Potions and Witches and Garlic, Oh My!
Warda the witch huffed as a hollow knocking sounded from her front door. “Go away!” she cried.
Most of the time that worked, but not this time. Indeed, instead of the blissful silence Warda had been expecting, she heard a click, then a squeak.
“You do know I can turn you into a toad, do you not?” Warda bellowed in her biggest voice.
“Hello?” A tiny voice asked. An angelic voice.
If she ignored him, he might go away, so Warda turned back to her potion book and scanned the page for the next ingredient. “Dragon Claw,” she said aloud. She had some of that. Warda turned to walk to the shelf behind her and almost stumbled over the little boy standing right in her way.
Ethan—a skinny, blond boy with big blue eyes and dirt smeared on his cheeks—stared up at her with a grin. “Hi, Warda.”
“Get out of the way,” Warda said, sending a half-hearted kick his way.
Ethan scrambled toward a tiny crevasse of safety where the cauldron usually sat. “What are you making?”
“None of your business,” Warda said as she tapped her chin. That Dragon’s Claw had to be around here somewhere.
“It smells like cloves.”
“That’s because there’s cloves in it,” Wanda said. Had she used it all last week?
“It’s at the other end,” Ethan said.
Ethan pointed. “I alphabetized your ingredients last month. The d’s are over there.”
Warda narrowed her eyes and gave the child her most hideous glare.
Ethan ignored it. “Next to the purple jar of Dragon Dung.”
A quick inspection told Warda that the child was correct. She grunted and retrieved the bottle. “Why are you touching my things?”
“Because they’re disorganized.”
“You don’t even know what that means.” Warda took a pinch of Dragon’s Claw out of the container and sprinkled it into the bubbling potion. After a few stirs, the liquid turned bright yellow, and the smell changed from cloves to the wind at the top of a mountain.
“I thought you weren’t going to make healing potions like that anymore,” Ethan said.
“Where did you get that idea?”
“You told me last week.”
Warda sniffed. “I didn’t tell you nothing.”
“You tell me everything.”
Did she? Warda thought about it. The kid was here a lot. She usually ignored him, but she did have a tendency to mutter under her breath.
“So why are you making it?”
“It’s not a healing potion,” Warda said.
“Then what is it?”
This time Warda looked hard at the boy. “None of your business.”
His lower lip stuck out.
Warda turned back to the book to check the final ingredient. When she saw it, she frowned. “Garlic.”
“Over there,” Ethan said helpfully.
“Your knives are in the top drawer.”
Warda had been wondering why she could suddenly only find half of her belongings. She moved to the drawer and pulled it out. When just over half of it jutted past the edge of the wood, the whole thing rocked forward, smashing the contents up against the front panel with a clatter.
“On the left,” Ethan said.
“I’m not looking for a knife,” Warda said.
“Then what?” Ethan asked. The scuff of a shoe told Warda he had emerged from his haven.
The utensils chinged and zinged as she dug through them. “It was just here.”
“What?” Ethan’s blond head crept into Warda’s vision as he peered into the drawer.
Warda began tossing things out. “No. No. No.”
“Stop!” Ethan begged.
“No.” That one hit the caldron with a deep clang. “Nope.” She reached for the next item, then caught a glimpse of the one she had been looking for. “Ah-ha!” She pulled it out.
“What’s that?” Ethan asked.
“A garlic press.”
Warda waved her free hand and returned to the cauldron. “It’s from the future. Very useful.”
“Isn’t that what I said? Now bring me the garlic.”
“The spear shaped leeks.” She held out her hand.
“Oh.” A moment later Ethan placed a bulb in her palm. Then he retreated to his haven.
Warda pulled off a clove of the potent root and stuffed it into the press. With one quick squeeze, and a sickening crunch, the garlic exploded and oozed out the tiny holes in the bottom. “Also good for squishing faerie heads.” A quick glance toward Ethan showed him watching with wide eyes. She dumped the garlic in the pot and stirred.
“You’ve been to the future?”
It took him a moment before he asked another question. “What was it like?”
“And?” Ethan asked.
“And loud. Couldn’t find any peace and quiet.”
“Why did you come back here?”
Warda snorted. “Because, if I don’t train you to be a wizard, bad things will happen.”
“Yes, bad things.” She pointed. “Now get over here and stir.”