The Jealousy of a Dragon

I can’t believe it. I’m actually posting a story on the first Friday of the month. *gasp* Let’s hope I can keep up with it. It’s one of my New Year’s Resolutions… Those typically don’t have much luck of being followed through on, but I hope with your accountability, I can do it. Thanks a ton for everything, guys!

Also, guess what? It’s another Venus story! Last month, you guys seemed to really enjoy “Venus,” the story about the college kid whose laundry money was being stolen by a mini dragon. So, I decided to write a sequel (hopefully one of many).

And this time… Drew embarrasses himself in front of a girl. It’s great. But also, poor guy.

You might want to read “Venus” first if you haven’t already, though you should be able to understand this story even without reading the previous one. Anyway, enjoy “The Jealousy of a Dragon”!


This is the best it’s gonna get.

Exhaling, I press the print icon. The printer hums to life, then spits out one sheet, another sheet, so many sheets of edited word vomit. Twenty pages about a planet I’ve never been to. Dozens of hours spent staring at a screen with bloodshot eyes, catching a few meager hours of sleep.

Sometimes I really hate college.

Something brushes against my leg, and I flinch. There’s a ghost. A rat. Something. I look underneath my chair to see a bunny-sized dragon, golden scales gleaming, expression unreadable.

“Venus!” I sputter. “What are you doing here?”

Yeah, I know, I named my mini dragon after my science paper. She looks like the planet, okay?

She flexes her claws, then scratches them against the metal leg of my chair with an awful screeching sound.

“Stop it! Someone’s gonna hear you!”

She looks up at me with wide, innocent eyes.

How did I get a mini dragon, you ask? I have no idea. She showed up under my bed and stole my laundry money. Now I’m stuck with her.

“Now is not the time for sharpening your claws, young lady.” Okay, I actually have no idea how old Venus is––she hasn’t gotten any bigger in the week I’ve had her––but I’m bigger, so I’m in charge. I think. “You’re going to wake people up!”

Her claws screech across the metal. Good thing she can’t actually damage the metal—oh wait, she’s making gouge marks. Just great.

“Venus, I swear, you need to—”

The door to the computer lab opens. Venus darts behind my leg. A girl walks in, her dark eyes landing on me. My mouth dries up. It’s Kitty McDowell, her shirt emblazoned with a dragon, her long dark hair in a low ponytail.

“Were you talking to me?” she asks.

“No,” I blurt. “I was, um, ranting about my paper. It’s about Venus, you know. It’s making me go crazy. If you can’t tell. Um.” Okay, I need to shut up now. Also to stop staring. Also to sleep.

“Oh, okay,” she says, a smile crinkling her round cheeks. Her eyes land on my cat-patterned pajama pants, and I flush. How was I supposed to know that someone else would be in the computer lab at 2:00 am? 

“Sorry,” I say, laughing even though there is no reason to laugh. It comes out squeaky and high pitched.

Kitty cocks her head. “Why are you apologizing?”

“I don’t know.” The awful, nervous sound keeps coming. Stop it, idiot!

She stares at me for a moment longer, her dark eyes huge behind her glasses, then slips into the chair next to me. I can’t think with her this close to me.

“I like your pants, Drew,” she says. “Um. Not just because of my name or anything. But, like, cats. They’re awesome. I love cats. I’m sorry. I’m rambling.”

“It’s fine,” I say, my face as hot as one of Venus’ flames. “I, uh, like your shirt too. ’Cause dragons. They’re awesome. Yeah.”

“Thanks,” she says, her perpetually-red cheeks glowing even brighter.

Venus’ newly sharpened claws dig into my pant leg, and I let out a yelp.

Kitty jerks toward me, a frown pulling her lips down. “Are you okay, Drew?”

“Yep!” I kick Venus, and she growls. “I’m fine! Just fine!”

“That’s good,” she says, laughing just as awkwardly as I did a few moments before.

Of all the times for Venus to sneak out, why does it have to be now?

As soon as Kitty’s eyes turn back to the computer screen, I glance down at my legs. Venus’ burnt orange eyes are in tiny slits. I shake my finger at her. She snorts a puff of smoke.

Great. Now Kitty’s going to think I’m smoking. Venus, I swear, when we get back to our room…

Oh, who am I kidding? I have zero control over this tiny animal.

Kitty wrinkles her nose. “What is that smell? Is something on fire?”

“Um, maybe.” I swallow hard. “It’s probably nothing to worry about.”

