Thom took the air in slowly and carefully, but a tingle of dust tickled his throat and he felt like coughing. And so he shut his mouth and inhaled sharply through his nose. But this caused a most terrible reaction that began to build without a hope of being stopped. His eyes began to bulge, his head began to tilt back, and his nose began to flare with the coming of a tremendous sneeze.
The floor at his face cleared instantly as a billow of dust exploded under the force of the sneeze, and the sound carried through the entire room.
There was a scuffle of feet as the investigator turned on the spot and then their exclamation met Thom in reply. "Ah!" they said, "Underbed Dragons, and a dust mite what's more!" They moved cautiously toward the bed where Thom lay with his fingers pinched to his nose and his eyes running.
"Come out little dragon," murmured the voice. "Blowing dust with your explosive little nose isn't going to hurt me."
Thom didn't know what to do. He was caught, and yet his discoverer seemed not to be angry. Did he give himself in? Was it not inevitable?
The man sighed, and Thom watched as his foot began to tap the floor at the foot of the bed. "Beeswax and bubbles," cursed the man. "They've been flying awry again, crashing into towers and whatnot. No roosting here. Out you go. Back into the wild."
Thom frowned. Perhaps the man still thought him to be some sort of animal. Surely he was only making stories with his peculiar curses.
"I'm not going to smoke you out, you gopher. I'll let the young master know he's got termites, that's what I'll do. Little dust breathing ones--of all the trinkets!"
Thom widened his eyes and held even more still. Was the man going to leave him be? Was that possible?