Wrong Spell


“Whaddaya mean, ‘uh-oh?’ Whadja do now?” I spun around to glare at Drew.

“Um, well, I mean… I don’t think this spell does what we thought it would do,” he stammered, still staring at the three urns in front of him.

I pinched the bridge of my nose, counted backward from ten, and took a deep breath. “Okay. So far nothing has blown up. This is good. Very good. So, which spell are you talking about?” I asked.

Drew finally pulled his gaze from the urns and turned toward me. “This one. The grimoire you sto… er, found, claims that the spell would reanimate ashes,” he said.

“Yeah, yeah. I remember. We’re using it to bring back these three legendary swordsmen. We need their help if we’re gonna finish this mission.” I held in a sigh. If Drew got too nervous, he’d stop talking and right now, I needed him to talk. He was the magus, not me. I was just a thief. A thief with big plans, but no magic. I needed Drew.

“Yeah. Right. That one. Well, I think the author of the grimoire had a different definition of the word ‘reanimate’ than we do,” he said slowly.

I stared at him. What the hell was he talking about. Reanimate. Bring back to life. Bring back from the dead. What else could it mean?

A small ‘clink’ from one of the urns caught my attention. The middle urn was swaying rhythmically back and forth. I couldn’t rip my gaze away as first the urn to the left and then the one on the right started swaying in time with the middle one.

“Drew? What’s going on? I thought you said the spell didn’t work like we thought it would? Seems like it’s working. Looks like those ashes are reanimating themselves,” I said.

“Yeah, boss. I know. But what I meant was, I think the grimoire’s author defined ‘animation’ a bit differently. Animation, like animated, lively…” he trailed off.

I looked at him. “Lively?” I asked, my voice coming out in a croak.

Drew’s face fell. “Yeah. Lively. Not alive again.”

A cloud of grey dust flew up from the mouth of each urn, joining together and then spinning and twirling in the air.

I watched the ashes. “So, lively. Like dancing around… not like reforming a body,” I said.

“’Fraid not,” Drew responded, gazing slack-mouthed at what I could only describe as dancing ashes. “Just lively ashes.”

My knees gave out and I sat down hard on the floor. “Aw, crap. We are so screwed.”


I feel like I’m sorta back in the game even though this short bit was all I was able to come up with. Lots going on here and I’ve let the writing slack. Not gonna do that any more. This week’s More Odds Than Ends prompt came from AC Young: The tome claimed that with this spell the caster would be able to reanimate ashes. My prompt, The cat ignored all the safety warnings, went to Fiona Grey.

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