A Baby Raptor

 

I flung myself through my bedroom door, shut it behind me, and sat on the floor. From here I began talking, half to myself, half to my cockatiel “Bird,” in his cage across from me. (I don’t normally carry on conversations from across entire rooms, but Bird always speaks very loudly, and today I was speaking with some volume myself.)

“What a day, Bird! And what a show MaMuse put on! You should’ve seen how perfectly content everyone was. And the weather could not have been better, I think.” I was playing with a small wooden box as I spoke, sliding it side to side. “But you know, Bird, it was almost too perfect of a day—certainly too pleasant and bland to be worth talking about to anyone else (besides you Bird, of course)… Oh! But what is that?!”

Here I was interrupted, as a scratching sound was heard coming from inside the box (which, come to think of it, had no reason for being in my room at all—at least, no reason I could think of). I opened the lid and saw, with an acute mixture of horror and delight, a baby Velociraptor!

“How on Earth did you get here?!” I exclaimed. Held in my hand, it fit soundly in the palm. “But you won’t fit there for very long, I’ll wager —I’ve seen the moving pictures, and you’re going to get quite large before too long. Ow!” I shifted the little monster so it was held between thumb and forefinger, to keep its claws from reaching. “I don’t suppose you can tell me what you eat at your age… Well, here, I can see a cricket that’s escaped from Rosie!” (Rosie is one of my tarantulas, you see.)

I set the baby raptor where he could see the insect, and ZOOM! went the reptile after his meal, quite faster than any pet I’ve had, so that he and the cricket both went skidding along the length of my hardwood floor.

Considering him diverted for the moment (almost like a cat he was, playing with and chasing his food up and down and everywhere), I set about looking for a place to keep him. “Even if I don’t keep you forever, you’ll need somewhere more secure than this box… but where? This cage already has four snakes and a tarantula… This cage has Bird in it, and he’s very jealous of his space… Oh! How’d you get in there?” I stopped to rescue a baby snake who’d gotten tangled in a mess of videogame cords, and dropped him in a third small cage that already held a baby spider. “Oh, why can’t I just say ‘no’ to all the babies people give me?” I said, to no one in particular. “They’re starting to become more like chores than gifts. Well, how was it, Baby Raptor?”

The reptile clicked its claw on the ground in response, chewing its food, surveying the room for more treats.

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Howl was born in the wastes north of Hithlum, where only beasts and witches dare roam. He was raised by two old hags, Tabby and Wiles, who had an unhealthy fascination towards the literary arts. Howl now resides in a well-furnished cave off South Rim Trail, complete with an old iBook and Wi-Fi.