The cool evening air was a relief after a full day stuck inside a warehouse with sketchy air conditioning. I pushed open the heavy glass door to the balcony, and stood there for a moment, just breathing.
A birdlike shriek called my attention back into my apartment. I turned to see Spark pouncing around his dish, his usual a pre-dinner performance. He paused and turned his yellow eyes in my direction before spreading his leathery wings and flapping to the counter top where he knew he didn’t belong.
“Hey!“ I chastised. “Get down from there. This is not a self-serve buffet.”
He let out a protest, but settled all four feet onto the green counter, as if to inform me that he’d feed himself if I didn’t get on with it. Dragons may not be able to speak our language, but they sure as hell could communicate. And they were smart.
“All right, all right.“ I jogged over to prepare his dinner. “You’ve made your point, you crazy little reptile.”
He let out a little trill, the noise he used when he was being cuddly and cute, and extended his head to rub against the back of my hand. I took a moment to stroke down his neck and tickle under his jaw. Spark was a baby yet, so he only weighed about thirteen pounds. As a dwarf Yé Fēixíng, I could expect him to top out at sixty, a little big for an apartment, but manageable.
“Who’s a clever little dragon?“ I asked, running my fingers over the soft scales of his wing shoulder joint. That got me another trill. He pressed his snout into my palm, his forked tongue darting out to brush my skin. “Yeah, yeah. You’re hungry.” I scooped him off the counter and put him on the back of the couch, where he could watch. That’s when I made my mistake. I turned away to get his fish out of the refrigerator. I warmed it, and cut it into nice little pieces. “Okay, that should do it.”
I looked up just in time to see the trapezoid sail on his tail flick out onto the balcony. “Oh shit. No. Spark, come back here!” His flight skills were sketchy yet, and the third floor balcony wasn’t safe for him. Still holding his bowl, I chased after. He was up on the railing, leaning toward my new neighbor’s balcony, and peering in her window. She’d moved in last weekend, and he was probably curious what all the noise had been.
“Hey silly guy,” I called gently, afraid that he’d fall if I startled him. “Come here. I have your nice tasty fishies.”
He didn’t even acknowledge me. If I didn’t know he had excellent hearing, I would have assumed he hadn’t heard. His wings arched up and he leaped to the other balcony. My breath caught until he landed, reasonably gracefully, actually. That’s when he turned to look at me. He let out a little chirrup, then sauntered right into my neighbor’s dark apartment. She’d left the door open this morning, and she clearly wasn’t back from work yet.
“Shit. Shit. Shit.“ I muttered, rushing over to the railing. “Spark come here,” I called, using my playing voice. “You don’t want to miss out on this nice perch, do you? It’s your favorite.”
His chirrup was faint; he wasn’t even standing near the door waiting for me. He’d gone exploring already, I could tell. That was trouble. Though Spark was a sweetie, he was still a dragon. And he was a terrible house-guest. He tended to rip holes in couches and chew up carpets. He’d savaged enough shoes that I’d lost count.
I had to get him out of there before he damaged anything and before my neighbor got home. We hadn’t even properly met. This was so bad.
Prompt: My stupid cat sneaked out on the balcony and into your open window, and he has this habit of destroying furniture and pissing everywhere, so I followed him inside and you came home earlier than I expected and found me in the middle of your living room but I swear I’m not a burglar.
Modifications: Change cat to dragon.