There was the sound of thumping, feet pounding on the stairs. Diana and Lily burst through Kimber's door, giving her only enough to time smack the black tail under the dust ruffle with a swift kick. Whatever was under there made sound that Kimber coughed to try and cover up; it seemed to have said "Ow". Diana and Lily were obviously nervous.
"Are you okay?" Diana said breathlessly.
"We heard you screaming!"
"I'm fine. I'm totally absolutely fine."
Kimber's eyes were wide and her hands were shaking from anxiety; she tried to steady them so as not to drop the still-burning candle. Diana and Lily looked similarly frazzled; they had obviously been shaken by Kimber. She took a deep breath, like she was supposed to when she worried, when she was overreacting. She closed her eyes and breathed in deeply, challenging herself to put whatever was under her bed out of her mind, for just a moment.
"I'm sorry guys," she said softly, "There was this crazy-big spider. It was just so big and nasty, I couldn't help it. I freaked out. I didn't mean to scream. I killed it. I smushed it with my shoe like 14 times. Maybe 15, I lost count."
Kimber chuckled quietly, hoping her housemates would accept this answer. They did. Diana squirmed and flailed her arms around for a moment; she didn't mind bugs, but she could not stand spiders. She had a problem with their fat little abdomens and spindly legs. Lily then gave them both an earful about how they needed to stop freaking out about bugs- how they were more afraid of her than she was of them. Kimber closed the door after them, apologizing repeatedly and wishing them a lovely, bug-free night.
"I'd prefer it be free of screaming," Lily retorted with a laugh.
When the sound of their footsteps was significantly distant, she scrambled over to the bed ad started feeling around under it. She refused to actually look under the dust ruffle, instead feeling around blindly for something that felt vaguely like a tail. For a while, she found nothing. For a while, she felt better, in that there was no strange lizard underneath her bed, and worse, in that she had probably just hallucinated. But after another moment, her fingers brushed something scaly. She grabbed on and pulled. The tail was not attached to a particularly heavy creature and the force of Kimber's tug sent her sprawling across the floor. The candle fell from her other hand and went out, leaving some drops of black wax on the hardwood.
What landed in Kimber's lap looked like an anorexic lizard- spindly and thin, with big black claws protruding from its tiny feet. It looked almost like a cat and a snake had had a baby. Its yellow eyes peered directly into hers as it stood up on her chest. She wanted to scream, but she stopped herself, not wanting to alert Diana or Lily again. Instead, she started to laugh.
"I'm insane," she said, more to herself than to the creature, "I'm seeing and feeling and TALKING to a little lizard. I've been seeing things for, like, a week, and now there is some kind of scaly cat on top of me. I can't even believe this anymore. I need to see a shrink so badly. Oh my god."
"You are not disturbed, madam," the lizard piped up.
Kimber's mouth hung wide open as she watched the little lizard climb off her chest and onto the floor. It had just talked.
"And neither am I a lizard nor a scaly cat. I am a wyrm. I will assume, based on your frightened stare and inability to form coherent sentences, that you do not know what that is. I am a type of dragon, madam, specifically one without wings. Though, I should clarfiy, I can fly. I would think the more accurate word would be 'levitate', but I highly doubt that you are preoccupied with my verbiage."
"I am preoccupied with the fact that you can't exist," Kimber said as she sat up, eyes never leaving the wyrm, "What the hell are you doing in my bedroom and out of a storybook?"
"Ah, well, I would prefer to be in a work of fiction. They are my primary form of sustenance these days. I've given up on works of scientific inquiry, as you humans have gotten much more accurate in your research. History books are still tasty, but they are more like fast food. A good work of fiction is something you can truly savor. If I am to trust your more modern works, it is like comparing a filet mignon to a hamburger."
"You eat books?"
"Well, I am a book wyrm. What else would I eat?"