I've made my way through the first three scenes of the resulting story (total of 2000 words), and it's just getting going. This one has legs.
by Jeff Soesbe
Anya took the silver dagger and carefully stuck the point into the fleshy part of the ring finger on her left hand. The dagger was razor sharp and cleanly sliced through her skin. She put it back in the sheath, held her hand over the pot containing the sauce and counted as the drops fell. One, two, three, four, five, six.
She was about to put a Band-Aid on when Greta, her mother, stopped her.
"No, dear, it is seven drops."
"Mom, I know the recipe. I wrote it down on the card." Anya brandished the recipe card, covered with Anya's neat, clean, printing and bordered with a pattern of twisting ivy. She placed it on the counter before she tore open the Band-Aid package with her teeth.
"You know the recipe on the card," her mother said, tapping the countertop three times with her perfectly manicured fingernail, and then touching her forehead. "But you don't know the recipe in here."
"If it's seven drops, Mom, then I'll just write it on the card."
"No! If it is on a card then the card can be stolen and the recipe used against us. You must learn it, how I learned it from your Nani, how she learned it from your Maman. You should not be writing this down. You must learn it. This is a family recipe."
Her mother snatched up the card tore it into pieces, and tossed them on the counter. She flicked her fingers over the plate, and blue flame consumed the paper.
"Mom, you could have just tossed the card in the shredder."
"Seven drops." Greta pointed at the pot.
Fine, Anya thought. The last thing she wanted was another disagreement. The plastic pulled her skin as the wrenched the Band-Aid off her finger. She squeezed her finger over the pot and watched as one dark red globule emerged and dropped into the sauce. The billowing steam carried the aromas of thyme, rosemary, spider web, and dried toad deep into her nose. This was a good sauce. It smelled like her childhood.
Anya ladled a generous helping of sauce over each of the five plates of spaghetti, made sure each kid had exactly three meatballs of nearly the same size, and she and Greta carried them into the dining room and put them on the placemats.
"Kids," Anya shouted. "Dinner's ready. Turn off the videogames and get in here right now!"
"Spaghetti, yay!" The stampede of feet heralded the arrival of the kids, who jostled to see who could get through the door from the family room and into their chair first.
Rowan sniffed at her sauce, then wrinkled up her nose. "Is there toad in this? I hate toad."