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Rated: E · Short Story · Contest Entry · #2201586
Journey Through Genres contest entry September 2019

Izzy cringed.

Her cane thumped as she made her way out the door, her purchase squirming in her pocket. The clerk thought she should have put it in a box.

Item number two has been procured. Item one was safely tucked away in her freezer. That frosty little critter was responsible for this whole idea in the first place.

Item number three was currently being produced in her top left pocket. When the little mouse had moved into her coat pocket last fall she thought it was cute and let it stay. Eventually she named the critter Minnie, fed it tidbits of this and that, and every once and awhile she emptied the pocket of all the droppings, making sure to give Minnie some clean bedding as recompense. She didn't know then that she would need those droppings for a vengeful curse. Even so, she should still have enough by the time everything else was ready.

Only ten more to go to have all the ingredients for her potion.

Izzy shuffled and thumped her way to the park in the center of town. She should be able to obtain several of the needed items from there. "One stop shopping", she whispered with a chuckle.

A man strolled past her with his rottweiler in tow. Izzy turned to follow them hoping for a lovely gift from the rottie. She didn't have to wait long before the dog squatted next to the trail. Izzy hurried forward before the man could respond, dug out a well used hanky from one of her many pockets, used it to carefully pick up the very ripe gift, then proceeded to tie the hanky securely, all under the amazed eyes of the dog owner. She stuffed her package into a pocket as she turned to walk away.


Izzy frowned.

Without a backward glance she continued on her mission. Nine to go.

She wandered over to several pine trees that surrounded a rest area. Carefully she searched the ground. Most of the pine cones were broken from careless feet. Even so she managed to find two unscathed, she needed three. Searching the trees, she found one barely within reach. Picking up her cane she gave it a swat. The cone flew from the tree smack into a lady sitting on one of the benches in the rest area. It didn't appear to hit her very hard so Izzy smiled an apology and quickly retrieved her prize.


Slowly placing the intact cones in a pocket she deliberately turned and walked away. Eight left.

She headed for the children's park area, carefully checking in and around the trash bins on her way. The second bin yielded a prize, the purple wad stuck to the top where a missed shot had left it. Plucking a piece of paper from the trash she wrapped it around the gum and yanked it free. She placed the item in her top right pocket, as far from Minnie as possible.

Seven to go.

The fifth trash bin, the one right next to the playground, gave her another piece to the puzzle. Daintily picking up the stick she looked closely at the sucker, it had been sucked on quite generously, leaving a smidge of sucker on the end. This would do nicely, saliva being the important part. Grabbing a bit of wrapper out of the trash she carefully bundled the little gem and put it in the pocket with the gum.

She turned towards the playground to find several children gaping at her. Slowly she retrieved the baggy from one of her pockets that she had brought specifically for this purpose. She hobbled to the center of the playground, filled her baggie with sand, and turned to leave.


The one word became a chorus as all the children chimed in.

With as much dignity as she could muster, she thumped away from the children's park.

Five left.

She trudged her way to a secluded section of the park. Pulling her hedge trimmers from a pocket she got down on her hands and knees and proceeded to trim the grass as close to the ground as possible. Once she had trimmed a nice swath around her, she figured that would be enough, and reached into her pocket for a baggie. That's when she realized that she had only brought the one, the one she used for the sand. Putting the trimmers back into the pocket she had retrieved them from, she continued checking her pockets, looking for an empty one.

After much searching she finally found an empty pocket on the inside of her coat and proceeded to stuff all the grass clippings into it.

Down to four.

Three of them could be found at her house and the fourth on the way there.

Izzy fairly bounced on her way home.

She stopped at a corner house a few doors down from hers. The woman that lived there loved roses. The yard was filled to overflowing with every color rose imaginable. Today Izzy was only interested in the red ones. Tomorrow or the next day, whenever she decided to reverse the curse, she would need a white one.

She went to the fence, browsed the many colors until she found a nice red one, then neatly plucked the head right off. This way she wouldn't have to bother with the thorns. Her prize snugly cupped in her hand she turned to go home.


The rose lady glared at her from the sanctity of her yard. Izzy pursed her lips and sauntered on by.

Immediately upon entering her house she started a fire in the hearth and set the cauldron on to boil, proud of herself for preparing everything before she went collecting.

Emptying her pockets, she arranged everything on the table in order according to the potion.

Bat - intact, doesn't have to be fresh - as she retrieved it from the freezer she smiled remembering how she had found it, already dead, laying on her front lawn. A sign.
Lizard tail - gently removing this mornings purchase from her pocket, she set it on the table, then viciously grabbed its tail. And viola! One fresh lizard tail. She set the lizard on the floor knowing it would find her house quite comfortable and went back to work.
Dog stool - firm not soft - the rottie did not disappoint!
3 Pine cones - undamaged - she rechecked them to make sure.
Spider - can be flattened - Izzy took a deep breath. It was going to be difficult to choose which of her pets would be sacrificed for the potion. Best to wait until it's time.
Grass trimmings - handful, fresh cut - looking at her pile of clippings, she wondered how much is a handful? Everyone has different sized hands after all. Maybe it would be best to just throw it all in.
Used sucker - bits of saliva important - the wrapping paper she had used to wrap it in was now firmly attached. It shouldn't hurt anything to have that extra bit of paper in there.
Fine sand - about 1 cup - Izzy pulled out her measuring cup and dumped the bag of sand into it, happily, it overflowed.
Old wad of gum - any variety - another with an added bit of paper, there was nothing to be done about it now.
Mouse droppings - about 1/2 cup - she deftly added today's accumulation to the pile, it was not quite enough. Maybe it would be okay.
Rubber band - she picked up the rubber band she had found this morning.
Lock of Witches hair - to exclude from curse - not sure how big a lock actually is Izzy grabbed a handful of her hair, wrapped the rubber band around it, grabbed the hedge trimmers that had been in her pocket, and lopped it off right above the band. Everything nice and neat.
Red rose - to curse or White rose - to reverse (Bat not required for reversal) - good thing she wouldn't need a bat to reverse the spell, she had no idea where to find one.

Everything was ready. While she waited for the pot to boil she contemplated which of her pets would be the sacrifice, and then there was the reversal which would require another. She will lose two.

As soon as the pot started to boil she tossed everything in. Reaching up above the mantel she grabbed Leslie by a hind leg and quickly flung her into the cauldron. A tear rolled down her cheek as she slowly stirred her concoction.

The potion boiled, the fumes climbed up the chimney and spread about the town.

Izzy sprang from her bed the next morning, rushed through her morning chores then burst through the front door in the waiting sunshine.

There was no one about.

She walked to the corner and nearly ran into a kid on a skateboard. At least part of it was still a child, it had the spindly legs and clawed feet of a bat! Then they were all around her. A mother carried her baby with a large veined bat wing. A man flew overhead his briefcase in hand. A group of children ran past, one had a little bat head with red hair protruding in all directions, another with giant bat ears on a normal child's head!

Everywhere she looked there were human / bat hybrids and they didn't even notice that they had changed!

Something has gone terribly wrong!

"I really am a ... a ..." her lower lip trembled.

Spinning on her heel, she retraced her footsteps from yesterday, collecting once again.

Reaching the rose lady's house, she searched through the white roses, she wanted to get it right this time. She popped the flower from the stem and turned to go home.


And there stood the rose lady staring at Izzy with beady little bat eyes and two large bat ears protruding from the sides of her head.

Izzy gaped.

Izzy glared.

Izzy headed home, her prize cupped in the palm of her hand, "I wonder where I should look for a bat..."

Word count = 1674
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