Mixing it up this week with an appearance for #shortstorysunday. Here’s a short piece from my “stash”. I hope you enjoy!
“Can we talk about this for two seconds?” My voice came out high-pitched and shrill, but for the moment, I didn’t care. Finding a deformed alligator in your bathtub can do that to you.
Derrick stuck his head back into the bathroom. “Well, certainly.” I opened my mouth, but he interrupted before any sound came out. “Just as soon as I get some information myself.”
My voice rose another octave as I followed him back into the upstairs hallway, slamming the door on that thing. I took a deep breath before repeating my question in what I hoped was a more reasonable manner. “They why is it here?”
“That’s what I was trying to figure out. From what I can tell, this variety shouldn’t be found this far north.” Wrinkling his forehead, he stared at the page of the thick book, usually found on our coffee table in the living room.
“So why did you bring it here?” I mean, you could have brought it to the zoo because you, like, work there.”
“They wouldn’t understand.” His voice distant, absorbed. I wouldn’t get any decent answers until he’d taken his head out of the book and screwed it back on right.
I waited, fighting the urge to tap my foot. The brown carpeting in the hallway wouldn’t have provided the satisfaction anyway.
Minutes ticked by. I wondered whether I should peek in to see if the bathroom was being destroyed, but I was afraid it would run out between my legs, and my husband would be too busy reading to notice the escape.
I had about worked up the courage to open the door anyway when Derrick slammed the book shut, making me jump. He must have startled the animal behind the door, too, because I heard something crash against the linoleum.
Throwing the door open, I looked around. The vase of wildflowers was no longer on the windowsill, glass shards everywhere that toiletries weren’t. My orange tube of mascara had rolled right up to the door stop, while the tube of toothpaste had been squashed so hard the screw on cap was next to it, filled with minty green paste as more oozed out around it.
The reptilian creature was watching me, eyes extremely bright and observant. It stood on two hind legs now, and I realized how it’s shorter front legs with longer claws meant upright was its natural stance. Not at all like an alligator.
One front paw was pulled close to its body, and I noticed a smear of blue iridescence against the green scales. I also realized it was letting out a high pitched keening that seemed to reverberate in my head instead of filling my ears.
Derrick knelt down, and shuffled past me, cooing gently. The creature tilted its head, moved a few steps closer. The keening became less urgent, whimpers of pain without the fear.
Until Derrick actually touched the paw. The squawk that followed would have been loud enough to make both our eardrums bleed if it was true sound. I covered my ears anyway. Derrick inched closer as the creature backed away, silent now, gaze intent on Derrick’s progress.
A few more steps. Shoo. The animal snorted, mocking Derrick’s attempt to sneak up on it. I gasped as the roll of toilet paper erupted into flames. I hadn’t even seen the sparks.
The fire burned itself out in a matter of seconds, finding nothing to feed it once the inner tube had turned to ashes.
My shocked gaze turned from the last smoldering embers to the thing that had started the fire. I hoped I only imagined the smugness I saw in the sharp purple eyes that looked back at me.
Derrick jumped up, letting out a yelp of joy that caused me and the creature to jump.
He picked me up, spun me around. “It’s a dragon, Theresa. I knew it!” I laughed, shock forcing itself out in a massive wave of release.
The creature, no dragon, watched us with an air of superiority. I’m pretty sure it would have had its arms crossed if it hadn’t been cradling the glass pierced paw to its chest.
“Took you long enough.”
The though was crystal clear in my head, a crisp voice I knew was not my own.
My laughter died in my throat.
“What have we gotten ourselves into?”