Taletober 1: Occupational Hazard

Inspired by @alexandraco_illustration

“Was there too much wormwood? Or maybe not enough bat fur?”

She spoke towards her Potions Master’s chair, now occupied by a black cat glaring back at her in silence, and could tell right away that this cat, unlike some she had known, could not speak.

She squinted at the purple liquid that bubbled in her cauldron and knew she must be close. A pinch of something, maybe two somethings, would get her levitation potion back on track. The cat watched her with a tilted head.

“More bat fur!” she decided, grabbing the jar of black fur and prying at the stopper.

The cat leapt onto her worktable and hissed, nearly startling her into dropping the jar. She slowly placed the container back on the counter and quietly said, “It was too much bat fur?”

The cat nudged the jar.

“So more bat fur,” she said. The cat gave a low growl.

“Ah, it was too much bat fur!” Now the cat hissed at her.

“I don’t understand!” she yelled and began to fear she might not pass the examination after all.

Now the cat pawed at the jar. She could see the Potions Master didn’t have much experience as a cat. His clumsy efforts nearly rocked the jar off the work table’s edge. But finally the cat sat back satisfied and nodded towards the jar.

The label now faced the firelight and was fully illuminated. She realized her mistake and blushed, but also felt better because her recipe had been correct after all. She had simply reached for the jar of bat fur but returned to her cauldron with the cat fur. In fact, this explained a lot.

She added the proper amount of bat fur to the cauldron plus a little extra to be safe, then proudly ladled the new potion into a glass wide enough for the cat.

There was a swirl of purple smoke and then her Potions Master stood atop her worktable. His feet began to lift as she offered a stream of apologies but he held up his hand and shook his head with a smile. “Quite alright my dear,” he raised his voice as he floated higher, “it’s simply an occupational hazard!”

#inktober #taletober #inktober2018 #creativewriting #shortstories