Even if it goes with the territory for a magic technical writer, keeping an otherworldly pet is inconvenient sometimes. Feeding and care are a little more involved than for “normal” pets. And just because they can talk doesn’t mean they’re good conversationalists.
But all of that is just part of the package. Taking care of a Blood Imp doesn’t become a real problem until someone releases a lower-dimensional predator near your building.
I rolled my eyes. “What, now?”
“No lie, Gordo. Hungry now.”
“Fine.” I hated the passive aggressive sigh I wrapped around the word and knew I should apologize but couldn’t quite bring myself to do it. If you’re going to keep a pet, any kind of pet, you have to take care of it, even when it’s inconvenient.
But he should have been asleep.
I clicked the save icon and turned away from the screen, rolling up my left sleeve. “Make it quick. I've got a deadline.”
Melville hopped from the shelf into my lap, running his razor tongue around pursed lips. A quick suction cup kiss to my forearm and he heaved a contented sigh, relaxing his entire body. As usual, I didn’t feel the cut or the blood flow from whatever vein he’d picked. I hadn’t since the very first time after I’d brought him home, and I’d probably imagined that.READ MORE
He did make it quick, actually, finishing his snack in less than five minutes while I played Mahjongg with my other hand. I hate leaving a game unfinished, and almost wished he had taken a little longer, but when you constantly work under deadlines, you learn to leave the game behind. And tonight, I definitely had a deadline. Good thing I hadn’t launched Minecraft.
Melville scuttled up to my shoulder and tensed himself for a jump to get back to his nest on the bookshelf. I wondered about the muscles he kept in that little slug’s body that he could jump two feet straight up without hind legs. Looking down at my arm as he sprang, I could only barely pick out the discolored spot he’d just been feeding at. I had to admit he was neat. Not a trace of blood, and in the three years I’d had him he hadn’t left a single scar on either arm. Not everyone who kept a blood imp was so lucky. At the pet expo last year, I saw a couple of people carrying imps who had forearms like heroin addicts.
His jump was perfect, arcing the fat little body up into the air to drop straight onto his cushion. Spinning around, he blinked that one big eye at me and stretched his rubbery lizard lips into a weird parody of a smile. Too damned smart by half, blood imps. “Thanks, Gordo. Sleep now, prob’ly.”
I nodded and turned back to the computer screen. “That makes one of us.” My copy-editing project had to be done by morning, and the document had been through three languages before it got to me. Technical documentation is fine when you get to write it yourself. Taking the client’s specs, maybe even getting to play with the software, and turning that into readable instructions can sometimes be fun, if not always challenging. Even an editing contract wasn’t too bad if the draft writer could string a sentence together.COLLAPSE