Keelson's Mistake

by davewriter

PART I

Not too long ago, there was a teen-aged warlock named Keelson, who came from a family of good witches and warlocks. Keelson and his family were good, because they used their magic to bring sick and dead animals and people back to life. But Keelson could only work with the animals; he couldn't bring people back to life like his parents, aunts and uncles could. He wanted to learn, but they kept telling him the same thing: "You can't learn how to bring people back to life until you're grown up."

And it wasn't just that Keelson hadn't grown up yet. Sometimes, the spells that he made did not work. He could read spells very well, but sometimes he read too fast, overlooked a direction, and carried it out wrong. Or else, he poured in an ingredient without checking to see if he had the right one. As a result, while the animals could come back to life, they always behaved badly.

Other times, while the spells were correctly made, they were not carried out properly. He always knew to perform the spells outside in the very dark, like he was supposed to. But sometimes, he would apply the spell incorrectly, or yell out the wrong magic words. As a result, the dead animals never came back to life, and sick animals never got better. Keelson had to work and study quickly to retry the spell, but it would always work out. This taught him that he needed to study harder.

One day, just shortly after Christmas, Keelson was taking a quiet walk in the neighbourhood when he passed a house with two children in the front yard. Not noticing him, the children were trying to play in the snow in the front yard, but the little girl wouldn't. She just ran off to the back yard, crying. The little boy disappeared after her, calling her name. Keelson felt bad, and he followed them.

"Hi there," he said to the children. "I'm Keelson. Who are you? Why are you looking so sad?"

The children looked up at him and were a little scared. "That is Keelson!" the girl cried. "That weird kid from the end of the street. He's the one that puts all these spells on animals."

"Just ignore him, he'll go away," the boy replied.

Keelson laughed as if the boy was telling a joke. He walked up to them and said, "It's all right. My family and I aren't those bad witches and warlocks you see in fairy tales. We're actually among the good ones. Now who are you and why are you so sad?"

"My name's Chad, and I'm ten years old," said the boy. "This is my sister, Leanne. She's seven. Our pet cat, Snowball, was found outside Christmas morning. She's very sick with a terrible pneumonia, and we're scared she might die any day now."

"What happened?" Keelson asked.

"Snowball was outside all night Christmas Eve during a real bad snowstorm," Chad explained. "We forgot to let her in before we all went to sleep. The next morning, as we went out to play in the snow, we found her lying in a hole in the snow bank. We tried speaking to her, but she barely answered us, just small meows and whimpers. We soon realised that she nearly froze to death."

Leanne stopped crying soon enough to add, "We found a living mouse lying in Snowball's fur. He was cold. We brought him in to warm him up, and asked Mommy if we could keep him, but she said no. So our neighbours took him."

Keelson smiled and said, "That's sweet."

"She's inside the house right now," Chad concluded. "Mom and Dad are looking after her."

Keelson kneeled down to Chad and Leanne. He said, "Well, I have something to tell you two. I just happen to be a warlock who can magically make sick things better again. If you want, I can try and make Snowball all better for you."

Leanne smiled happily and jumped around. "Oh, could you, Keelson?" she squealed. "Please?"

"Sure, I will," Keelson promised.

This prompted the children to bring Keelson into the house to meet their parents. Keelson politely introduced himself and said, "Sir, ma'am, I understand you have a precious pet that is very sick. I have special magic spells that can make her feel well again."

The children's father just stared at him, not believing him, and not saying anything. The mother just laughed and said, "A warlock who can make sick things better? That's rich! I thought you witches and warlocks were supposed to turn children into apples, or something like that!"

Keelson frowned. "Please, kind ma'am!" he replied, and she stopped laughing. "I do good work, and I happen to take it seriously. Now, will someone bring Snowball to me, please?"

Chad and Leanne brought out a medium-sized cat bed with a small grey tabby lying inside. She looked very lifeless, like she was close to death. Keelson touched her fur. It was as cold as fresh ice cream.

"She definitely needs a magical cure, and quickly," he said. He looked at the whole family. "I have different spells that I use for different kinds of animals. There's a very special spell for cats. But there's something I want you to do before I come back with it."

