It doesn’t matter where you come from. It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor, tall or short, blonde or brunette. You don’t show up to the Blue Diamond Gala dateless.
That’s why I’m here, possibly subjecting myself to future ridicule. Witches and magic aren’t real. But I’ve heard rumor after rumor about Mrs. Scaggs. An herbalist, people around town come to her for homemade remedies for colds, the flu, and other illnesses. But there are also rumors. She gave someone two snake eggs sprinkled with some kind of dust and told them to eat them five days apart. The day after they ate the second egg, they received a promotion at work. There are dozens of stories out there about Mrs. Scaggs. Someone goes to her, tells her about their problem, and they follow her advice. The next thing you know, whatever they needed or wanted happens. Coincidence or something more? I have no idea, but I’m on my last straw. I need a date for the Blue Diamond Gala, and Mrs. Scaggs is my last hope.
I knock on the door, and a small elderly lady answers the door. Wearing half-moon glasses, her white curly hair falls just over her ears. She smiles up at me, and the crow’s feet around her eyes immediately jump out. A light lavender scarf wraps around her neck, over a salmon-colored cardigan.
“Yes?” She smiles up at me, unleashing the wrinkles around her eyes.
I wave. “Hi, Mrs. Scaggs. You don’t know me, but I have a problem. I don’t know if you’ll be able to help me with it, but … I’m all out of options.”
“Oh, come in, dear.” She opens her door, and I step into a quaint living room with a shaggy green throw rug covering old wood floor paneling. Her walls are lined with pictures I’m assuming are her family. From all the talk I hear from everyone about her, and her spooky ways or mystical enchantments, she seems like a sweet grandmother.
“I need a date,” I blurt out.
“To the Blue Diamond Gala. It’s coming up, and I can’t show up without a date. I can’t.”
Putting her finger and thumb to her chin, she nods thoughtfully. “Give me one second.”
Retreating into her kitchen, I hear a few soft clangs of metal meeting metal. Then I smell roses. The scent mixes with something else. Lemon, maybe? It grows quiet and then an enormous eruption sounds.
I run to the kitchen and freeze in my tracks as I see her over a stove. Dark marks cover her face, with ash over her half-moon glasses. But she smiles at me, and her white teeth glow through her ash-covered face. She holds up a tea kettle, waving it slowly. “This should do the trick.”
I watch her step to the side, grabbing a small jar that looks like an ink bottle. Undoing the cap that has an eyedropper attached to it, she pours in the liquid from the kettle into the jar. It’s glowing pink, and I smell the lemon and roses again. Screwing on the cap, she turns and hands it to me.
“Okay, my dear. This should do the trick.”
I hold it closer, inspecting it cautiously. “This? This’ll get me a date?”
She nods, still smiling through her soot-covered face. “A love elixir.”
“Love?” I shake my head furiously. “Oh, no. I don’t need love, just a date.”
“I’m afraid this is the only thing that will do the trick.”
Examining the bottle again, I nod to myself. The hesitancy starts to build inside, unsure if this will really work. I know she’s helped other people, but now that I’m here, I’m wondering if this can really work? I don’t have anything else to lose, though. I have to either take a chance on this working or show up to the gala dateless and be the joke everyone will be talking about until next year’s event.
“Okay.” I reach into my purse. “I’ll take it. How much?”
“Oh no, sweetie. Don’t worry about it.”
“Are you sure?”
“Absolutely.” She nods, then reaches over and gives my hand a squeeze. Her smile fades a touch, and she grows serious. “Only use one drop, though. Any more and the results could be disastrous.”
I hold the bottle closer. The jar is a soft blue, letting some of the glowing pink liquid inside shine through. Pinching my lips together, my eyes narrow. This will work. Who cares if the guy falls in love with me? I don’t need a boyfriend; I just need a date. “One drop?”