Promptly Penned is a monthly feature allowing us to create flash fiction from a given prompt. Today's prompt is: S/he showed up at his/her door, soaking wet, bruised and covered in glitter. Also--ignore my lame character naming. It's a weak area.
“Stop blathering on about your wants and needs. We’re sick and tired of hearing you whine and complain.” Delta stormed out of the room, slamming the door behind her.
The sorceress had a foul temper, and an even fouler mean streak. The woman could seriously hold a grudge. For centuries.
Epsilon stood still for what seemed like forever, waiting for Delta to breeze back into the small kitchen, rattling off ingredients she needed to prepare her latest batch of bad mojo for some poor townsfolk. She seemed to always have an agreement to conjure or whip up something or another. Confident she wouldn’t return, the apprentice resumed her chores for the day, running through every word she’d said. What caused Delta to fly off the handle this time?
Didn’t matter. Alpha, Beta, and Gamma would certainly find Epsilon at fault for whatever sent Delta storming out into the starlit night.
Resigned to her fate, Epsilon swept the hearth, stoked the fire, and set about preparing the morning meal. As witches, they were predominantly nocturnal–faring much better under the cover of darkness than in the broad beams of daylight.
But Epsilon yearned for the sun. She longed to feel the rays caress her pale cheeks. Wondered about the warmth of the daylight hours. Sunburn. Tan. Heat of day–instead of the chill of night–seeping into her bones.
Jolting herself back to her current situation, she puttered around the kitchen, deboning and dicing the chicken Master Zeta had used to pay for his weekly youth potion–which was a complete sham. Her mistresses had her boil roots to create a foul-smelling, foul-tasting concoction each week for the desperate magistrate. Epsilon often wondered why he continued the regiment even though his skin continued to wrinkle and his hair continued to streak with silver.
People see what they want to see. As long as there was hope, humans were bound to do any number of strange things.
After adding the bits of pink flesh to the cast iron pot hanging over the fire, Epsilon gathered all manner of edibles she felt would compliment the flavor of the foul. Spreading them across the table in an orderly fashion, she set to work chopping the onion, carrots, and potatoes. Her knife flew rhythmically over the cutting board, mincing herbs she painstakingly selected from the small garden just outside the back door. Finally, she took the tin of wild rice from the shelf and added several handfuls to the mixture.
Epsilon drew upon her inner strength and from Mother Earth to cast a simple movement spell on the long paddle submerged in the cauldron. Stirring dinner was an easy magical energy to expend, and would free her up to do other things.
Things that were expected–in addition to the nightly meal.
Flitting quickly around the small hovel that served to house the five conjurers, Epsilon managed to whisk away every speck of dust and smooth each fabric before she reset the glamor visiting humans assumed was their reality. With a flick of her wrist, the colorless fabrics transformed into rich tapestries. The broken and dilapidated furniture became priceless pieces of history. The dingy walls brightened with jewel-toned pigment, making the small space appear lavish.
With her daily tasks accomplished, Epsilon returned to the hearth–the only place she felt content. Settling onto a small, hard stool, she leaned against the inconsistent stonework warmed by the flames.
With her spell gently swirling the soup–which her elders would no doubt scoff at–her eyes drifted closed and she relaxed for the first time in days.
Tap. Tap. Tap.
Epsilon’s eyes fluttered open, and she took in her surroundings. Still in the peasant-like kitchen, with her magic moving the poor-excuse for dinner. Unfortunately. Someday, she would leave this place and forge her own way in the world. That someday was not this day, however. Epsilon had plans to implement. Preparations to make for her departure.
And, she needed to find the one. He would rescue her from this hellish existence. Take her far away from the evil controlling her since her birth. While she was grateful to the four sisters for taking her in as a babe, she often wondered why they did it, and how they’d acquired her. Whether her mother was still alive and missing her. Wondering about her. Whether she had siblings. Whether they were normal and happy.
Tap. Tap. Tap.
She straightened and strained to determine from where the sound originated.
Tap. Tap. Tap.
The door. Knocking on doors was expected by humans. Witches? Not so much. Visiting dignitaries–members of the council–stopped by infrequently, but they simply appeared. They didn’t bother with doors or pleasantries.
Righting herself and approaching the door with apprehension, Epsilon peered out the sparkling window in the curved door. The nearly-oval, blue monstrosity beckoned humans with its bright hue. They always came to their door–whether seeking magic or shelter.
Huddled outside, with a dark blanket wrapped tightly around itself was a human form. Girding her strength, Epsilon opened the door.
“What can I do for you?” Her voice was barely a whisper. She looked at the person standing before her.
Light shone from beneath its wrap and streamed out of the small opening left for it to see. Epsilon couldn’t make out any of its features but felt calm and able in its presence.
“I– I need help. Can you help me?” a voice croaked from the shroud.
Epsilon searched the countryside for a reason not to help the wretched soul before her but could find none. There was no one–or nothing–to prevent her from providing assistance.
Throwing the door wide, she screwed her courage and uttered, “Come in. We’ll get you straightened away.”
Light poked through the bland, colorless decor and made the stone in the hearth dance with life. It danced with the mica in the sand captured in the crevices of the bricked floor.
“Let’s see what you’ve got going on here, then.” Epsilon approached the being, reaching out to touch the covering, willing herself to allow the person beneath to reveal him–or her–self in their own time.
Fisting the blanket she tugged it away. Brilliant facets of color shone in pinpoints over every surface of the kitchen.
After her vision became used to the blinding display, she could make out features, masculine in nature. She couldn’t believe her luck–the man before her emitted a low hum. Something created for soothing and earning confidence in abilities thinly veiled.
He’d shown up at her door, soaking wet, bruised, and covered in glitter.
He was her ticket out of the hell in which she lived. Her fairy godfather.
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