"What?" Leanne asked.

"After I leave," Keelson said, "I want you all to keep watch over Snowball. I'll go home right now, make up the spell, and come back with it after dark."

"After dark?" the mother repeated. "Where are going to do this. It's very cold out after dark. Snowball will only get worse."

"It will only work if we are outside in the dark," Keelson replied. "Be outside, waiting for me. If the spell works, you'll have your pet back in your arms, I promise." Chad and Leanne cheered and danced around in joy.

Keelson started to leave, waving at the children. "See you tonight!" he called.

"See you!" Chad and Leanne chorused.

When he got home, Keelson went to his bedroom and opened his book of "life spells." He flipped to the spell about cats. He read over the list of ingredients, and quickly searched his cupboards for some things he needed. He got out bags of salt, powdered sugar and powdered milk. He called for measuring cups and spoons, a pair of beaters, and a mixing bowl, and clapped his hands twice. They all magically appeared. One of the cups was filled with cold water. Then he took small bottles of orange, blue and pink magic from the shelves.

Keelson measured out the salt, sugar and milk, and poured them in the bowl with the water according to directions. He poured the bottles of magic into the mixture. He studied the ingredients again, and noted that he needed a bag of sand stone powder.

He looked at eight red bags on the shelf above his bookcase, all full. He smiled and said, "That must be it." He took a bag off the shelf, opened it and emptied it into the bowl. He grinned, for the powder looked just like sand stone.

He took the beaters and mixed everything into a smooth cream-coloured paste. When he was done, he put it in the icebox to cool.

He went back to the book and read up on how to use it: "Cover the body from the neck down with paste and wait for a white glow. When it glows brightly, say the magic words into the night air."

He studied the magic words and cooed. "Looks like a poem," he said to himself. "Better remember this."

At seven o'clock that night, Keelson filled a big container with the spell, and took along a wooden spoon. He packed both away and ran off to Chad and Leanne's house when nobody was looking.

Keelson met the children, who were sitting on the front porch with Snowball in her bed, kept warm with blankets. Leanne ran up to him and pointed at the sky.

"Look, Keelson," she said. "The stars are out tonight. And look at that group of stars. It's shaped like a cat. Maybe the spell will form a cat-shaped beam, and aim for those stars."

Keelson said to Chad, "Please bring the bed to me." Chad did so, and Keelson opened the container.

"Is that the spell you made?" Chad asked. Keelson nodded and scooped some out.

He looked at the children and said, "Now, I want you to take the cat out and hold her steady while I cover her with this." The children obeyed, and Keelson spread the spell all over Snowball's body.

When Snowball was fully covered, Chad and Leanne put her back in her bed, and they waited. Moments later, the spell began to glow. When it became as bright as a full moon, Keelson looked up at the sky, closed his eyes and yelled the magic words:

Obleset, kampiloon, redemback, ghant
I ask the gods to heal this sick cat

Keelson spread his arms out as the glow formed a sky-high beam. The cat-shaped stars formed a circle around it, spinning fast in a clock-wise motion. They kept spinning until they were all in the beam. After several minutes, the beam died out and the stars were no longer in the sky.

Chad, Leanne and Keelson looked at Snowball. Her eyes opened and moved. She meowed lightly and jumped out into Chad's arms, licking his face.

Leanne stood up and danced around happily. "It worked! It worked!" she cried. "Snowball's better again!"

She took Snowball into the house to show her parents. Chad and Keelson followed her. Then, they took him to the parents, who smiled at him.

"I don't believe this, Keelson's spell did work!" their father said, holding Snowball.

"Yes, sir," Keelson replied.

Chad, Leanne and their parents all hugged him. "Thank you so much, Keelson," the mother said. "You've made our children so happy. We're so sorry we ever doubted you."

"I'm a good warlock," Keelson replied. "That's my job."

PART II

Unfortunately, the morning after Snowball came back to life, she started doing really naughty things. She was clawing the furniture, carpets and curtains. She chased the family dog all over the house, trying to bite his tail. She slashed people who picked her up in their faces, and shredded their clothes. And when the family had guests over, Snowball would terrorise them to the point where they had to leave right away.

