Friday, January 1, 2010


So glad it's 2010! Here's the first story of the new year, brought to you courtesy of 3WW and #fridayflash. Ambush, hideous and meddle helped shape this one.


Sister Harrid hovered over the acolyte's cauldron. Warwick flipped the pages of his spell book back to the "Clean Slate" recipe. She sniffed. "Good job Warwick." She scratched the puckered scar of her right eye socket. "That's what you want, that distinct mold mixed with ranch dressing essence. That'll wipe out anyone's memory."

She zipped over to the second cauldron. Serena threw rabbit pellets behind her back and coughed. She didn't want Sister Harrid to hear the plops fall into Warwick's brew.

Sister Harrid sniffed again. Her nostrils sucked closed as her face crumpled into sharp wrinkles. Sparks flew from her pursed lips. Serena's watched the sparks disappear above her cauldron.

"Not your usual work, Serena."

"I know. Er, it's Warwick's fault."

"Hey! Don't throw me under the broom. You zapped me while I was at the pantry closet—"

"Splashing holly water over your shoulder! You ambushed my potion, Wart-Sick!"


"Yes Sister Harrid," they answered in unison.

Their teacher sighed. "Witches don't complain; they get even. Tend to your brews."

"But sister? How do I counteract holly?"

Sister Harrid glared as she pointed toward the wall of tomes. She then zoomed to the room's corner. "Try the Encyclopedias. 'H' should help."

She swung her broom around, pointed the business end at the cauldrons and shrunk herself down to doll-size as she floated.

Both acolytes groaned. Serena glanced at her eight-inch teacher hovering from the ceiling perch. "This is your fault," Serena whispered, "with her meddling as a kitchen witch we'll never get the transfiguration spell."

Warwick glared. Use telepathy idiot! She can hear whispers. Kitchen Witch means all spells work. This means our spell will work! We just don't want her to know what we are really brewing.

Serena giggled. You're right. Okay, I added the rabbit pellets to yours. You look away and I'll drop a ladleful of my brew into your cauldron. That should do it.

The liquid plopped then sizzled. A tiny whine exclaimed, "Perfect, Serena! Now Warwick! Pay attention and stir." Both students snapped their mouths closed, trying to stifle their giggles.

Squeaky bought the revenge act. Warwick wrinkled his nose. Pew! This reeks worse than sewage!

Serena walked to the bookshelf and removed the "H" volume.

Remember Warwick, just your hand in the brew. Submerge for twenty seconds and I'll keep my fingers crossed and chant Edward, Edward and you should see scissor-fingers form.

Warwick glanced at the corner then peered at the hideous mixture. The gelatinous matter bubbled, forming boils on the surface that erupted into tiny pus volcanoes. Maroon threads slithered and quaked around the bubbles. Warwick gulped. Are you sure you followed the recipe?

I thought 'kitchen witch' guaranteed success. Should I call you Wuss-wick?

Warwick took a deep breath. Serena held hers. Warwick plunged his hand into the viscous mess.


Warwick yanked his pulsating hand out of his cauldron. His fingers elongated and thickened, bristles erupted along the creases and crinkles of his hand, spreading to his wrist and up his arm. Warwick collapsed.

Sister Harrid zoomed down from her perch and grew into herself. "You think I don't know about transfiguration spells? Hmm, rabbit pellets—my nose is very sensitive—holly, two cauldrons… what are you trying to become?"

She shook her head and cackled. Sparks showered the room. Serena thought, The sparks fell into my cauldron! She sabotaged us!

Oh, and I am a WITCH! I hear every thought. Scissor fingers carve hedges. How about another creature from a hedge?

Warwick writhed on the floor, bristled hairs poking through his robes, arms and legs sprouting from his torso. His eyes bulged and shrunk as his face rippled. Fangs grew out below his disappearing lips. Serena opened her mouth, about to ask what was happening, when her own milky brew splashed onto her tongue. She gagged.

"Transform, my acolytes." Sister Harrid rubbed her clawed hands together and watched.

Serena gagged as what felt like hair filled her mouth. She tried to grasp the strands as she ran to the cracked mirror. She screamed.

Gossamer filaments swirled above her tongue, with single strands lashing onto her molars, anchoring a spider web. Within moments, perfectly angled spirals filled the cavity. Her fingers plucked but only strummed the cords, causing discordant tones to resonate inside her temples. Her jaw fell wide, unhinging, her chin touched the floor. She backed away from the mirror—

—and eight legged Warwick scurried up her leg and settled onto the web inside her mouth. Serena tried to pluck Spider-Wick from her mouth, but his fangs sunk into her thumb.

Sister Harrid flew out the room and locked the door. Serena felt her head crack as her teacher's cackling voice filled her mind. You'll be yourselves again by morning. Tomorrow, we'll try a new batch of 'Clean Slate' and forget this ever happened.


Craig Daniels said...

"Hey! don't throw me under the broom"... loved it and thanks for sharing this #flashfriday

Tim Remp said...

Hair in the mouth, spiders, sewage and witches invoking Tim Burton’s ‘Edward’, topped with revenge. What a great mix and a terrific tale of teaching the dark arts to the younger generation. I missed the three words completely.

Carrie said...

Harry Potter meets STARDUST. Rockin tale, I'm freaking out about the hair in the mouth, yuck.

Laura Eno said...

Yeah, hair in the mouth gets my vote, too. :)
Great story!

arcadianpoet said...

I agree with the others here that the hair in the mouth was a very evocative image. The entire tale was filled with good imagery, in fact. Your descriptions are very well done.

I enjoyed the twists and turns you fit into such a small space. When the teacher revealed that she had discerned the students' plan, I wondered what she would do, and I was then surprised by her response—but you softened it just at the end, showing us she's not really as evil as she seems. And bringing it full circle with the Clean Slate spell was the perfect thing to do.

An excellent tale, and I look forward to more!

♥ Ash

Linda said...

Loved the way you framed the story with title and spell. Great tale of witchery pranks. And of course, super-duper writing! HNY! Peace, Linda

ganymeder said...

Great writing. Talk about punishment, and I thought a spanking was bad...

This one had great dialogue, and I loved the "don't throw me under the broom" line. Nicely done.

Draco Torre said...

Great dialogue, fun all around. Good storytelling. Agree, 'under the broom' is my favorite part.

ThomG said...

Peggy, you never fail to entertain. Spot-on descriptions. Fun read.

Laurita said...

What an entertaining read. Lot's of fun, this one.

mazzz_in_Leeds said...

Very much fun to be had here!
Rabbit poo and hair in mouth.... mmmm!

G.P. Ching said...

Very fun! The scariest part is it somehow reminded me of my catholic school days when my class was taught by a nun. :) Vivid imagery. Good job!

John Wiswell said...

They're lucky they got another try at a "clean slate" tomorrow. I agree, the hair is freaky. However the whole thing is largely whimsical is a very readable way. This is one of my favorites of yours, Peggy!

quin browne said...

you creeped me out. and the imagry was intense and well done, without being overwhelming...

now, i'm going to go floss.

Marisa Birns said...

Whew! So relieved that tomorrow will bring another day to them!

Today is a very windy day and as I walked about, my hair kept flying about my face and catching in my mouth. Ugh! So story did give the odd shudder!

Love the dialogue, the scenario, and the cackling Sister Harrid. Come to think of it, she reminds me of a nun I used to know at school...