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Potion Problems

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Hey look! Another Flash Fiction! Unfortunately, I failed to get this one finished on time (stupid time zone differences) but I still wanted to post it. This week’s challenge: receive a list of random objects from @youarecarrying and use each on in a 2K word story. My objects were a fragment, a thin piece of paper, a bag, a bottle of cough medicine, a fiery orb, a green silk ribbon, and a dark potion. It’s a pretty simple, somewhat silly story. Enjoy! And of course, any thoughts/comments are appreciated!

Potion Problems

“Drink the potion, and all your troubles will fade away!” The witch’s words bounced around in my head as I trudged through the waist deep snow. I hugged myself, trying to hold as much warmth in, but my efforts were wasted, for I was wearing nothing but a thin flannel shirt, jeans, and old tennis shoes in a full on blizzard. My teeth chattered as I pushed through snowdrifts as high as my shoulders. My heavy breaths created large clouds of fog that seemed to stick to my face as I moved through them. The stinging on my ears became unbearable, so I reluctantly uncrossed my arms and began to rub some heat back into them. I could feel liquid running from my nose and down to my beard, creating a snot-sicle almost a foot long. I tried to ignore it and pushed myself harder.

Up ahead, the blowing snow slowed just enough for me to see a large rock formation. I couldn’t see the top through the storm, but I could faintly make out a small opening only a few feet off the ground. A cave! I recrossed my arms and tried to quicken my pace, but the wind blew harder, and I trudged slowly forward.
When I finally stood before the rocks, I discovered that the cave was higher than I had guessed. The bottom of the opening was about a foot above my head. The opening was narrow, but I looked just wide enough to squeeze through. I clapped my numb hands together to beat some feeling back into them. Taking a deep breath, I placed my hands to the rocks and felt for any handhold I could find. It took every ounce of strength left in my body to pull myself up. As I climbed, I cursed a certain witch who’s promises seemed so good only a couple of hours ago. My money problems brought me to her doorstep, and now I’d give anything to cry over my empty bank account while sitting in my warm apartment. I could almost feel my hands wrapping around a steaming cup of tea- my foot slipped and my daydream disappeared. I barely caught myself as I slid down the rocks, banging my knees and chin on each one as they passed. When I stopped, I looked down to see that I was back on the ground. My groan sounded faint through the storm, but I reached up and resumed my climb towards the cave.

Finally my head was level with the opening. After another few pulled upward I practically threw myself into the small hole. The entrance was very narrow, but just beyond I could make out a large room. I pulled myself to my feet and studied the jagged rocks standing between myself and the room beyond. The passageway was roughly man shaped, and I figured that if I turned myself sideways, I’d squeeze right in. Moving forward, I began to push my frozen body between the rocks, but almost immediately my head hit upon the sides. I tried again, but my head was halted as if by some invisible force field. I didn’t feel the cold stone against my skin as it hit, but something was keeping me from passing through. I raised my hand to my head and immediately felt a boney horn protruding through my head. In a panic, my other hand flew up and discovered another horn. I cried out as I poked them with my fingers. Knocking them against the walls produced a thunk sound that rattled my senses and made the rocks around me begin to spin. I took a deep breath. Horns, that’s a new one. But I’m still freezing, and I need to get into that room. I contemplated how I would get my extra large head through the space. Finally, taking a step back, I crouched down and crawled through the widest part that rose about three feet off the floor.

After dragging my legs through, I pulled myself to the side of the entrance and shivered. Stupid witch! Stupid me for thinking she would fix my problems! I smacked myself with my open hand once, twice, three times, but the third time felt like I had slammed a sharp stone against my forehead. I cried out in pain, and then shock as I saw what had happened. Where my hands used to be now were hooves; small, cloven hooves with wiry hairs covering my wrists and slowly growing up my arms.

I screamed. At least I think I did. Anyone would scream if their hands suddenly became hooves. My breaths were quick and shallow. My eyes darted from one hoof to the other and back again. Suddenly, one of my tennis shoes plopped against the floor, the sock under it hanging limply against the thin hoof-tipped leg now inside. I watched as the other shoe followed suit and I did what every normal person would do if they just watched their feet turn to hooves: I screamed again.

Horns? Hooves? What the hell was happening to me?

