Out in the middle of Oklahoma, a girl sat on a bench waiting for a bus. The dust swirled around her feet, like paint strokes across the pavement. She sighed, and leaned back. The bus wouldn’t come for another two hours. She wore a large sun hat, trying to at least protect from some of the sunburn that would inevitably afflict her. The wind whipped its ribbon through the air, the only sound besides the wind itself.
She looked down the road. A dark figure. A mirage? No, a man. Walking down the endless road, he wore a large billowing black coat. As he came closer, the girl took note of an animal at his heels. A brown Labrador. The man had no hat, and the palest skin she’d ever seen. He stopped mere feet from her.
He seemed surprised. “Why aren’t you dead?” He asked.
The girl fished for a comeback. “Well, I could say the same. Why are you wearing a coat in this heat?” She herself wore a T-shirt and knee-length shorts.
“You looked at Reggie. You aren’t dead. Why?” He was pointing at the lab.
“Why would I die if I looked at your dog?” Her red hair fell in her face as she shook her head in bafflement.
He sighed. The dog nodded when he met the man’s eyes. The man crouched, and touched the dog’s forehead.
And the dog was not a dog. It was a monster. A tiny monster. It flicked its forked tongue, flashing hundreds of tiny, sharp teeth, and blinked with inner eyelids. A long snake’s tail trailed out from under white wings, and three pairs of thin scaly legs jutted out from under it. It's black scales shimmered in the sunlight.
“Reggie is a Basilisk.”
“Oh.” She had curled her legs up to her chest protectively, and let them down upon seeing that the Basilisk wasn’t moving.
“So. Why aren’t you dead?”
She wracked her brain. Why not? Wouldn’t a Basilisk’s look kill any being immediately?
“I don’t…” Then it hit her as her hair fell in her face again. Maybe…
The man was growing impatient.
“I think I know. And it would honestly explain a lot for me.” She chuckled. “I don’t have a soul!”
The man blinked. “Why? Was it… taken or…?”
“No, I think I was just born without one. You know, I’ve never thought that that'd be why I was, quote-unquote, “a bit of a psychopath”. I’m on the run from setting my parent's house on fire while they were gone.”
“Hm. Well, I suppose that would explain things. I also found it strange that you don’t seem to have that same sense of self-preservation as most others that I‘ve met. Usually, my persona will scare people off before they’re in eyeshot of Reggie…” Then, suddenly, the man smiled.
“Why not come with me to destroy a town in North Carolina? I could use someone to help look after Reggie.”
“Whoa, whoa, wait a sec there, man, I don’t even know your name!” She stood, and held out her hand.
The man clasped it. “Well, for now, I’m Jonathan Reed. You?”
“Rissa Mckinley. Nice to meet you, Jon.”
He let go and put his hands on his hips.
“I think this’s gonna be the beginning of a great partnership Rissa.”
She smiled, then she grew confused. “Wait, you said 'for now'. Is that not your real name?”
“No, but knowing my real name is a huge risk and would probably cause your body to slowly implode.”
She coughed. “What? How?”
“I’m a demon.” He laughed and it seemed a weight had been lifted from his shoulders.
She laughed as heartily as a soulless person can. “All kinds of interesting stuff today. Alright! I’ll go and destroy the town with you, Jon. But I do have a lot more questions.”
“Well, we have a lot of road to cover.”
He motioned her to follow, beginning to walk along the road as before. The Basilisk morphed into a lab again. Rissa scooped up the beast and began to walk beside him, finally feeling she had found something better to do than run away.
It had been two years after all.