This piece of flash fiction was written for Writer’s Digest’s 2021 February Flash Fiction Challenge Day 9. I spent one and a half hours on this story; this is the third draft. The prompt: “Write about a surprise gone wrong.”
An Important Lesson
Yagnessa, sitting President of the North American Magic Association, Oregon Academy of Magical Studies alumnus with a double major in ancient languages and matter manipulation, a world renowned archeologist with dozens of expeditions into Canada’s White Faewilds and the faewilds of the American South, and current Matter Transformations teacher at Toronto’s High School of Occult Arts, approached her classroom unaware of the surprise which laid await inside.
Like most times she traveled between points—it didn’t matter the points or the mode by which the nearly two three-hundred-year-old elf traveled—Yagnessa’s nose, and to be quite honest, the rest of her face, was buried in a voluminous tome. The magical text, an omnibus of ancient fae magics on time, matter, and gravity, had ensorcelled her for the past week.
Having spent multiple centuries walking with her head buried in one form of literature or another, Yagnessa had acquired a seventh sense capable of subconsciously divining she was about to walk into something. This was precisely why she didn’t, in point of fact, run into the closed door of the classroom. While the oddity of the door being closed did flicker briefly in the back of her mind—the door was normally wide open approaching first period—a poignant piece of instruction on the proper application of mass transmutation quickly snuffed that flame.
Without looking away from the book and not even realizing she did it, Yagnessa tapped her shoed toe against the bottom of the door three times. The red, metal door swung open. Turning to the next page, Yagnessa stepped into a dark, uncharacteristically silent, and for some odd reason, chocolate smelling classroom.
She was four steps in before the irregularities registered and just as she was considering sliding the book aside, the classroom erupted in a tsunami of forty individual voices shouting, “SURPRISE!”
Unfortunate for the owners of those voices—and Yagnessa as we’ll soon see—they only got as far as the second ‘r’ in ‘surprise’ before Yagnessa moved with the swift elven speed, raising both arms and masterfully conducting all ten fingers to trace complicated geometric patterns into the air, each line glowing a different color. She then shouted an onomatopoeia power word in ancient Fae.
With a series of pops, the classroom filled with dozens of white, fluffy clouds.
Yagnessa, her heartbeat a loud staccato in her ears, stood with arms still raised and gaped wide eyed at the silent, cloud filled classroom.
Suddenly, from within the depths of the clouds, came a weak, high-pitched bleating, “Baa.”
Yagnessa frowned and traced another glowing geometric pattern in the air. The clouds dissipated. Yagnessa’s eyes grew wide once more.
Amidst gatherings of multicolored balloons, assorted party favors, and many chocolate cupcakes, forty trembling sheep with fluffy white coats and eyes of dull gold stared back at her.
“Oh, dear,” Yagnessa said, cupping her hands over her mouth. Her book thudded to the floor. “I think I’m going to need to change today’s lesson.”
And indeed, Yagnessa went on to teach her students a very crucial lesson anyone—witch, wizard, or otherwise—should know: never throw a surprise party for a witch or wizard, unless of course the life of a barnyard animal intrigues you.