I watch the little boy with thick glasses and chunky sweater check traffic both ways before opening up his mailbox. He looks nervous, but I doubt it’s for the reason he should be.
I’ve placed one of my black gems inside the mailbox, you see. One of seven. A one in seven chance of not getting absorbed into his nubby fingers too soon and exploding inside the poor kid and shattering his glasses. My wince is premature. Two explosions have already made the news.
The mailbox is nothing special. A random metal container that had the misfortune of hitting our B-Lottery. B as in Basilisk, that is. Or B as in baby, whichever way you want to look at it.
Either way, I am both, and I need this boy to not explode.
Basilisks are notorious for ending a life with a glance. We’ve found a way around that, though. I’ll get into it later.
Basilisks also age differently in their minds. I only just hatched a week ago, just enough time to learn that I don’t have parents, only that I’ve been left with seven gems to determine my fate and my family.
I wouldn’t mind living with this small person. He looks lonely and cold. And it’s starting to rain, the frigid kind that gets under your skin. I don’t have to worry about that since I have scales, but I can breathe a little fire now. I can help if he gets cold.
I wonder if his house has a usable fireplace.
Knock it off, I chide myself. That black gem could go off at any second, and my poor little boy would be blown to bits, just like the others.
By no means am I okay with this custom. Why be born if potentially six others will die as a result? And it’s not like I can live with other basilisks, not even the grown ones who’ve outlived their charges and oversee the hatchlings. We’d annoy each other to no end. More on that later too.
I quite admire the human babies. They get parents and care and what this boy would call love. I think.
A basilisk mind absorbs a lot of information in their first days of existence. So I know about love even if I don’t have it.
Oh, there he goes! He reaches for my gem. I think my breath is caught in my throat. He pulls back from the mailbox with a small fist wrapped around my gem. Oh! The boy’s eyes widen like saucers as his fingers uncurl.
Immediately, I scurry towards him, using everything I’ve got in my four, stubby legs. “Hold it out!” I shout.
The boy almost drops my gem. He hiccups as I approach.
“Toss it!” I add.
Whether surprise or fear triggers his reaction, he does what I say.
I take a deep breath and fire shoots from my mouth. The gem is covered in crimson and gold flame.
The boy trembles, and his gaze shifts back and forth from me to the fireball that is now suspended between us.
“It’s not hot. You can take it,” I say quietly.
The boy holds out his hands and cups my now glowing gem.
“You can name me now,” I continue. This is awkward.
“Huh?” is all that he says. His voice is tiny and low for his young age. Seven, maybe? Eight?
“Me. I’m going to live with you now.”
“I can’t keep pets,” he states. He’s stopped trembling and watches me curiously. Good. That’s good.
“Oh, well, it’s a good thing I am invisible,” I assure him.
I hope you enjoyed the first of (I hope) many short adventures about a very concerned imaginary basilisk.