The black cauldron sat in the middle of the room and hissed menacingly as the green sludge within burbled and glurped. The stench emanating from the vile brew was overwhelming, nauseating in its potency, but the witch standing over it seemed not to notice.
“Leg of lizard. Tail of salamander. African bat guano.”
The bubbling mix sizzled and sparked with every ingredient added.
“Dash of pixie dust. Cloven goat’s hoof. Heart of newborn lamb.”
She read from the page she had copied from the ancient tome. The print had been terribly faded, the language archaic, but from it had come a form of magic that others would kill to acquire from her, if only they had known of it.
“Stir clockwise for three minutes, six turns per minute.”
Her arm ached by the time she was done dragging the mixing rod through the thickening glop, but past experience proved that her discomfort now would be worth it once she was done.
The final ingredient was eye of newt. This she dutifully added, expecting that the formula would transform into its usual bright blue color, indicating that she had done everything perfectly and that the potion was ready. Instead, it puffed a cloud of acrid smoke, causing the witch to cough and gag.
When the air finally cleared, she looked to find that her precious Vanity Potion, her secret to ultimate beauty, had turned black and smelled strongly of charcoal. She cursed quietly and then sighed in resignation.
“Oh, well. I guess I shall have to start again.” The witch-turned-prom-queen whirled to face the young man – her date – that she had tied to a chair behind her. His head lolled to one side, revealing a red socket where his left eye used to be. “I’m sorry, Newton, dear. I confess I was careless with your gift.” She raised a short dagger and took a step toward him. “I’m afraid that I have need of your other eye.”