“But it could be a fire!” Kitty’s voice pitches high. “We should pull the fire alarm—”

“No! We don’t need to do that. Um.” Sometimes I think Venus came into my dorm room to ruin my life. Until now, she just stole my laundry money and my fancy watch, but she’s moved onto bigger and better thinks, a.k.a. ruining my social life––my love life. Not that I have one of those. But if I did have one, she’d be ruining it.

Kitty gets up. Her head whips around, slinging her ponytail from side to side. She yanks open the door, peering outside. I take the opportunity to glare down at Venus and hiss, “We’re going back to the dorm. Now.”

She preens her claws nonchalantly.

Huffing, I get up and grab the papers from the printer. How am I supposed to smuggle Venus out of the computer lab without Kitty noticing?

Kitty turns back to me, the door shutting behind her. “I don’t see anything. But I guess the smell was coming from in here. Maybe one of the computer wires is smoldering.” She kneels down.

I clench my teeth. If she looks over beneath my chair, she’ll see the mini dragon there.

Kitty crawls under her desk, peering at the wires. Breathing a sigh of relief, I scoop Venus up, who snorts a little too loudly. Swearing under my breath, I hold her behind my back in case Kitty can see me.

“Um, Kitty. I’m sorry,” I blurt. “I have to go. I need sleep. Lots of it.” Venus squirms behind my back, her claws digging into my hands. I bite back swears.

“Oh… but what about the fire?” Kitty asks, starting to crawl out from underneath the desk.

“I’m sure it’s fine. Um. Goodnight.” I turn around and clutch Venus to my chest, tripping over my feet out the door, wincing at each prick of Venus’ claws. Only when the door has shut behind me do I glare down at my mini dragon.

“Look what you made me do!” I hiss. “You completely embarrassed me in front of her! Now she’s going to hate me!”

I swear this dragon is smirking at me.

I narrow my eyes. “Did you do this on purpose?”

She stretches her neck languorously, like nothing just happened.

I scowl. “Are you jealous?”

There’s that innocent expression again.

“I can’t believe it,” I say. “I didn’t know you even cared about me, you little demon.”

Her eyes narrow. Oops. Probably shouldn’t have insulted her.

“Um. I meant that in a loving way.”

“Drew?”

I almost drop Venus, then whirl around, gripping her behind my back again. Kitty approaches me cautiously, my twenty-page paper clutched in her long-fingered hands. Venus claws her way onto my back, and I yelp, pain digging lines into my face. “Oh! Sorry,” I say quickly. “You, uh, scared me.”

“Oh, sorry, I didn’t mean to. You just, um, forgot your paper. That’s all.” Kitty looks at the floor.

Biting my lip, I take the paper. She pulls her hand back quickly, clasping her fingers together. Her chipping nails are painted in lots of different shades, black and green and yellow.

I should apologize, but how can I? I can’t explain why I had to run away. No one can know about Venus, not even Kitty with her dragon shirt. Only Matt, my roommate, and I can know about my mini dragon.

Of course, I wouldn’t even have this dilemma if Venus hadn’t followed me to the computer lab in the first place.

My voice is strained. “So, was there a fire?”

Eyes still on the floor, Kitty shakes her head. “Have a good night, Drew,” she says, then turns to leave.

“Wait—”

But she’s already gone. 

“This is your fault!” Now Kitty thinks I hate her, which is definitely not true, but I can’t explain what happened, and I don’t know how to fix this. Stupid dragon.

Venus crawls up onto my shoulder, and I wince wherever her claws poke me. As soon as her snout is in reach, I flick it. Her jaws snap, almost closing around my finger. Oops.

“You can’t just follow me wherever, okay?”

She flicks her tail, whacking me in the head.

“Ow!” I hurry down the stairs. “That wasn’t nice.”

She grunts.

“Look, Venus. Your place is in our dorm. That’s it. Like, the rooms that Matt and I share. Under my bed is your domain. Not this whole hall.”

She curls into a ball on my shoulder. It’s hard to be mad when she’s this cute.

“People can’t see you, okay? No matter what.” I open the door, creeping into the dark room. My head spins. I really do need sleep. Kneeling down, I let Venus crawl off my shoulder. She peers at me with smoldering eyes.

“I don’t want people to hurt you,” I say softly.

She nuzzles my hand, her scaly snout warm and smooth.

“But also, you can’t keep taking risks. Also, you can’t embarrass me like that.”

Venus just blinks at me.

