Get caught up with the story – here
Still no working title. Maybe y’all should start yelling out ideas in the comments ’cause I’m stumped.
Her dignity lasted approximately three minutes.
“Tell me again. I wasn’t awake the first time.” Mistress Nora’s hair was a puff of white, and her face was pale in the moonlit corridor, but she gracefully followed Sharna up the stairs like candle smoke.
Sharna took a deep breath and explained once more. “I was going to work in the lab because I couldn’t sleep. When I opened the door, a thief was standing between the lab tables. When she saw me, she grabbed a bunch of seeds and ran. I tried to stop her, but it didn’t work. She got away.” It didn’t sound too bad when she put it that way, she thought.
“Did you try to stop her?”
“Yes, but…well, it didn’t quite work. You’ll see.”
“Ah. Yes. Of course.” She sighed and frowned at Sharna.
“I did try, but it was just some seeds. I didn’t think…” Sharna started to explain, but Mistress Nora spoke right over her.
“You didn’t think. I’m aware, Sharna. This seems to be a frequent problem of yours. Those seeds were property of the Mansion, and what if she managed to take some of The Stalks?”
Tears threatened with a sting in the back of her throat. She would not cry again. They always got it wrong. Everyone seemed to think she didn’t think, but the problem was she thought too much. Twenty different retorts sprang to her lips, but she kept them pressed firmly together. She wouldn’t be goaded into disrespecting a Mistress; she’d only end up in worse trouble.
Mistress Nora stepped into the lab and shook her head at the slippers embedded in the floor. “You have to learn to think a few steps ahead, not to mention bigger. All your spells seem to only carry the thought and weight of the initial idea. It’s amateur. For instance, Hold!”
Sharna toppled forward and caught herself on her fingertips as her legs below the knee were gripped by a splash of tile. A loud crack echoed off the walls. Her feet and calves were cupped in a lacy embrace of stone chips grown from the floor. She wobbled herself upright, trying to will herself not to blush. This level of instruction was a common feature of her days at the Mansion. Whenever anyone messed up a spell, it seemed Sharna was always the one who got to be the example. It had grown old several years ago, and had grown intolerable of late.
“Well, shit.” She turned to fix Sharna with a glare. “You’ll never earn Red now. The Stalks are gone. There’s no way the Doe Mothers will let this pass.”
The tile skidded back down Sharna’s legs, and she tried not to sag at the knees with its sudden retreat. The floor was unmarked, but Sharna wouldn’t forget the image of the stone cobwebbing her skin.
“But it wasn’t my fault! I didn’t…it was…” Sharna was crying now, and her arguments all clogged in her throat. She turned and ran back to her room before she came unraveled.
(thanks, and see you next week!)
Just a heads-up. I’ve got a fascinating interview coming on Monday, so keep watch for it.