Chapter 16: Of Lurking Creatures and Herbs
Written by: Whitney Emeigh
“You can keep squatting inside that little boy, but I’m going to get to the bottom of this eventually. You might as well tell me so that we can get this over with.” The foreboding in her chest had disappeared. Now she just felt annoyed. There was little power emanating from this creature.
The creature lisped and wheezed inside the boy’s body, but didn’t manage to get any more words through his lips. It seemed to have exhausted itself for the moment. Adette had no doubt that it could cause quite a bit of havoc given some time to adjust. It wasn’t going to get any. There was just the thing for just this sort of situation. Hopefully she had the herbs for it prepared.
Adette turned her back on the boy and made for the stairs, softly closing the door behind her. At the foot of the stairs, Samantha was waiting. Her face told Adette that she was trying not to be hopeful.
“I think I might have an idea,” Adette said with a smile. Samantha nodded. “It might take me a little while to make. Could I come back tomorrow and give it a try?”
“You can come back at midnight if you think it will help,” Samantha said. “Come on back to the shop for your packages and then off with you.”
When Adette made her way through the front gate, a brown face peered around the porch. Karl’s doggy grin made Adette smile.
“It’s about time,” he said accusingly, “I’ve been locked out of the cottage all this time.”
Adette rolled her eyes and made her way to the front door.
“It’s a nice day. I hardly think you minded lying in a sunny spot in the garden.” The lock clicked and turned over. Wood squeaked and came lose. Inside, the kitchen still smelled of distillations and pounded herbs. Karl clicked his way across the floor and made for the one patch of sunlight still spearing the darkness of the kitchen. He lowered himself down and surveyed the kitchen. Even without looking at Adette, he still managed to look expectant.
Adette placed the package of fabrics on the table. Karl eyed it from the floor.
“What’s all that.”
“I thought that since that bubble had ruined this dress, I might go into the local tailor’s shop for some fabric. It just so happened that the owner was the mother of the boy.”
Herbs hung in various states of dryness from the ceiling. With practiced ease, Adette began pulling bundles of things down. No point in leaving what was to be done if it could be helped. She separated the things she needed and placed them on the counter. The rest she stored away in a cupboard for later chopping, seeding, and grinding.
Her hand found the last bundle and a frown spread across her face. It hadn’t quite dried properly, but it’d have to do. Adette grabbed the bundle and wiggled a few stems lose to add to the pile on the counter.
“And?” Karl asked impatiently.
“The mother is really nice. She’s apparently the center of some nasty gossip in town. Samantha seemed genuinely happy to talk to someone who wasn’t going to judge her. After we talked for a little bit, she allowed me to see her son. The creature is dug into the boy quite deep, but I remember a potion we had to learn our first year that might do some good. It’s not really for expelling spirits from humans, but I think with some modification it might just work.”
“What is it made for expelling spirits from?”
Adette turned with a wince and looked at Karl. She turned and marched across the kitchen and back out into the garden.
Karl heaved himself up from the floor. “Adette?”
“It’s made for expelling them from objects.” She rounded on him guiltily. “I think I know how to fix it though. None of the main ingredients are toxic, so that shouldn’t pose a problem.”
“Poisoning the boy would get rid of the creature, but I hardly think that killing him would win you any good will.” Karl clicked across the room behind her. Adette shot him an exasperated look over her shoulder, but didn’t disagree with him.
Basket in one hand; sheers in the other, Adette made her way back out into the bright sunshine. Karl followed as far as a warm patch of grass and then watched her from there.
“You snake. You didn’t tell me that you’d met Maximillian.” Adette just managed not to snip her own finger off. Her eyes flicked across the herb garden to where Karl was sunning himself.