As she disappears into the darkness underneath my bed where her coin pile awaits, complete with my watch, my stomach sinks. I don’t think she’s going to listen to me. And if she’s willing to follow me to the computer lab… what if she starts following me other places? What if she follows me to class?

No, she wouldn’t. I won’t let her. I’d stop her.

I hope.


What did you think of my Venus sequel? Trust me, I’m planning many more. There are many more adventures Drew and Venus can have together—ahem, many more ways Venus can cause trouble for Drew.

By the way, if you didn’t get a chance to read my stories “Stealer of Secrets,” “Skinthief,” or “Walls,” Havok is opening the Season Two stories to the public for the weekend! (For those who don’t know, the Havok stories are typically only available on the day they’re published unless you’re a Havok member, but this weekend is special since they’re about to choose their anthology stories.) It’ll be open from 6 pm CST tonight (Friday) to 10 pm CST Sunday.

I’d really appreciate it if you’d leave a comment on there (and/or vote if you have a membership). The highest-rated stories could get into their seasonal anthology! “Stealer of Secrets” and “Skinthief” are currently some of the highest-ranked stories for this season, which is such an honor. I really appreciate everyone who’s supported me!

I hope you’re enjoying your new year, friends!

Venus

This picture does not belong to me. I found it on Pinterest.

I toss the last sock into my laundry basket and turn back to my unmade bed, where four shiny quarters should be sitting. They’re not.

Frowning, I look under the rumpled sheets. Under my pillow. On the floor.

I swear I put quarters there two minutes ago.

“Hey, Matt?” I say. “You got any quarters?”

“I gotta do laundry tomorrow.” My roommate shoves a slice of pizza in his mouth. It’s cold by now, but they don’t allow microwaves in the dorm. “Get your own quarters, Drew.”

That’s the thing. I had quarters. Lots of them. But every time I turn around, they vanish.

At least it’s not my keys, I guess. But if I want to avoid smelling like an armpit, I need some quarters. Now.

“Look, man, I just need four. I’ll pay you back––”

“Like you’ll pay me back for all the other quarters?”

I guess I could ask my Resident Assistant, Nick, but seriously. This is stupid. And it hasn’t just been quarters; it’s been any coin I lay out. I look away and bam, they’re gone. “I swear I had them. They were just on my bed.”

“I dunno, man. I think it’s that Venus paper.” Matt finishes the slice with a loud smacking of his sauce-covered lips. “It’s frying your brain.”

He’s not wrong. For the past two weeks, every thought that has gone through my head––unfortunately for my other professors and my social life––is about the hottest planet in our solar system.

Note to self: college sucks.

Matt disappears into his room, probably to play whatever video game he’s obsessed with at the moment. I’m on my own.

I glance at my laundry basket, then at the bed. Okay, this has to stop. I’m gonna find where all this change is going, or so help me, I’ll go naked.

I scour our dorm room––my room, our kitchenette, even the bathroom. Just lots of laundry––now only Matt’s––strewn across the floor, food trash on the couch, pieces of former homework balled up in corners. No coins.

My bed. I didn’t look under my bed.

Let me rephrase that––I never look under my bed. Who knows what kind of crap is there?

Gritting my teeth, I kneel down, my knees aching––I swear I’m eighteen, not fifty––and peer into the blackness. Mostly dust, so it’s better than I thought, but there, gleaming in the dull light, is a pile of coins––and on top of it is a creature.

And when I say a creature, I mean a dragon. A tiny, bunny-sized dragon with golden scales and burnt orange eyes giving me the fiercest glare I have ever seen.

I scramble backward and rub my eyes. It’s that stupid paper. I knew it was going to be the death of me. It’s making me hallucinate that there’s a dragon the color of Venus’ surface sitting under my bed.

I stick my head under again. Underneath its tiny claws are all my missing quarters––and the other change too.

“So you’re the thief,” I hiss. Maybe if I touch it, I’ll find out it’s fake…?

The dragon snorts a tiny orange flame, and I bang my head on the bedframe. Right. Dragons breathe fire in all the stories. Better not get my hand close to that little demon.

Muttering swears, I scowl at the creature. It really does look like Venus, all molten gold and fury. “I need my quarters. Now.”

“Drew?”

I smack my head on the bedframe again. Rubbing my head, I crawl out from underneath the bed.

Matt’s wearing space-themed pajama pants dotted with stars and planets––yep, there’s good old Venus. I literally can’t get away from it.

“What’re you doing?”

“Looking for the quarters.” My voice cracks like a preteen’s.

He takes a sip of soda. “Just buy something with cash tomorrow and get some change for it.”

