#3. There Be Monsters

“Trevor, what’s going on out here?” A sad-looking woman with red, stringy hair strides to my tiny human and glances from his grubby face to the street and back. “Were you…?”

I notice that this woman has a shaky voice. She gingerly places a hand on his shoulder.

She is this boy’s mother, I realize. And she’s scared.

Does she see me?

I look down at my scaly green hands and at my sweater that the other Basilisks tell me used to belong to an old man who had once been a small boy. I kick out my bare feet, only slightly pointy-toed because I trimmed them this morning.

I wanted to look my best when I met my tiny human.

“I got the mail.” The boy – Trevor – hands the woman some envelopes that had fallen when he picked up my gem earlier.

Lines crinkles between her eyebrows, and I think that maybe she doesn’t believe him.

“Come inside,” she says finally, clutching the wet letters. “It’s damp out. You’ll catch a cold.”

The boy hesitates. “Please, I’d like to check on my fort first,” he says politely.

The woman glances nervously at the driveway. “That’s fine, sweetheart, but only five minutes. I made soup.”

“Thank you.”

When the woman leaves, the boy faces me. “That’s my mom. She thought I’d run away.” He turns and begins to walk to the back of the house where a tiny, wooden shack big enough to fit two, maybe three, of my tiny human waits under a soggy maple tree.

“Why would she think that?” I ask. “Please tell me,” I add as politely as I can. I want to make sure this human knows I’m as good as he is.

His hunched shoulders give a slight shrug, and I decide not to press the issue. “So… Trevor?” I say instead.

“Only mom calls me that. And grandpa… before.”

At first I think he is sad because of how his voice shifted when he said ‘grandpa’, but he maintains a steady gaze on me, like he’s simply stating a fact.

“You can call me Tee.”

“Tee,” I say, testing it out. “Very nice to meet you, Tee. Thank you for taking me in.”

“You’re welcome, Pip. Although I suppose I didn’t have a choice, huh?”

“You would have exploded!” I cry.

“Well, good thing I didn’t.” He curls his fingers in an inviting manner to the entrance of his fort. “I hope you find your new home comfortable.”

I take no step further, place my fists on the sides of my bulbous belly, and shake my head. “I’m not a canine!” I take a deep breath. I must have patience with this tiny human. “I’m supposed to be in there with you!” I point my chin at his house.

“You can’t,” he answers calmly.

“Why not?”

“Because there are monsters in there, and I can’t have you hurt. I’m responsible for you now.” He puffs out his chest a little as if he’s about to breath fire.

I am shocked by his words. I’m not the only one of my realm this boy has seen? No wonder he didn’t seem surprised to see me. He’s been around monsters.

No matter.

“I think you’ll discover that I’m very resourceful when it comes to monsters,” I state, then snort so that a puff of smoke escapes my nostrils. “I can remove them for you, if you’d like.”

Tee shakes his head… savagely might I add. “No, you can’t,” he says, oddly panicked.

“But, they’re hurting you,” I argue. “Am I right?”

His hair swishes back and forth again. “They’re not. They were told not to.”

“By who?” Maybe the Basilisk council sent some of our sentinels in to secure the house.

“By my mom,” he answers, once again matter-of-factly. “They belong to her.”