A dragon landed on her finger.
At first, it was just a disturbing weight on the forefinger of her left hand, which she shook without even looking up from the book she was reading. When, instead of disappearing, her discomfort morphed into the pain of a dozen tiny needles entering her flesh she looked down and almost jumped out of her skin.
“What?” She cried out, stunned.
The tiny little creature on her hand only stared back at her with unblinking golden eyes.
Curiously, she brought her finger up to her face and observed the tiny beast. It was about 4 inches tall, had dark scales streaked with red and powerful, albeit small, hind legs that ended with the sharp claws currently responsible for the tiny dots of blood now beading from her index. Its smaller forelegs rested near her nail.
As a whole, the creature definitely looked like what she would have imagined a dragon to look like, at least based the books that she read on the subject… The only tiny problem with this was that dragons didn’t exist in real life or else it would be a known fact. She must be dreaming.
Deftly moving her right hand, she pinched her left arm: it hurt.
“All right.” She said out loud to no one in particular. “One hell of a realistic dream it is.”
The little dragon, angling its head in curiosity at the sound of her voice, let out a small noise mid-way between hiss and groan.
“I know you’re not real. Leave!” She said, shaking her hand again with more force.
It only hanged on tighter, sinking its claws deeper in her skin with a scared cry.
“Ow!” She whimpered, stopping at once. “That hurts, you!”
The dragon let out another of its growls, a cloud of smoke rising from its nostrils.
“All right, all right. No need to get angry! I’m sorry, okay?” She hushed, felling totally stupid for apologizing to a creature that didn’t exist.
Seeming to understand what she was saying, the dragon finally relaxed its grasp then proceeded to clean the tiny welts of blood it had drawn from her with its warm tongue. She sighed.
“Don’t.” She tried. It ignored her completely. “Just do as you like, I guess.”
With the dragon’s attention focused on its task, she took the opportunity to think about what to do while observing it.
She just couldn’t fathom what was happening. This couldn’t be real. Maybe she had fallen and hit her head. Maybe she had had a stroke and was lying in a coma somewhere… Or she had been drugged. No. That couldn’t be since she hadn’t drunk or eaten since this morning and it was now well past lunch time. She must be simply going mad. That was it.
The dragon had long ago finished feasting on her blood and was now standing on the back of her hand, looking proudly at her for a job well done.
“Thanks. You did great.” She flatly praised before grabbing its long neck without warning and putting it down on the ground. She didn’t even turn around as she ran, as quickly as she could, back inside her house, slamming the glass door after her.
She was breathing hard but kept her eyes outside, hand trembling slightly on the door’s pommel as she listened to the tiny creature howls of outrage getting closer. It was crawling its way on unsteady legs towards the house, barely visible in the green grass from where she stood.
She felt a twinge of guilt in her heart but dismissed it, mentally admonishing herself.
“That thing isn’t real.” she repeated for what seemed the umpteenth time.
Her resolve steeled, she forced herself to turn away from the door and walk up the stairs, all the while ignoring the myriad of agonized little cries that were reaching her through the window.
Once securely in her room, she fell on the bed and closed her eyes, forcing her mind away from fantasies of a tiny scaled creature… and from guilt.
At dinner, that evening, her mum asked her about her day.
“It was okay. Spent the day reading.” She said, casually not mentioning any supernatural happenings.
When a bang of thunder echoing across her room caused her to jump awake, later that same night, she let her traitorous eyes stray to the window she had been very careful not to approach in any way all day long. Heart pounding, she watched as, seconds later, rain began pelting down against the shutters. She had never been fond of thunderstorms.
Lying back down, she pulled the covers high over her head, hoping to cut herself off from the howling of the wind… somehow, it felt scarier than usual.
It soon became clear that cutting the world out wouldn’t be possible: not only did she feel her heart racing but she found herself constantly thinking back to the creature that had landed on her finger mere hours ago. What if the tiny dragon was still outside? What if, between the rain and the wind, it was cold, scared… or worse?
She pushed her covers away and hastily made her way downstairs. Approaching the door slowly, she felt partially stupid and partially afraid of what she would find. She struggled with the latch, her fingers slipping but finally managing to pry the door open. Frigid air and rain entered the room, making her shiver as her eyes sought out what she was looking for.
“Oh god. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.” She gasped, kneeling on the floor.
The dragon had curled itself in the corner of the door ledge, as close as possible to the glass with its tail tucked tightly around itself. It was obviously miserable and shivering with the cold.
She carefully extended her hand, picked up the tiny creature and settled it on the crook of her elbow before closing the door. She brought it to the kitchen and rummaged through a cupboard to find a dry towel. The creature’s eyes were closed and she felt the tremors in its body as she quickly rubbed it all over.
“Please wake up. Please wake up.” She mutely chanted, tears welling in her eyes as she worked the fluffy cloth down its tiny belly, hoping the friction would help heat it up.
When, what seemed like an eternity after, the scaly eyelids fluttered open, the dragon let out a sickly croak before burrowing against her, golden irises darting around confusedly.
She let out a small snort, bending down to kiss her dragon’s spiky head. A happy growl escaped its jaws and she almost laughed, being reminded of an over-affectionate (albeit ugly) cat.
Walking back to her room, she settled it on her pillow.
“There. It’ll be fine now.” She said quietly. “I’m still not quite sure if I’m mad or not but I think… I think I’ll keep you anyway. That is if you’d have me, of course.”
Mum waking me up is going to be interesting was her last thought before she joined the tiny black and red dragon scaled pet in its sleep, one hand curled possessively around its side.