Just then, a fiery orb moved slowly through the entrance to my shelter. It sat suspended in air for a moment until it exploded, sending pieces of what looked like black glass flying everywhere. I heard a faint click as a fragment bounced of one of my horns and finally came to a rest between my now useless shoes. Before me stood the witch, her size greatly reduced, but I could still make out the green silk ribbon braided through her fiery red hair. The pint-sized witch spun slowly as she examined the room. She wore a huge grin on her face, and, had I had hands, I might have just smacked her once or twice. But I didn’t have hands, and I was still in a state of shock over the loss of my extremities. So, with eyes wide and mouth gaping, I stared at her.

As she finished her examination of the room, she giggled. As if that wasn’t maddening enough, as she saw my multiple transformations, she clapped her hands and danced a jig right in front of me. “That potion sometimes gets ahead of itself! Usually transformations don’t begin for a day or so, but oh! It’s beautiful!” She gestured at me and laughed.

“You?” I sputtered, finally finding my voice. “You did this?”

“No, dear, you did.” Her voice was filled with an excitement reserved for massive accomplishments, like finishing a marathon, or taking the top prize at a middle school science fair.

“No I didn’t!” I was yelling. She smiled even wider, almost breaking her face in two.

“You drank the dark potion, didn’t you?”

“What? Yes! Because you told me it would make my problems go away!”

“And they have! Money is a common human problem. Goats, on the other hand, have no use for money!”

“GOAT?” The word came out as more of a squeak. I lunged at the small figure giggling before me, but I felt nothing as I passed right through her. I turned around just in time to see her image materialize once again. She wasn’t really there in the cave with me, only her projection shared my miserable space. At that time I wanted desperately to plant a hoof solidly up her backside. I growled instead.

She rolled her tiny eyes and me and, with a flourish of her hand, and thin piece of paper appeared above her. I recognized it instantly as the contract I signed just before I drank that vile mixture she set before me. “The contract clearly states, in Section 32.1.B., that ‘the supporting witch or warlock is not liable for any transformations, mutations, deformations, etc. (whether human or animal) for the remainder of the client’s existence’. Section 42.5.9 goes on to say ‘while the dark potion is conjured by the selling witch or warlock, it has a mind of its own and will do at it pleases.’ Pesky potions, wouldn’t you say, dear?” She smiled gleefully at my gaping, goat-like appearance. Suddenly her eyes grew wide and she laughed aloud. Reluctantly, I raised a hoof to my ears and sighed. They were now big and droopy, and covered in the short, wiry hair that covered my arms and legs.

“Change me back!” I cried, my tears dampened the new hair on my face, and I screamed as I felt my nose grow into that of a goat’s.

“Now, what would I want to do that?” She giggled and waved her hand at the floating paper, which then rolled itself up and vanished into thin air. “You asked to be free of your problems, and the potion has done just that! I would say I have sufficiently fulfilled my end of the bargain! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I believe my next appointment is trying to call! Ta-ta!” With a wave of her fingers, the witch disappeared, leaving behind nothing but a faint ringing sound. My breaths were shaky and shallow as I sat against the rock. The ringing slowly grew louder as I contemplated my situation, until finally it drowned out the roaring of the storm outside. I shook my head as it increased in intensity until-

I bolted upright in my bed, the alarm ringing at full blast on the table nearby. I lurched clumsily in an attempt to silence the clock, knocking it off the table as I did so. I looked at my hands- hands again! Instantly my fingers were feeling through my hair, but there were no horns to be found. I jumped out of bed and ran into the bathroom to examine my face in the mirror. No goat face! I began to laugh hysterically, immediately brushing off my goat transformation as a horrible dream.

As I laughed at my reflection, my eyes found a bottle of cough medicine on the counter. I vaguely remembered drinking it right before I went to bed the night before. Could the medicine have anything to do with that ridiculous dream? I snatched up the bottle and, without pausing to read the label on the back, I threw it into the empty bag in the trashcan. I quickly knotted the plastic and ran from my apartment. I ran down the three flights of stairs, jumping over three at a time and straight out the back exit where the dumpsters were. A garbage truck was emptying the closest dumpster to the door, so, without thinking, I hurled the cough medicine into the back of the truck. With a final salute, I turned and panted my way back to my apartment, this time taking the stairs one at a time.

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