TITLE: Unwittingly Charmed
GENRE: YA fantasy
Tuuli’s hand skimmed over the shallow bowls, pale in the stingy light. She reached for the contents of the last dish, praying to Tapio, the god of the forest, that her lilyweed bulb was at least free of bugs and bruises and disease.
She glanced at the hourglass on Professor Kolme’s desk. Maybe five minutes left. Just enough time to complete the final step before the end of the Unusual Properties of Wildflowers practical quiz. Only then would she be able to escape to a classroom where the hair on the back of her neck didn’t stand erect, anxious at every sound that reverberated between the four stone walls.
The wooden handle of her knife felt chilled in her hand as she chopped the bulb into miniscule pieces. Her movements were slow and deliberate, so not to let the blade slip and wreak havoc on her flesh, as she was apt to do. The knife had been neglected for what looked like more years than she cared to imagine. Its dull edge, on several attempts, skidded off the slippery skin of the lilac-colored bulb, leaving nary a mark.
A faint smile touched her lips. She had succeeded without incident, and in spite of her trembling hand and the lackluster blade, the pieces were perfect. Or at least as close to perfection as could be expected given the circumstances.