Short Story Sunday 290: Potion

Short Story Sunday: Potion | Creative Writing | Short Story | Flash Fiction | RachelPoli.com

“What do you think would happen if I put the syrup into the mixture as well?” Margo wondered aloud. She held up a small glass bottle of brown liquid. She examined it as though the syrup itself would answer her.

She was experimenting and had to admit she had no idea what she was doing. Part of her homework assignment was figure out what various parts of a potion did to make the potion a potion – and to make it a good one. Margot had a list of ingredients and a recipe for a certain potion spell.

Ideally, her professor wanted her to recreate the spell and experiment by changing the amounts of each ingredient she put in or omitting some ingredients all together. Every part of a potion down the exact amount needed was important to every single spell. Even one little extra drop could change the entire outcome. It was her job to see what each ingredient did for a potion – or for this particular one – and see what her results had in common with the other witches in her class. Everyone had a different recipe they were supposed to work with and together they could find out if some ingredients helped with the spell or just added flavor.

Margot wanted to make sure her experiment was the best. She didn’t want to follow the exact recipe. She knew it would be cool to try to create her own potions and spells and see what each ingredient did to her own creations. (No, maple syrup was not one of the original ingredients she needed to use for the recipe her professor had assigned to her.)

She was giddy. She was wondered if she would stumble upon a brand new potion and create an awesome spell that no one had discovered yet. If that was the case, she wouldn’t need to finish school. She’d be famous!

Ruby stood on the other side of the room standing over her own cauldron over the fireplace. She looked over her shoulder and gave Margot a worried look as soon as she noticed the syrup.

“You know,” she said, “you should really follow the recipe our professor gave you. She’s not going to appreciate you not following her directions. You don’t know what could happen if you throw random amounts of syrup into your pot.”

Margot looked away from the syrup and grinned at her roommate. “Yeah, exactly. We don’t know. That’s the whole point of an experiment. Isn’t it exciting?”

“Isn’t what exciting?”

“Not knowing what’ll happen.”

“No, it’s not.” Ruby said gruffly. She turned away from her own work and glared at Margot. “I swear, if you blow up our cottage…”

“Don’t worry about that.” Margot laughed waving her hand dismissively. “Our professor wants us to experiment and that’s what I’m doing. Humans do it all the time. Why would she assign this to us if she didn’t expect us to get out of our comfort zones a bit?”

“Humans end up killing themselves and each other. Humans make mistakes all the time.” Ruby countered. “I don’t know how they do it since they don’t even have magic, but they manage.”

Margot stifled a laugh. “They manage to screw up because they’re stupid.”

“Agreed, but you’re being pretty stupid right now.” Ruby stated putting her hands on her hips. “Seriously, don’t put the syrup in. What other ingredients do you have over there that you’re not supposed to have?”

Margot hummed as she looked at the mess of ingredients on their kitchen counter. She paused for a moment trying to come up with an answer that wasn’t a lie but didn’t exactly tell Ruby the truth either. Pretty much all the ingredients she had, she wasn’t supposed to.

Their professor had given them small sample bags of all the ingredients they would need for their assigned recipe. Even though she only wanted them to experiment with the recipe three times, Margot had used up all of her sample on the first go. She had to improvise.

She had gone down to the kitchens late one night and took some more ingredients that she needed. It was innocent at first, but she saw all the other food and potion-making ingredients that she couldn’t help herself. This was the whole point of an experiment, right? Her professor should be proud of her for thinking outside the box and Ruby should be jealous right now.

“Hey,” Magot said finally answering her roommate, who was staring her down at this point. “Did you know that if you get hungry in the middle of the night, you can sneak down to the kitchens and get whatever you want for a snack? No one locks the kitchens and there’s no one on duty. We can go down at midnight tonight if you want and I’ll show you.”

“No,” Ruby said firmly. “I know that’s just code for you stole the ingredients that you’re not supposed to have.”

Margot sighed. “I really was hungry that first night. And I did need some extra ingredients because I used all mine up from what our professor gave us. I meant well. I still mean well.”

“That’s all well and fine, but you should know that every single potion uses just a pinch of every ingredient.” Ruby said.

“Really?” Margot asked scratching the top of her head. “No wonder I’ve failed all the tests…”

Ruby rolled her eyes and turned back to her cauldron. She peered inside and used her wand to stir the contents of the pot.

“What are you making over there? How did you change it from the original recipe?” Margot asked. She stood on her tip-toes to try to see inside the cauldron, but she was too far away and Ruby was blocking her view.

“Honestly, I’m not sure what this is. Our professor gave me a recipe I don’t recognize. I added an extra pinch of mint though, so we’ll see what happens. I figured, for my next try, I’ll omit the mint completely.” Ruby explained.

“Mint?” Margot repeated. She looked down at the maple syrup in the bottle, the orange and banana peel she had, and a few other random food items she had gathered from the kitchen.

“You know,” she started, “humans eat this stuff on a regular basis. We’re kind of wasting their food.”

Ruby grunted. “Says the witch who wanted to toss a whole bottle of maple syrup into her cauldron…”

“No, really.” Margot said ignoring the comment. “How come we waste the humans’ food like this? What good does it do us?”

“We have magic, Margot.” Ruby said exasperated. She turned away from her cauldron looking over her shoulder at her roommate. “Why do you always have to question it? This is the way we are and we use human food among a ton of other things to make potions and spells.”

