Garth Nix is well-known as a prolific writer of young adult fantasy novels, his Old Kingdom and Keys to the Kingdom series in particular. It’s always nice when he finds time for shorter works.
“What’s this about, Hansen?” growled the mayor.
“The Oldgate building fire,” replied the chief. He pointed at the small shed over on the corner of the roof. It had chicken wire walls and a corrugated iron roof, and pigeons were roosting on top of it. “Let’s go over there.”
“What’s the Oldgate fire got to do with a pigeon house?” asked the mayor suspiciously.
“Nothing directly,” said the chief. He led the way, shooing some pigeons off so he could open the door. “But there is something you need to know about the fire.”
“Listen, your people said it was some kind of one-in-a-thousand gas main explosion. We told the media it was a gas explosion! Why do you need to drag me up to a pigeon house to tell me anything different?”
“I wanted to show you something,” said the chief. “Which happens to be here, with the pigeons.”
He brushed the straw from the floor to reveal a trapdoor fastened with a big brass padlock. He opened this with a key he wore on a chain around his neck. The key was iron, big and old, and the mayor thought it must be damned uncomfortable to have it hanging around your neck. He began to wonder about the sanity of his fire chief.
Then the chief opened the trapdoor, and the mayor began to wonder about his own sanity. Under the trapdoor was a cavity, and curled up on a bed of gold twenty-dollar pieces, there was a small dragon.