[Haven’t written many pieces longer than 55 words lately, but this one demanded the tiniest bit extra space. Still very much a work in progress, though, particularly the very end.]

“Don’t worry, young man,” the Martian policeman said, “He’s just a baby. He’s harmless, long as his blindfold’s on.” He patted the basilisk’s rump, his red hand making Christmas colors against its scales. The beast turned its great head to lick its rider’s fingers.

“How’s he know where to go?” I asked. My dad continued to hiss at me to get back to his side of the street.

“We’ve been breeding them for hearing for thousands of years,” he said. Then he leaned down to whisper in my ear. “By the time you’re old enough, we’ll be training humans to ride them.” My eyes widened.

The policeman straightened up in his saddle. “I’m Officer Quint.” He shook my hand. “Now, get back to your father. I don’t think he likes Ivan here very much.” He winked at me.

I re-crossed the street. My dad walked us quickly home.

When we got inside, he turned to me and said, “I can’t say this out there or they’ll put me away, but those lizards are a menace, and their riders are imperialist savages.”

“Daddy,” I said, rolling my eyes. “You don’t have to be mean to Officer Quint just ’cause you’re scared of basilisks.”

He stared at me. Moments passed and still he stared. Then he turned and walked to his study, muttering, “He’s still just a kid, still a boy.”

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2 Responses to “Ivan”

  1. Sebatinsky Says:

    End is stiff, but it’s a great story – tantalizing opening to an interesting world.

  2. Ari Collins Says:

    Thanks. Yeah, end needs some sort of… punch. But one that doesn’t knock you down and yell, “Oi! I just punched you!”

    Also a new title.

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