Friday Flash, courtesy of Changeling Press: *** You agreed to pet sit not realizing what kind of pet your friend has (hint — it’s not a typical pet). ***
I arrived at my pal David’s house with a box of dog biscuits and a laser light toy…certain I was prepared for everything. He’d been vague about the type of pet he wanted me to watch, so I’d come prepared for the usual types. I was actually looking forward to having a couple of days to myself in his new place, though I wondered at the location. David had recently returned from Ireland and promptly moved from his cozy loft to a drafty, concrete crib at the edge of town. I glanced around before knocking, taking in the broken glass along the front of the beaten down warehouse building and the colorful display of gang art over the chipped surface of the street-side wall.
Light flared behind the dirty glass of the nearest window. Something shot through a hole in the glass, leaving behind a fog of gray smoke.
“What the hell?” I started toward the window, intending to look inside.
The door opened and David stood there, a smile on his face and smoke wafting upward from his spiky blond hair. He took one look at the dog biscuits and laser toy and shook his head, handing me a fire extinguisher and a length of chain. “Don’t unlock the manacles and whatever you do, don’t let him see you naked.” David trotted down the steps, a wide grin on his face. “Have fun!” he called over his shoulder.
“Wait…” Stunned, I watched him climb into his car and screech away. With a deep sense of foreboding, I swallowed hard and pushed the door open. I stopped, my nerveless fingers releasing the extinguisher. It rolled out of view.
The creature standing twenty feet away from me, chained to the wall, stared at me through a hostile, turquoise gaze and flapped jagged silver wings. Ever so slowly, its naked humanoid body tightening with interest, the thing smiled, licking lush lips with a long, purple tongue. “Oh good, he gave you the chain.”
“Come on, sweet piece. Close the door and I’ll tell you my safe word,” it drawled.
I shoved the door closed and stepped back, keeping as much space between me and what looked like a cross between a man and a dragon as I could. “What the hell are you?”
The thing smiled, showing jagged teeth and two perfect dimples that made my knees wobble just a little.
“I’m your fondest dream…” Smoke wafted from the creature’s mouth as his features sharpened, darkening to purple. “And your worst nightmare.”
I thought about this for a moment and then grinned. That definitely sounded promising. “Oh. Okay,” I responded. Clutching the chain tightly in my fist, I started forward. “So, what’s your safe word?”
The creature’s dimples deepened with pleasure. “Crunchy.”
I stopped, frowning, and then shrieked as he shot fire in my direction.
Well…that certainly explained the fire extinguisher.