How Did That Get There?
by Leanne Fitzpatrick
“Now, I’m not saying it isn’t impressive- especially with the flora and water and those rocks. It looks lovely… But what I’m asking is this: what were you doing? What were you trying to do? And how did you fuck up this badly?”
They stood in the tiny 6’ by 6’ bathroom, nearly a third of which was taken up by the bathtub already and stared in varying stages of shock at the fluorescent orange creature currently using it to great aesthetic as a lurking spot.
“Addendum: What the fuck is it?”
It was this last question that sent the thin shoulders of the apprentice wizard sagging.
“I don’t know,” she said at last, practically falling in a dejected heap upon the toilet lid. “I was just practising the spell and the air cracked and this- thing was in my bedroom!”
A steel-grey pair of eyes rolled heavenward, staring at the ceiling- or more accurately, through it. The imagination ran wild as the owner of the eyes ruminated for a moment on the current and potential state of the room.
“I didn’t mean to,” the girl said quietly. “I just wanted to get better, so you and Dad would be proud of me.”
The steel-grey eyes travelled slowly down from the ceiling to the waif on the toilet seat and the stern expression softened.
“We are proud of you, poppet- but you can’t force magic. It’ll come when you’re ready.”
“But I don’t even have my familiar yet!” she wailed.
They both looked at the thing in the bathtub, the silence stretching out between them.
The thing, for its part, merely glared at them as it lay sandwiched between the rocks.
“It’s very small for a salamander,” the grey eyed one mused eventually.
“It’s not a salamander- it hasn’t got the fyrebrandt.”
“Then it’s certainly not your familiar.”
Despite herself, relief flooded the girls face.
“Though even if it was, your father wouldn’t be happy considering it’s currently camping out in his bath.”
The relief was quickly replaced by a wince.
“Do you think he’ll be angry at me?”
“No poppet. Just grumpy because he can’t have his bath straight away.
“So what do we do now?”
“I’d imagine we go up to your room, find that spell and start trying to reverse it- see where you went wrong and hopefully find out what that thing is before we send it back.”
“You think we can do that?”
“Sure we can. It’s not a thing of our world- once we know how it got here it’ll be easier to send it back to its own realm.”
“Thanks’ Dad- you’re amazing.”
“I know. It’s just one of my many charms.”
He smiled and jerked his head. “Come on. You go get everything tidied away so we can work and I’ll let your dad know our current situation.”
She nodded, smiling again and disappeared upstairs, footsteps pounding up the stairs.
“So small, and yet, such a pet elephant,” he murmured, looking back to the thing in the bath. They stared at one another for a few moments and eventually he sighed, leaving it to its temporary habitat. He pinned a note to the bathroom door warning dire consequences should anyone enter, and made his way upstairs to the war zone that was an apprentice wizard’s bedroom-cum-study.