“Right, but why don’t humans use their food to make potions and spells? The food is good at it.” Marot stated. She sat down on a stool in the kitchen and furrowed her brows deep in thought.

“Humans don’t have magic. Humans don’t even know that magic exists.” Ruby explained slowly. She acted as though Margot wouldn’t understand what she was trying to say, but they had this conversation so many times. Ruby was tired of it.

Margot was fascinated with humans. Her favorite class was Human Studies and she couldn’t understand how a species could be so stupid and delightful at the same time. They were interesting in the way they lived without magic and yet they were completely complicated in the way they used green paper and metal coins to get what they wanted. If Margot wanted anything, she casted a spell or made it herself. Sure, humans didn’t have the magic ability, but why didn’t they have that? Why didn’t the whole world have magic ability and why did they keep it a secret from the rest of the world?

Ruby was now standing in Margot’s face. She had her index finger up and pointed wagging it back and forth. “I know what you’re thinking.” She said. “I don’t want to hear any of it. We have this conversation too many times.”

“I didn’t have the conversation with you. I’m having it with me inside my head.” Margot defended herself. She leaned back a little to get Ruby’s finger out of her face. Ruby walked back over to her cauldron shaking her head.

The room was silent for a moment as Ruby got back to work on her assignment and Margot, sitting beside her simmering pot, still thought about the humans.

“What do you think would happen if a human knew about magic?” Margot piped up.

Ruby grunted hitting her forehead against the rim of her cauldron. Margot winced.

“Isn’t that hot?”

“Yes, but I don’t care…”

“Ruby, I’m serious.” Margot sighed.

Ruby stood straight and looked at her roommate, a red line across her forehead. “I’m serious too. We’ve had this conversation many times before.”

“Well, have it again with me.” Margot replied with a shrug of her shoulders.

Ruby sighed. She snapped her fingers and turned off the fire underneath her cauldron. It was obvious she wasn’t finishing her homework tonight. “If humans knew about magic, they’d try to take it from themselves. Or they’d be afraid of us and try to get rid of us.”

“How do you know that would actually happen though?” Margot wondered.

“It’s in all the textbooks. We learned about it in class, specifically Human Studies which I thought you paid most attention to.”

Margot nodded. “No, you’re right. But I don’t get who wrote those textbooks. If humans really don’t know about magic, then how can those experts say how they’ll react? Did they ever experiment with it? Did they ever tell human and then erase their memory once the human reacted poorly?”

Ruby buried her face in her hands. “I wish the professor never taught you what an experiment was… This is getting way out of hand.”

“You have to agree with me, Ruby.” Margot said sadly. “You know I’m making sense.”

“I mean, I guess so.” Ruby looked back up with a shrug. “But there’s nothing we can do about it now. Humans live the way they live and we live the way we live. End of story. Why do you need to make such a case out of it?”

“Make a what out of it?”

“Never mind…”

“I think we should find a human and talk to them about us.” Margot stated blunty.

Ruby’s eyes grew nearly popping out of her head. “I’m sorry, what? You’re not serious, are you?”

“No, I’m serious.”

“Margot, no! There’s no way we can seek out a human and tell them about our entire race. We could wipe all the witches out of existence!”

“Nah, that wouldn’t happen.” Margot said waving her hand dismissively. “This will be a fun experiment. If our professor wants us to try new things, then this would be perfect. We could live in peace and harmony with the humans too.”

Ruby narrowed her eyes and folded her arms across her chest. “And what if we don’t live in peace and harmony? What if the humans freak out about us?”

Margot drew in a sharp breath. She cracked a smile. “I guess we’ll cross that bridge if we get there.”

“When we get there.”

“If,” Margot corrected. “You don’t know the outcome of the experiment until you test it out.”

Ruby rolled her eyes. She seriously needed to talk to her professor about this. “Why do you want to talk to a human so bad? Why do you want to expose us?”

“Not expose us,” Margot shook her head innocently. “To inform them. To educate us. Humans are fascinating and I think we’re taught a bunch of lies about them. Who knows what humans must think of us?”

“I don’t want them to think of us. They don’t know we exist.”

“They should know we exist.”

“Why?”

“Because we know they exist.”

Ruby clamped her mouth shut. While she hated to admit that her roommate might have a point, she still didn’t believe that it made any sense. She knew Margot was fascinated with the humans, but she never imaged Margot would ever want to meet one.

“Ruby?” Margot asked.

“Yes?”

“Wanna go to the Human World with me?”

“No!”

Margot grinned. She stepped forward taking Ruby’s hands into her own. “Please? We can meet real humans and interact with them. We don’t have to tell them we’re witches. Not right away, anyway.”

“We don’t tell them at all because we’re not going. We don’t even know how to get the Human World.” Ruby countered.

“I do,”

“Of course you do…”

“I’ve researched it.” Margot stated proudly. Then she frowned and let go of Ruby’s hands. “Alright, I guess I’ll go alone. It would have been fun to share it with you though.”

Margot turned her back and headed for the door.

“Wait, you’re leaving now?” Ruby asked.

Margot looked over her shoulder. “It’s dark. Everyone should be in their cottages or asleep. Now’s the best time.”

Without waiting for a response, Margot left the cottage and disappeared into the night.

Ruby stood in silence for a moment before rolling her eyes and dashing out the door. She knew well enough Margot would get herself into trouble if she went alone.

“Wait for me!” she called.

Words: 2,251

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