Audrey Bloom – Part 2
Written by Alanna Rossi, Illustrations by Jaclyn Simon
Seven years later…
At the age of nineteen, Audrey had become an accomplished witch. She even surpassed her own grandmother in talent, something both her grandmother and her mother were immensely proud of. Audrey spent seven years juggling school and a social life, along with studying the craft at home with her family. Despite her hesitations years ago, Audrey had never felt so confident and sure of herself. She knew she was where she was supposed to be.
Of all the abilities and skills she learned, potion making was by far her favourite. She took to potion making like a fish to water. When her grandmother first showed her the garden, Audrey tried to tell her that she already knew what all the plants were. Her grandmother was quick to show her that she was to see it from a different perspective. The plants had unique properties, each one special in it’s own way and Audrey had to learn it all. She knew the basics – rosemary for memory and angelica to ward off evil spirits, but there was so much more to learn. Plants were the backbone to all potion making, her grandmother explained. Without botanicals, there would be no potions. She was taught to treat her garden with the utmost love and respect – like an extension of herself.
“The plants can hear you, Audrey. Speak to them. Sing to them. Make them feel loved and they will love you in return. This garden is something you need to nurture and give a part of yourself to. Can you do that?”
Audrey shook her head vigorously. Yes. Yes, she could.
When Audrey was in the garden, she was the happiest she could be. She loved the plants, and like her grandmother had told her, they loved her in return. They reached towards her when she walked by and the flowers were more fragrant when she was near. She would sing to them and talk to them. She would often do her homework in the garden, telling the plants about her day.
Fortunately, her friends didn’t think she was weird for talking to her plants. When she brought her friends over after school, her grandmother and mother fussed over them in the kitchen. They gave them cookies and milk and asked them all sorts of questions about school and their interests. Her friends always felt welcome at her home and that made her happy. When Audrey first showed them the garden and told them what she did, they thought it was cool and asked if the plants would love them too if they sang to them. So they would all sing to the plants, running around the garden laughing. Audrey was grateful for her friends and for all they brought into her life.
The people of her town had watched as young Audrey grew into a mature young woman. She was highly sought after for her potions and salves. She knew what to make for nearly any ailment. Those who knew her grandmother when she was young would constantly tell Audrey how much she looked like her. Her black hair was long, nearly to her waist and she had dark green eyes that were flecked with amber. She was beautiful, there was no doubt about that, and many of the local boys tried to get her attention over the years, but Audrey was never interested in romance. She didn’t see the point.
Audrey was content with life. She enjoyed helping her mother and grandmother at the house and tending to her garden. When she had free time she spent it reading novels and writing in her journal. She would still see her friends occasionally, but most of them had gone off to University. Her mother had asked her if going to college was something she would like to do, and she did seriously consider it. She thought about what it would be like to go take classes on literature and live in a dorm. It was tempting, but she couldn’t imagine living anywhere else or doing anything else.
Potion making is complex. In order to make an effective potion, you need to understand every ingredient and the method used to make it. Each ingredient had to be prepared in a specific way at a specific time, and if one thing was amiss the potion would be useless. Audrey had to study a long time before making her first potion. Finally, the week before her sixteenth birthday, her grandmother informed her that she would be tested. Audrey spent all day and night in their kitchen brewing potion after potion, which were then scrutinized by her mother and grandmother. Finally, after hours, her grandmother took both her hands in hers and told Audrey that she was ready. Audrey remembers the lights in the kitchen flickering as if mimicking the feeling inside her chest.
As Audrey learned more about potion making she discovered new plants to grow in her garden and greenhouse, and was soon sourcing rare plants from all over the world. Local gardening clubs would ask to come photograph her collection and she happily obliged. When word got out that Audrey had amassed an extensive collection of rare plants, people wanted to see it. She was particularly proud of
her greenhouse. The plants in her greenhouse were the more dangerous varieties. Plants like wolfsbane and belladonna, which she kept out of her garden in case anyone wandered in accidentally. The greenhouse was also where she kept her orchids.
In all her years living at the house, Audrey had never met another witch besides her mother and grandmother. Ingrid had explained to her that they were the only witches in the town and Audrey never asked about the other towns or even asked why. It wasn’t something that really bothered her, at least not until she was older when she wished she had friends her age who better understood her life. One day, she had asked her mother about other witches, curious as to what she would say.
“Mom,” asked Audrey, while she watched her mother chop herbs from the garden. Her hair was tied back and she worked methodically chopping the delicate plants.
“Why are we the only witches in this town?”
Hannah didn’t answer her daughter at first and continued to chop the herbs.
Hannah stopped chopping and sighed. She looked at her daughter who was no longer a little girl. It was time she heard the truth.
….to be continued