Sweet Sixteen

Image butterfly cupcakes, with birthday candles.  Text: I reached for the birthday candles, to find they were missing.

Sweet Sixteen

Short story by Iris Carden

The cupcakes had cooled, so I cut the tops off, and halved them. I filled the cakes with jam and whipped cream, then put the halves of the tops back as wings, and dusted them all with icing sugar.

Andy wanted butterfly cakes for her 16th birthday. I wanted her to have exactly what she wanted. Her life was about to change in so many dramatic ways, and I wanted to help her hold on to the innocence just a little longer.

I reached for the birthday candles, but they weren’t there. I had a wisp problem, obviously. I reached into the Interim, that space between moments, and pulled the small miscreant out by his overlarge ear.

“Orsinius Wishlet,” I said. “Of course it had to be you. This is not a good day to annoy me.”

“Oh sorry, Your Ladyship,” he said with a bow, as nervous sweat beaded his over-large bald head. “If you could tell me when a good day would be, I could come back then.”

“Do you know what today is?” I asked.

“Friday?” he said hopefully.

“Actually, it’s Saturday, and it’s also my daughter’s sixteenth birthday.”

“Oh, congratulations, Your Ladyship,” he said, followed by, “oh.”

“Oh indeed. This is the last birthday before her powers start to come in and her wings start to grow. This is the birthday when I have to tell her who and what we are and what we do. So don’t mess with me today. And give me those candles.”

He handed over the candles. “I’m sorry, Your Ladyship, I couldn’t help myself. You know I just see things and want them for my collection. Those are especially nice birthday candles, too.”

“They are especially nice candles for my daughter, not for you. What are you doing in my house anyway?”

“Sadly, Your Ladyship,” here, he bowed again, “I am here to report a malicious misuse of magic.”

I put candles in individual butterfly cakes, “So you want to report your cousin Augustus for using the Interim to steal from humans?”

“No! I would never report Augustus!”

“I don’t see why not,” I said as I arranged the cakes on a stand. “He reports you twice a week. You’re both lucky I can’t be bothered hunting down wisps.”

“Oh, and I appreciate your graciousness in that matter, Your Ladyship, but I am here to report a much, much more serious matter.”

I turned from the cakes to look at him. What kind of trouble could the miniature kleptomaniac have got himself into? “OK,” I said, “so report this misuse of magic.”

“There’s a human trapped in the Interim!” he almost squealed it.

“There’s what? How did a human get in the Interim?”

“Magic,” he said. “Strong magic. I smelled it. It was a wishing spell.”

“A wishing spell? Who would be dumb enough to play with those?”

There hadn’t been a case of a wishing spell cast since my great-grandmother’s time. They were so dangerous no magical creature would dare use one. Of course, a human could have come across an old grimoire and fancied themselves a witch. Humans did the stupidest things when they encountered magic.

“It was a wishing spell in a wishing well,” Orsinius explained.

“Gotta love the classics. Right, show me where to find this trapped human and the wishing well with the spell. I’ll deal with those first.”

I put the cakes in the fridge, and opened the secret cupboard, taking out my scimitar and dagger. I said, “And then I’ll deal with whoever cast that spell.”

After today, I would have to begin taking Andromeda oncases like this. Just one more day of butterfly cakes and innocence.

The humans have it wrong. Justice doesn’t have a blindfold and carry scales. Lady Justice has a five metre wingspan and carries a razor-sharp ancestral sword.

Orsinius Wishlet Stories

Lost and Found was originally a one-off story, until the day I had the idea for A Wish Come True. After that, Orsinius and the world built around him just kept coming back to me.


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By Iris Carden

Iris Carden is an Australian indie author, mother, grandmother, and chronic illness patient. On good days, she writes. Because of the unpredictability of her health, she writes on an indie basis, not trying to meet deadlines. She lives on a disability support pension now, but her ultimate dream is to earn her own living from her writing.

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