by Esther Davis
“I don’t think it’s a frog egg.” Dain raised the glass to eye level and turned it slowly. “You could’ve at least given him a bigger container.”
“The egg was smaller, I swear! By, like, a lot.” I didn’t like how Dain only clamped the glass’s rim from above. After three nights in the cupboard, the growing egg had pushed nearly all the water out. Some of the moisture still lingered on the side. What if the glass was too slick and my not-really-a-tadpole slipped from Dain’s fingertips? I resisted the urge to snatch the glass and cradle it against my chest.
The once penny-sized bubble now pressed against the glass walls. The confinement had warped the egg sac, making it more cylindrical than spherical. In the orange liquid floated not the pet tadpole I’d expected, but a dragon fetus.
Dain laughed when I called it a dragon, but what else could it be? A pink lizard-like creature that even Google, with all its technological prowess, couldn’t identify. It had fangs, talons, horns…and I could swear the nubs on its shoulder blades were wings.
Just some lizard, he’d said.
Whatever, I’d thought.
“What you plan on doing with it?” Dain asked. “Putting it the bathtub until it matures and telling the neighbors it’s a dog?”
Before I could respond with my Well, yes, actually, the glass shattered.
Dain shrieked and leapt away. I dove to catch my baby dragon, but too late. The egg sac burst as it and a million glass shards hit the kitchen tile.
It laid limply on the floor. My baby dragon, dead? Already?
But then its leg twitched. It rolled to its stomach. A squeak escaped its pointy teeth.
The dragon hatchling stumbled upright. Its eyelids strained, mucus pulling away as they opened, revealing stunning purple irises and crosses for pupils.
I crouched. No blood. And I didn’t see any injuries.
“Want to name him?” I asked Dain.
“Uh, does your landlord even allow pets?”
The dragon swept its tail, brushing glass shards to the side. Its wings—yes, definitely wings—unfurled, mucus peeling and dripping to the tile. It stretched its neck, peered up at me. Its acorn-sized head tilted.
My dragon squawked.
A chair crashed against the table. The chair Dain just tripped over. “Aren’t dragons supposed to breathe fire or acid or something?”
“Don’t worry. He probably thinks I’m his mommy. You know, imprinting, like from Psych 1010.” I held out my index finger. The dragon stepped forward to sniff it. A blue tongue flicked out and whipped over my skin, leaving a burning sensation. I winced.
“Some spiders eat their mothers when they hatch.”
“Spiders. Not dragons.” I trailed my pinkie down its spine, letting the tiny bones bump along my fingertip. A slimy coat clung to my skin. The dragon shivered with pleasure. “Can you fill a bowl with water. Not too hot. And make sure it’s a big one.”
I listened to Dain run the faucet then beckoned for him to bring it over, still not looking away from my hatchling. Dain set the red serving bowl on the glassy mess then scuttled back until he could hug the wall. I held the bowl steady while the dragon pulled itself over the lip and splashed in.
I rose, bowl hugged to my chest. The dragon watched me with only its eyes and nostrils poking above the surface. Its drifting tail stirred the water. “Let’s fill the bathtub.”
“Not a Frog” is my third published sketch. Let me know what you think in the comments. I’m planning on publishing a more sketches (at least one every first Tuesday of the month, and hopefully more). Stay tuned!
Follow me on Twitter @EstherDDavis if you want updates.