of drums jumped her awake and her eyes shot down the street. A path was being made and coming through were smiling people wearing red and yellow costumes. Above their heads, flags and banners waved in the breeze. Mini wiggled, leaning over to get a better look. Father’s voice told her to be still, she’d see soon enough.
The people walked past, waving to the crowd then the drummers came, rolling out the marching beat. She caught a glance of something big and golden bobbing in the sky. Her hands slipped back to around father’s chin and Mini lend over his head, desperate to see. The shape grew, becoming clearer and clearer till she could see the mighty head of the dragon. He was gold and fiery orange, with large white triangle teeth, a red mane and crest. She gasped and watched him swooping over peoples’ heads. She wanted to cover her eyes, but couldn’t move.
The crowd was going crazy and shouting so much at once. Most of the words were drowned out by the drummers. Hands clutching red squares reached for the sky and the dragon as he came closer, weaving from one side to the other. His tongue was flopping out and his black eyes seemed to searching for something to eat. Mini tightened her grip on father and got told off, but she couldn’t help it.
The dragon loomed over and she ducked, burying her head in father’s hair. He bounced her a little, telling her comforting things, but she couldn’t listen. She was sure the dragon had seen her and was preparing to eat her. She felt a strong wind sweep over her head and cried out. Mini risked a peek and saw that the huge dragon head had past her. Easing up, she watched the dragon’s body flying by, the gold and orange colours moving as if they had a life of their own.
She sighed and watched the spiky tail disappearing into the crowd. The dragon hadn’t been hungry for her after all. Mini patted her father’s head and told him, as he looked up at her, that the dragon was scary. He laughed and told her that’s how they were meant to be, but dragons had no interested in eating little girls. They enjoyed money and treasure far more.