I stay on the ground. “I don’t have cash. I’m a broke college student.”

“Sucks to be you, man.” He shakes his head. “Look, if you want a break from your paper, you can game with me.”

“Just give me a minute.” I’ll straighten things out with this thieving dragon, and then I’ll electronically destroy my roommate.

“Whatever.” Matt disappears again.

I crawl back toward the bed. The dragon is still there. Maybe I should’ve asked Matt to take a look and confirm that I’m not crazy.

It’s kinda cool, though, hallucination or not. Its wings press tightly against its body, making it look like a golden lizard. Is it a boy or girl dragon? And does that really matter? I dunno, but its movements seem kinda feminine to me. Let’s just say it’s a female.

“Look, Venus,” I say. “You like shiny stuff? You want shiny?” I take off my watch. Mom and Dad gave it to me for my eighteenth birthday. Probably cost them a hundred bucks. But I need my quarters.

Venus’ nostrils flare. Her gaze flicks from the watch to me, then to the coins beneath her, then to the watch.

I set the watch on the floor near the edge of the bed, far enough away that she won’t attack me. I hope. “Go get the watch.”

Her orange eyes narrow. I hold my breath. Then she darts toward the watch. I reach out and snatch a handful of coins. She lets out a high-pitched roar and rushes back to her hoard, dragging her new prize.

My chest heaves up and down. For a second, I thought she’d attack me. But she just sits back on top of her pile of coins, now complete with my fancy watch.

“Holy crap, Drew, what are you doing?”

Third time. I hate this stupid bedframe. Gritting my teeth to hold back swears, I come out from underneath the bed.

“Found the quarters,” I say weakly, holding out my hand.

Wait. I only have three. I glare under the bed. Her orange eyes gleam back.

 “Is there something down there? Is there food? Do we have mold again?” Groaning, Matt drops to his knees next to me.

My eyes widen. “Wait––”

But he’s already looking under the bed. I know the exact second he saw Venus because he lets out an ear-splitting scream and bangs his head on the bedframe.

“Would you shut up? You want Nick to fine us?”

“Th-there’s a dragon,” Matt sputters.

“Yes. The coin thief. Her name is Venus. She took my quarters.” I slant an irritated glance in her direction.

“You named it?” His mouth gapes. “Or––don’t tell me––it talks?”

“No, no!” I grab Matt’s arm to keep him from running out of the room. “You can’t tell anyone.”

“Dude, there’s a––”

“I know. But…” I don’t even know why I’m hesitating. The thing took all my coins. “We’re not allowed to have pets in the dorms. They’ll freak out.”

His eyes bulge. “You’re saying this is your pet?”

“No! Er… maybe.” I mean, aside from coin stealing, dragons are pretty awesome. And this is sort of the coolest thing that’s ever happened to me. I mean, why am I the one who ended up with a mini dragon underneath my bed? Fate must think I’m a pretty great guy. Either that or it’s trying to get me kicked out of college.

“You have a mythical creature as a pet?”

“Um. Yes.” I guess. Maybe Venus is my pet now. Crap, how am I supposed to hide a dragon from my RA?

“And it steals your coins?”

“Yes.”

“And you named it after your paper?”

“Yes.”

Matt snorts. “That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.”

“Don’t judge my life choices!” I peek back under and try to convince myself that she’s softening toward me. She breathes out a tiny spark. “I gave her my watch.”

“You what?” Matt groans. “Your parents will freak, Drew.”

“Yeah, but I needed my quarters back.” Okay, yeah, I guess I could’ve sold the watch and gotten a ton of quarters, but it’s too late now.

“If she’s your dragon, why won’t she listen to you?”

Um… “Because dragons are hard to train.”

“If you have had a dragon all this time, why have I never known about it?” His voice is rising. People are gonna hear him.

“Sh! I just… uh… didn’t think it was the right time to say. We’ve been roommates for what, a semester?”

“Shut it, man.” Matt levels me with a stare. “You’re lying. You just found the dragon today.”

“Uh…”

“You can’t keep it.”

“But I named her!”

“Your fault.”

“But…” Okay, maybe I feel a tiny connection to this mini dragon. After all, she’s Venus. If she’s Venus, then I pretty much know her inside and out. “I need to at least free her, then.”

“No. I’m reporting it.”

“Wait! Please!”

Venus crawls out from underneath the bed, gripping a coin in her tiny claw. Both Matt and I skitter backward. Flame-bright eyes study us. Then she pushes a quarter forward.

