The Blue Girl peered through the circular window she found in the old black tree’s trunk and watched in astonishment as the small black-robed woman toiled around a lab. It was a most peculiar sight to find in that part of the woods that was nothing more than a horrible meeting of gnarled and ill-tempered trees with bark the shade of dark pitch, like they had draped themselves with the souls of witches. It was only by pure happenstance that The Blue Girl found it at all. She was wandering the desolate woods, as she was wont to do on nights with a full moon, when the warm candlelight glow escaping from the glass circle in the fattest of the trees caught her eye. It was, after all, in stark contrast to the otherwise silver-lined forest of black.
The wicked old woman, with her round body and long pointed nose, worked some terrible concoction of green iridescence that poured smoke out the top of the thin glass tube in a manner that reminded the girl of a steam engine she had once seen on the other side of the wooded hill. Fascination and wonder got the better part of her senses and The Blue Girl left her perch outside the window to find a way inside. She considered the crudely carved triangle door that she assumed was used as the front entrance to the lab. It would not serve to have the round lady aware of her entry into a place that was so clearly intended to be secret and full of arcane knowledge only for the right people.
Instead, she continued around the rather large base of the horrid old tree until she found a small crack, nearly concealed by the thorns and brush that surrounded the hag’s hideaway. It was quite small, indeed, but she was fortunately a small girl and rather adept at finding her way into places she ought not be. So with a little wiggle and a little stretching, The Blue Girl slithered her way through the vines, the thorns, the brush and the crack and found herself beneath a wooden counter that was carved as a ring along the interior of the trunk. The candle light was such that the counter cast sufficiently deep shadows beneath and kept the clever girl well hidden.
From her seat among the cobwebs and shadows, she listened as the woman skittered about from vial to tube and back again, sometimes singing a rotten melody, sometimes chanting to herself in the words of the woodfolk. She appeared unwitting of the stealthy intruder in her midst and the Blue Girl thought that was just fine.
The woman was a Chemist, of course. Her potions and concoctions gave that away. She was not a particulary clean one, either. Long scrolls of queer characters on yellowed parchment littered the counters and floors . They looked like recipes, perhaps. There were also shards of broken glass, dark stains and enough dead bug carcasses to furnish a tiny museum of horrors. It was, in The Blue Girl’s mind, an awful place to live and she believed it might be best if the whole tree were to just burn down.
The Chemist took a glass tube from its holder and carried it over to the table in the center of the room. On top of the table was a tattered burial shroud of a tablecloth and atop the tablecloth was a small bronze disc. On top of the small bronze disc was a dead and wilted flower, black and moldy and all wrong for a floral arrangement. The Chemist held the tube of bubbling green liquid aloft and let one single drop fall to the flower on the table. She then lifted a glass enclosure and set it onto the bronze disc. The Chemist’s face contorted into a wide grin of the wickedest variety and The Blue Girl was surprised to see the flower awaken inside the glass enclosure. It coursed with glowing life as the mold fell off and the color began to return. It rose up and then floated in the center of the glass. Its green stem and leaves took on a bluish hue as the petals moistened and bloomed. Then a flash ran down the flower and it had become the most beautiful and vibrant blue. The lovely blue of The Blue Girl.
With mouth agape and eyes wide, The Blue Girl watched as the flower tilted in its glass sarcophagus and pointed toward the little girl huddled in the shadows beneath the counter. The Chemist’s eyes, glowing terribly yellow in the light of the candle, fell upon the girl and she could
feel the blood run from her face. A shiver coursed down her spine when the Chemist ran a slender, cracked tongue along the sharp edges of her toothy smile and brought the girl out from her hiding space and to her feet. With her usual quick thinking and cool head, she rushed the Chemist’s table and brought the flower atrocity crashing to the floor with one sweep of her arm. The wicked Chemist recoiled in horror and fear as the brave young girl took the candlestick in hand and tossed it into a cluster of glass jars and vials along the wall. Mercifully, the fire was quick to fill the abominable lab and the girl took her immediate leave of the place. She used a log to bar the triangle door and took a seat under a nearby tree until the whole thing was nothing but a pile of smoking ash.
Confident that she had saved the world once again from the hideous things that lurked in the wood, The Blue Girl returned to her home beneath the rock and slept the daylight away.
I’d like to say this peculiar tale was completely of my own devising, but in fact it is the result of a writing exercise. The writing prompt was provided by io9.com and the image that the story is derived from is by artist Sungwon. Visit his DeviantArt page to see this and other images in his Blue Girl series, along with other beautiful works of art.