“Will you invite me in?” I ask my small person.
He shakes his head and looks at the shabby house a few yards across the brown, front lawn. “I’ll get in trouble.”
“I already told you. No one will see me because I’m invisible.” I take a step toward him. He takes a step back.
“I can see you,” he says matter-of-factly.
“Well, yes. There’s that.” I suspected that convincing this tiny human would be difficult, but I didn’t realize it would be annoying. Still, nothing is impossible, and I have an idea. “Watch this!” I tell him.
I back away and put a toe onto the street. A car zooms by, and the boy calls out behind me. “You shouldn’t do that! You’ll get hurt!”
“Just watch!” I insist. I place another toe on the road and test it out. Concrete is a funny thing. I saw another new basilisk – I suppose you could call her my sister since we hatched on the same day – get stuck in concrete before. She didn’t have a tiny person yet to get her out, and now she’s stuck there forever. Seven dull stones sunk in the dreadful, hardened road with her.
But this concrete is already firm. I can walk on it, which is a relief. Otherwise, I’d be putting my boy in danger. That is, if he likes me enough to rescue me.
“Wait!” The boy says again.
I ignore him and scurry into the the middle of the road. The traffic light a dozen paces away from me turns green. At least fifteen cars begin to move.
They pick up speed.
I hear footsteps and twist to see my small boy run towards me. I puff out a few clouds of smoke and fire to stop him. If this is going to work, I must protect my boy too.
He jumps away from my fire and narrows his eyes. I purposely aimed it away from him, of course. I only wanted him to stay away from oncoming traffic.
And then the cars come.
“No!” The boy screams, but the vehicles zoom right through me. It’s a very strange feeling, like specks of starlight flying through my scales and my eyeballs and my belly. They make my cheeks warm and my limbs all buzzy. I flinch like they’re going to hit me, even though I know better.
If they can’t see me, they can’t touch me.
I grin triumphantly and check my tiny human if he’s still there. He is, and his mouth is wide open, like a cave mouth or a pond fish trying to eat. He can’t believe it.
Well, now he should, and maybe now he’ll believe me and let me be his friend.
The boy picks himself up off the crunchy grass, and though his mouth still hangs open, he appears more confident and a whole lot more curious.
I carefully step off the street and meet him on the crunchy grass. We eye each other like two cowboys in the Wild West.
The boy shoves my gem into his pants pocket and crosses his arms over his short chest. “Can I call you Pip? Is that an okay name?”
I nod. I like the sound of it.