My dare chapter for Camp NaNo!


I ducked as a marshmallow came flying across the room and then glanced over at my daughter. “If one of those lands in Mr. Ian Woon’s potion, he will be very cross with you,” I warned her. She looked at me with wide, innocent eyes. Fighting the urge to smile, I said, “Play with your catapult elsewhere.”

“It’s not a catapult, Da,” she said, as she lifted the wooden model off the floor where she’d been playing. “It’s a trebuchet!”

She was all set to launch into a long explanation about the differences between the two when I cut her off. “Take your miniature siege engine outside, please,” I said, making waving motions towards the door. As she gathered up the marshmallows and the model and headed for the door that led to the back garden, I turned back to the potion I’d been brewing. “Thank you,” I called.

“You’re welcome, Da,” she replied, as she headed outside.

I had just added the final ingredient of the potion into the cauldron when Perry came careening into the room with a childish scream. He ducked into the little blue tent that we had erected under my worktable for him to hide in. When I pulled back the flap to look at him, he was hugging Bartholomew to his chest.

Bartholomew’s ears pinned. “I believe you have a guest, Keenan,” he said. He wasn’t referring to my little boy, either. There was only one person in the world that Perry reacted that way to: Angie Hogencamp.

I quashed the urge to sigh as the door to the shop opened to emit both Sera and the woman in question. “As you can see,” Sera said, waving at me, “Keenan is quite busy today.”

I nodded. “Quite busy, yes. I’ve only just finished Mr. Woon’s potion,” I said, as I tipped the cauldron to decant the mixture into a bottle for him. “I still have to make a troll repelling potion for the school and a batch of Bone Heal for Rowan Mino.”

“Keenan,” Angie said, as she slipped past Sera. She was a petite woman, even smaller than Sera, with long dark hair and big dark eyes. Like myself, she was the very image of what it meant to be Shynian. She stepped over to the counter that separated the shop from my work area and said, “Keenan, Keenan!”

“Angie,” I said, setting down the empty cauldron. “Angie, Angie.” She frowned at me and I sighed. “What do you want, Angie?”

“We’ve discussed it before,” she said, shaking her head. She waved at the brooch pinned to my chest. “You are The Prince of Ages Past and Days to Come. You’re talents are wasted here.”

I snorted. “I happen to like crafting potions, Angie,” I informed her. I carried the cauldron over to a nearby sink and began to wash it. “I’m good at it and people appreciate what I make for them. I’m running a really good business and I have time to spend with my children and my wife.”

“But you could be so much more,” she said, her tone becoming strident.

“I don’t want to be more,” I told her, my own tone firm. I shook my head and said, “We’ve discussed this before: I have no desire to be a king or prince or president or prime minister or whatever other fancy title you throw at me. I just want to be what I am: a potions’ master, an apothecary in a small, out of the way village, a father to two precocious children and a husband to a lovely, kind and generous woman.”

“Keenan,” she said, her tone now becoming coaxing, “the ballots are all ready to go out to the people. Your name is already on them!”

“I don’t recall accepting any nomination,” I said, shaking my head. I heaved a sigh when she gave me a hopeful smile. “People don’t even know who I am outside of this village and North Camp,” I added. “Who’s going to vote for me?”

Angie’s eyes sparkled and she said, “Everyone! I’ll be managing your campaign. Before the elections happen, everyone will know who you are and what you stand for. I just came by to tell you the good news.”

As she swept out of the room, I looked at Sera. “Did she miss the part where I said I didn’t want this job?” I asked.

“She’s got this idea that it should go to the person who wants it least, my love,” Sera said, smirking. She shook her head. “No one in Shynia wants to be the Sovereign Prince less than you do and… you forget that you’ve published three very popular books. Everyone knows who you are.”

“Oh, sweet… pine nuts,” I said. The ending was a bit odd, but I’d remembered at the last moment that Perry was hiding under my worktable. I heaved a sigh and looked down at the vibrant blue fabric of the tent. “Think I can fit in there?”

“Hiding in the blue tent of woe will not save you from that woman,” Sera said, shaking her head. She came around the counter and peered into the tent. “Even if it seems to save your son from her.”

Perry crawled out of the tent and looked from me to Sera and back. “Scary lady gone?” he asked, pushing his glasses back into place.

“For the moment,” I said, nodding. As Perry scampered back out the door that led to the garden, I said, “I don’t suppose a shovel to her face would solve my problems?”

“The ballots are already posted, my love,” Sera said, shaking her head. “I’m afraid nothing can stop the train that she has set you out on at this point.”

I heaved a sigh. What had happened to me finally being able to make my own decisions about the direction my life would take? “Maybe I won’t win the election,” I said, grimacing.

Somehow, though, I knew that wouldn’t happen. Angie’s view of things – that the person who wanted the job least, is exactly who should have it – coupled with the fact that the Eye of Wonder loved me has sealed my fate. I rolled my eyes and shook my head. “I’m doomed,” I said, shaking my head.

Sera patted my shoulder. “Get to work on the troll repelling potion,” she said. “Phillip will be here to collect it in a little while. I’ll go outside and watch over the children while they play.”

Nodding, I set the clean cauldron on my worktable. “At least, if I’ve got to be Sovereign of this newly-formed nation, at least I’ll have you at my side,” I told her. Sera smiled at me and then headed out into the back garden. Whatever the future held, I knew that I would be all right.


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  1. Trackback: Camp NaNo Review – Week Three | Heather's Fancies

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