My mouth gapes. Maybe it’s a trick to make me reach out so she can burn me.

Matt grabs the quarter instead. Venus snorts a trail of smoke. I try to pry his fingers open. “Hey! Gimme that!”

“You weren’t gonna take it!”

We wrestle, grunting and muttering swears, until we hear another high-pitched roar. I turn back toward Venus. I swear she is glaring at us like we’re naughty little children, like she had expected the coin to make us stop fighting.

“Hey,” I say. “I think that was a peace offering.”

“A what?” Matt rolls his eyes. “You’re an idiot. It’s a dragon.”

She spurts a flame that singes our carpet. Swearing, I watch the fire start to grow. Nick is gonna kill us. No, first he’ll give us a massive fine, and then he’ll kill us.

Matt lurches for the sink, turning on the faucet. Oh, yes. Water is helpful.

Venus sits on the fire, snuffing it out. We stare at her open-mouthed.

“I think that was a threat,” I say.

Matt just nods.

“Guess we’ve got a dragon now,” I say.

Venus lets out a purring sort of noise and shifts her body on the singed carpet.

“They always say college is weird, but not this weird,” Matt says.

I reach my hand out toward Venus––tentatively. She eyes it distastefully, then reaches her snout out. Her nostrils flare, but she doesn’t spurt fire on me. Instead, she sniffs me.

“Are you crazy?” Matt hisses.

Maybe so. She sniffs again, then rubs her nose against my hand, metal against flesh. Or at least, I think it’s some sort of metallic substance, but I’m not exactly an expert on dragons. Not yet, at least.

I would look over to see Matt’s reaction, but I’m mesmerized by this tiny dragon who I am becoming fonder and fonder of by the minute, despite her thieving ways and her threats. “Hey, Venus,” I say. “Good dragon. Nice dragon.”

She pulls her nose away and gives me a look of pure disdain.

I swallow. “Sorry. Uh… most esteemed Venus. We shall grant you shelter in our humble abode––”

“Why are you talking like that?” Matt says.

“––with one condition. You shall not, uh, thieve from us.”

“You mean steal?”

“I’m trying to be fancy here.” I meet Venus’ burnt-orange eyes. “Please don’t steal from us. I need quarters for my laundry. Also ’cause I’m broke.”

She lets out a world-weary sigh and then disappears back under the bed. Is she irritated? Does she even understand what I’m saying? She’s been acting like she has.

Matt lets out a low whistle. “This is the weirdest––”

Venus reappears and tosses another quarter at me. This time, I snatch it before Matt can. “Thanks,” I say. “Uh… can I have the rest of my money back?”

Her eyes narrow.

“That’s a no, then. Okay.” I let the quarter join the other three I’d managed to snag. At least I can do my laundry. “Can I have my watch back?”

With her mouth open and teeth bared, I can see the flame growing at the back of her throat.

“Okay. Nope.” Mom and Dad will just have to think I lost it. They’ll freak, but I’m not risking the fury of my dragon. “Uh. Nice doing business with you.”

Venus preens her wing, looking all royal and fancy, like she knows she’s the queen of this dorm, then goes back under my bed.

I close my hand around the quarters. Guess I’ve gotta keep better track of my change.

“Did this actually just happen?” Matt says.

“Yeah.” I stand on wobbly legs and grab my basket. “I think it did.”

Having coins for laundry is one thing. Hiding a dragon from my RA is another.

But hey, I heard one of the guys on the other floors hid a guinea pig for a year. So it can be done.

Challenge accepted.


I hope you enjoyed this fun little story. When I looked at that prompt, two thoughts went through my head. One thought was, “Heck yes! Mini dragons!” The other was, “How can I make the lack of spare change something important? Who needs spare change?” And then I realized… college kids need spare change.

Fortunately, my college didn’t require payment for laundry. (They just added the estimated cost to my school bill. Yay.) But I can imagine how frustrating it would be if you needed to do laundry when you didn’t have any quarters. Hence, Drew was born.

I my end up writing more about Drew and Matt’s struggles to hide Venus from their RA Nick and the college administration. Maybe Venus will escape from the dorm room one day and cause havoc. Who knows.

Want to see a different interpretation of the same prompt? Check out my friend Laura’s story here.

Also, my apologies for waiting so long to post another story! But during the new year, I’m going to try to stick to a regular posting schedule, which should still be the first Friday of every month. Thanks for sticking with me despite my lack of predictability!

So, what about you? Does this prompt inspire you to create something? Let me know in the comments!