December 1, 2014

She should not, perhaps, have been banging on the pot quite so hard. But she couldn’t help it. It sounded quite nice, she thought, in accompaniment to the Celestina Warbeck tune on the radio.

“You think you’re quite the wizard”

Bang, bang.

“Got me under your spell.”

Bang, bang.

The wooden spoon, in combination with the copper pot, she thought, sounded quite pleasant. Apparently, Mum did not agree.

“Katie!” she cried. “You stop that racket right now!”

Mum swept a hand through her hair, and went back to the stewpot on the stove. The three-year-old just grinned and went back to it.

“You stole my cauldron…”

Bang, bang, bangity-bang.

“My favourite black hat…”

Bang, bang, bang.

“That is enough!”

The wooden spoon was plucked from her hand and two very determined hands scooped her up under her armpits, lifting her high above the kitchen linoleum. She hung in the air for a moment before being hauled out of the kitchen, where she was firmly planted on the living room carpet.

“Play quietly in here like a good girl, and I’ll come get you when lunch is ready.”

Katie sat for a moment, listening to the tinny warbling from the kitchen radio, decidedly less impressive without her accompaniment. And then a wide grin spread across chubby, three-year-old cheeks.

This was not an opportunity she had expected, but it was a welcome one nonetheless. The fire burned merrily in the grate. It looked almost as ready for an adventure as she felt. She’d been hoping for weeks – just hoping to be left alone in the living room. The little silver dish on the mantelpiece had been winking at her teasingly. And today was her day.

With a good deal of determination, and more than a little grunting, she pulled the wooden chair out from behind the desk, pushing and shoving it right up next to the fireplace. It took some effort, on her part to clamber up onto the chair, but after several tries, somehow she managed.

Finally, it was within reach. She stuck one chubby hand into the silver candy dish on the mantel and emerged with a fistful of silvery powder, exactly as she had known she would.

She’d seen the adults do it over and over again. A fistful of powder, some emerald flame, a spoken word and a whoosh…. And they were gone. She didn’t know where they went, but she was certainly going to find out. She looked at the silvery powder cupped in her palm and hoped it would be enough.

With extra care – and not using her powder-filled right hand, she climbed back down from the chair. It took longer than climbing up, but that was ok – at least she didn’t lose any powder in the process.

Once down, she took a deep breath and a long listen. Mum was still banging around in the kitchen – she could hear running water and the ever-present radio. Katie didn’t know how long she would be – she didn’t know how much time she had. She nodded decisively to herself. Best to do the thing now and get it over with.

With another deep breath, she tossed the fistful of sparkling powder into the fireplace and watched as the flames turned a predictable emerald green. The flames sparkled, lighting up her eyes, which had suddenly grown to the size of saucers…. It worked! She knew it was supposed to work – had seen it work. But somehow she hadn’t quite expected it to work when she did it.

The adults always said something when they stepped into the flame – it was always something different. And the flames always muffled the words so she could never quite make them out. She didn’t have any idea whether this would work, but she had to try.

Stepping forward into the green flames, she closed her eyes and said the only word she could think of.

“Train,” she said, before stepped forward and was swallowed by the bright green cloud.

To be continued….

Ok. So I admit, this is technically a fan fic, although arguably barely a fan fic. Open to discussion. Let me know what you think.

Prompt: Pain Fireplace Train

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