This went on for a week when Chad and Leanne met Keelson again. He was walking past their house, and they ran out to him right away. He smiled at them and said, "Hi, kids. How have things been for you?"

"Snowball's been acting crazy since you cast your spell," Chad answered.

The children brought Keelson into the house. He saw the living room was a mess– ruined furniture and curtains, pictures knocked to the floor, the carpet strewn with ripped papers. Chad and Leanne's mother was punishing Snowball for eating a vase full of flowers, and she hissed at her.

Keelson gasped in horror. "Oh no," he said. "I made a terrible mistake in the making the spell."

"What?" Leanne asked.

Keelson kneeled down and said, "See, my spells for curing sick animals always work if they're carried out correctly. But their manners when they're better all depend on how the spells are made."

"What do you mean?" Chad asked.

"If I have all the right things for it, and follow all the steps correctly," Keelson explained, "then the dead come back as good. But if I put in something not needed, do one thing wrong, or leave anything out, the dead will come back as evil. This has happened to me before."

Just then, Snowball leapt from the dining table into the living room, bounded onto Keelson, and dug her claws into his face. Chad had to pry her off him. Keelson wasted no time as he magically called for Snowball's cat kennel. He made it open by itself, and yelled some magic words the children couldn't understand. Snowball flew out of Chad's hands and into the kennel, the door closing by itself.

Keelson turned to kennel around so he was facing Snowball. He said some more magic words, and made her fall into a death-like sleep.

When he was sure Snowball wouldn't hurt anyone again, he looked at the children and said, "All right, I took the evil out of her. She's not dead, she's just sleeping. Now, I'm going to go home, figure out what I did wrong, and try again. Keep watch over her to see if she wakes up. If she does, keep her under control until I come back." The children nodded, and Keelson left the house.

Back home, Keelson read over the cat spell again, trying to find out what mistake he made. He looked around his room at all the things in the spell. He had the powdered milk and sugar, water, salt and magic. He read over the directions, and noted that he followed every one carefully.

"Hmm," he muttered. "What did I do wrong?"

He re-read the list of ingredients, and noted the sand stone powder. He looked at the seven remaining bags above his bookcase. He took one down and opened it. He took out a handful of its contents and received a surprise.

"Wait a minute," he said. "This isn't sand stone powder. This is plain saw dust."

He took down the rest of the bags, and saw that they all had saw dust. He put them all back and looked for the powder. He found it in the back of his closet. He collected the rest of the ingredients, called for the equipment, and made the spell up again.

That night, Keelson rushed to Chad and Leanne's house with a new batch of the spell. He knocked on the door and Chad answered. He smiled and said, "Nice to see you, Chad. Go fetch Leanne and Snowball and meet me outside." Chad nodded and ran off.

Moments later, the children brought Snowball outside to Keelson. He scooped the spell out and covered her entire body with a wooden spoon.

"Will this work?" Leanne asked as Keelson was spreading. "There aren't any stars out tonight."

"We don't need stars," he replied. "We just have to be outside in the dark if we want this to work."

After a few seconds, the spell began to glow. When it became really bright, Keelson yelled out the magic words. The glow soon died down, and the children looked closely at Snowball.

Snowball opened her eyes again and jumped out of her cat bed. She licked Leanne's face, then bounded out of her arms to the front door. Chad and Leanne cheered and gave Keelson a hug, then they opened the door for Snowball.

Keelson went over to their house every day for the next few days, to see if Snowball had been good. Every time he visited, Leanne would greet him with a smile, and tell him all the good things Snowball did. When Snowball saw him, she would lick his face, purr and nuzzle. Keelson smiled, for he knew his spell was a success.

During one visit, the children's mother greeted him, and kissed him lightly on the cheek. She said, "Our cat's better again, and is behaving herself this time. Thank you so much, Keelson. You're a miracle worker."

He smiled at her and said, "I'm a good warlock, ma'am. Miracles are my job."