A while back, I asked my boyfriend to give me a writing prompt and while I can’t remember the exact wording of it off the top of my head right now, it was something to do with a purple picket fence. From that prompt, a kid’s story evolved in my head, but I never actually got around to figuring out the nitty-gritty and writing it. This is a condensed version of what it might have been. (NB: The run-on sentences? They’re deliberate, yes.)
We didn’t actually mean to cause the accident; to tell the truth, we didn’t even really believe ourselves when we talked about how Miss Appleby might be a witch, but she was always so beautiful and well-spoken and she was such a good teacher, and her house was so different from all the others on the street, with its purple picket fence and the sunflowers that peaked out both over the top of it and under it, it almost seemed like something magical had to be going on.
And, okay, sneaking into someone’s house when they’re not there is always bad, but we were just going to look, you know, we just wanted to see. It was a pupil-free day so we thought she’d be at school; it wasn’t a teacher-free day. And we were leaving when we heard her come in. If she’d been just a few minutes later, none of it would have happened, but we all sort of panicked when we heard the door open. I spun around and bumped into Katie and then she ran into Jayden and he hit the shelf with all the funny-shaped bottles. Next thing we knew, we were all surrounded by coloured clouds of vapour.
Miss Appleby heard the noise, of course, and soon discovered us. She appeared in the doorway and her eyes widened as she took in the scene. She waved a hand and the vapour cleared, and that’s when Katie let out a shriek. We all looked around and discovered why: she was on the CEILING.
“Katie?!” Miss Appleby exclaimed, and quickly pushed past the rest of us to another shelf with bottles sitting all along it. She ran her finger along their labels until she came to the one she wanted and pulled it off the shelf. She undid the lid and poured a little of the liquid into a medicine glass, then she turned back to Katie and furrowed her brow.
“If I hold this up, you’re not going to be able to reach it, are you, sweetie?” Katie shook her head doubtfully. “Okay, you know when you’re in a swimming pool and you want to dive to the bottom, you kick off from the wall and push through the water, right?” Katie nodded. “Can you try doing that through the air? Push off the ceiling and make your way down to me. Once you drink this, you’ll be fine.”
It took a few attempts and a few dizzying tumbles, but eventually Katie managed to “swim” down to where Miss Appleby was waiting with an outstretched hand. Miss Appleby signalled to Jayden and Michael to help her, and between them they were able to keep Katie from floating away while she gulped down the antidote.
Once Katie was safely back on the ground again, Miss Appleby fixed us with a stern look. “Now, may I ask what you were all doing in my house?”
“Well, it was Rosie’s idea…” Katie began.
“Rosie’s? Then why are you three here and she isn’t?”
I started. “I’m right here!” I said, but no one seemed to hear me.
“She was here,” said Jayden, looking around, “maybe she ran out when she heard you coming.”
Suddenly I realised that Katie hadn’t been the only one affected by the magic potions. I could still see myself, but no one else could, and they couldn’t hear me either.
I looked around frantically, hoping I could find something to use to get everyone’s attention. Michael and Jayden had already gone outside to see if I had disappeared to the garden amidst the commotion. My eyes stopped on a blackboard with some kind of scientific formula scrawled across it. I ran over to it and picked up the chalk, then used my sleeve to erase some of what was already written there, hoping it wasn’t too complicated and that Miss Appleby would be able to remember it again later. Once I had space, I wrote IT’S ROSIE, I AM HERE in big letters, and happily, Miss Appleby heard the sound of the chalk on the blackboard and noticed.
“Oh, dear,” she said, “that’s what I was afraid of. She got hit with the invisibility potion.”
“You can bring her back, though, right?” Katie asked.
“I’m afraid I haven’t yet perfected the antidote to that particularly potion,” Miss Appleby replied slowly, and I felt my stomach become tight as I listened.
“But…” Katie didn’t seem to know how to deal with that news, and neither did I. What if I was stuck being invisible forever, unable to be seen or heard by anyone ever again? I’d go crazy! I’d have to carry a notepad around my neck or something so that I could write messages whenever I wanted to say something.
Miss Appleby looked from Katie to me (well, to an area around the blackboard that was roughly where I was standing, and given she couldn’t see me, it was pretty close) for a moment before she grinned! She grinned! I was on the verge of never being seen nor heard from ever again and she was grinning!
“Of course I have an antidote!” she said, “but you snuck into my house. Had to get you back somehow.”
“So Rosie will be all right?”
“Of course,” Miss Appleby said, as though it was the most obvious things in the world, and turned back to the second shelf of bottles. She pulled one down and filled a clean medicine glass with the contents.
“Rosie, I’m going to put this down on the cupboard here,” she said, doing so, “now you can pick it up.”
I walked over to her and picked the glass up, draining the antidote in one gulp. I didn’t feel any different, but I heard Katie breathe a sigh of relief and when I turned around to face her, there could be no doubt that we made eye contact and that she could really see me.
“We couldn’t find her any- oh!” Jayden trailed off as he and Michael ran back into the room and saw me there.
“Rosie got turned invisible!” Katie exclaimed.
“Now,” Miss Appleby said, getting our attention. “I’m going to make a deal with the four of you. I won’t tell anyone about this on two conditions. One, you don’t breathe a word of this to anyone. I don’t want everyone knowing what goes on here. Am I clear?”
We all nodded firmly. “And two, you promise that you will never break into someone’s house like this again. You all know that it’s wrong.” She looked each of us in the eye in turn.
“I promise,” we all intoned.
I don’t think she has anything to worry about. If floating on ceilings and turning invisible is what happens as a result of breaking and entering, I don’t think we’re going to be trying it again anytime soon.