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A Magical Misfire

When she isn't reading or writing, Emily Dorffer can usually be found spoiling her cat, baking with her mom, or binge-watching cartoons. Her short stories and poems have appeared in various markets including Breath & Shadow, ARTPOST magazine, Cicada, and Blue Marble Review.

You can read more of her works @sandydragon1 on both Tumblr and Wattpad. You can also download a free disability-themed short story anthology she compiled here: smashwords.com/books/view/801344.

"Hand me your wand and tell me what happened," Principal Woodson said.
Grover clutched the bag containing the shattered remains of an intricately patterned vase closer to his chest. "Please don't expel me, sir," he said between sobs.
"This is just a precaution. Even I have a hard time controlling my magic when I'm upset." Principal Woodson smiled reassuringly. "I'll give it back once you've had time to calm down."
The boy pulled out his wand and handed it over. The wand was so hot to the touch that it left angry red marks on both wizards' hands.
"That must have been quite a spell you cast for your wand to feel like this."
"It was an accident," Grover muttered.
"I believe you. May I see the vase, please?" Principal Woodson opened the bag and extracted a shard as thick as his finger. "I'm surprised you managed to break something so sturdy."
"I was trying to fix it, but--" Grover gulped. His mouth opened and closed, but not a sound came out until he eventually managed to whisper, "It broke."
Principal Woodson examined the bag of shards, but nothing indicated that anything had been wrong with the vase prior to its shattering aside from its design. Its scribble-esque swirls and clashing colors seemed like something even a preschooler would deem too garish and messy. "What were you trying to fix? This looks like it was a fine vase, although its pattern is too ornate for my taste. Mrs. Laurel likes that sort of thing though."
Grover trembled at the mention of his transfiguration teacher's name.
"Not to worry. Mrs. Laurel may be a bit strict," Principal Woodson gave Grover a knowing wink, "but I'm sure she'll calm down once we get her vase fixed and maybe put a few flowers in it for good measure."
The boy's face grew as red as a philosopher's stone as he muttered something under his breath.
"She is the vase!" Grover dissolved into a blubbering mess as tears flew down his face.
Principal Woodson got up and put a hand on the boy's shoulder. "There, there. It'll be okay. At least you didn't turn your teacher into a dog like I did when I was your age. She kept barking at me for weeks!" A chuckle broke through the sobbing. "Now, why don't you go sit outside for a bit? Once you've had some time to calm down, I'll send you to your next class with your wand."
By the time Grover returned to Principal Woodson's office, Mrs. Laurel was back to her usual cranky self, although she smelled of superglue.
The End
This story was first published on Thursday, January 24th, 2019

Author Comments

I've always been fascinated with transformation stories. I can't seem to stop writing them! In fact, the novel I'm currently trying to get an agent for is about a ten-year-old who has to learn how to survive in the wilderness on his own after being turned into a bear.

For this short story, I wanted to explore both the idea of people being turned into inanimate objects and the risks that inevitably come with teaching kids magic. I originally considered making the ending much darker, but I ultimately decided to end the story on a humorous note instead. Poor Grover has dealt with enough stress already!

- Emily Dorffer
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