Favorite mistake


A slight wind was blowing, and thick clouds kept the sun concealed. A mix of grey tones was the only delineation between the sky and the park walkway.

Having rained the night before, small puddles dotted the lawn. Paquin ambled through the wet leaves, breathing in the petrichor, wishing she could bottle that ‘after the rain’ scent.

Several small tables were spread out in a well-manicured clearing. At each, two men sat facing each other, a chess set and timing clock separating them. Paquin frowned slightly at the sight. She had hoped the rain would dampen the benches too much, and keep the wood pushers away. The time was now, though, so she couldn’t delay her plans.

Keeping to the edge of the clearing, she slid into the shadows of the forest canopy to find her favorite scrying bowl. To an outsider, it appeared to be an ordinatry birdbath. Yet, a closer inspection showed precious silver and intricate scroll designs under the green patina. Filled with rainwater from spring’s first shower, and the last leaves from winter, it was ideal for divination.

She took a cursory look over her shoulder, and in her haste, forgot a cloaking spell to shield her from prying eyes. From the amalgam of leaves and rain she pulled a simulacrum, lifting it out of the bowl to seek its counsel.

“What strange alchemy is this?”

A slight wave of her hand, and the effigy slid under the wet leaves.

Without turning, she calmly addressed the intruding old-timer.

“It is not alchemy. You did not see anything amiss. It was simply a distortion of light and shadow.”

She heard the shuffle of feet through wet leaves. Glancing back, she saw the elderly man return to his chess match, but his younger opponent remained outside her purview, a knowing smirk playing across his face.

Returning his smile, she would later tell their children this day was her favorite mistake.

The Trifecta challenge this week is: Alchemy [noun \al-kə-mē\] 3: an inexplicable or mysterious transmuting
This week’s Studio30 Plus theme is “a favorite mistake”

20 thoughts on “Favorite mistake

  1. Very cool. I could see a whole mythology and story built up around this idea. (her explanation of what the old man saw, the way you might explain away a UFO sighting, was great). Nice one!


  2. Oh magic and a love story, two things that speak to my heart and left me with a smile after the last line.
    I could smell the rain…Yep, you’re that good! 🙂


    1. I keep a running list of words that intrigue me, “petrichor” was on that list, just waiting for me to use it. When I decided to use chess players as an element in this story, I went looking for a term they used to describe themselves. “Wood pushers” was used in several resources. I guess because higher quality chess sets are typically made of expensive wood.


  3. I feel like the photograph set the tone so perfectly for the story, and appreciate the fact that something others would easily take to a darker side (scrying and sneaking about and what have you) was made magical. it actually did leave me kind of wanting to know what the two of them got up to after their smirks…


  4. Tara – indeed magical and a beautiful setting, I loved the pic with the autumn colours and the imagery of the small wet puddles. Forgive my complete ignorance as I am still learning here.. but I had never heard of petrichor before – what a beautiful word you chose, for the scent of rain (had to google) how sad am I. Really enjoyed this.


Join the discussion...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.