The wall split open with a sharp ripping sound and the dark creature slipped through the crack, hissing and spitting, furious at being dragged from its long slumber. It gathered itself on the floor, coiled, and raised its head up. Its long forked tongue tasted the air, once, twice, and then it’s violent green eyes found their target. The witch held her ground and held the gaze of the beast she had summoned. Then she carefully lifted her right hand aloft and snapped her fingers twice. The monster blinked, shook its head slightly, almost a shudder but not quite, and then lowered its head back to its coiled body.
“Good,” the witch cooed. “Very good.”
With her right hand she reached out and stroked the glittering, midnight scales. There seemed to be twinkles of scattered light hidden beneath the surface, like thousands of stars hidden behind a veil of clouds in a moonless sky. You didn’t know if you were really seeing the stars or if your brain just made you think you were because you knew they were supposed to be there. She brought her right hand in front of the snakelike being’s jaws and, using all her considerable self-control to suppress a shudder, she let the snake’s tongue whip out and wrap around her wrist.
It wasn’t really a snake, of course, that was just the shape the summoned creature had chosen as it slid into this world. It could have taken two other shapes, that of a bull or that of a falcon. In time she would learn why it had chosen this form instead of the others but for now she needed it to taste her power and learn to trust her. They would have time for the rest once this ritual was completed and her new pet had accepted her.
The crack in the wall began to disappear even as the snake’s tongue released her wrist. She had passed the test. It would submit to her command willingly.
Smiling, she took her right hand and once again stroked the magnificent scales behind its head. “My name is Sofia.”
In a whispering hiss, the creature replied, “I’m Dahlia.”
Sofia continued to lovingly caress the snake. The wall sealed off. Dahlia began to make a sound that make Sofia think of a cat purring. It was not a natural sound to be coming from a snake, but Dahlia wasn’t a snake and wasn’t what most people would consider natural either.
“We’re going to do great things together, Dahlia,” Sofia said.