Magical Accidents

A Patchwork Fantasy Tale about a meet-cute in an emergency room.

Because dealing with magic comes with certain challenges.

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  • Read the full transcript below:


[Gentle theme music]

Laura: Hi, you can call me Laura, I’m here to tell you a story if you like. If you want to read as well as listen, check out the transcript linked in the description. This is patchwork fairy tales and you found one of my Patchwork Fantasy Tales! This one is all about a meet-cute in an emergency room…

[Music fades]

Magical Accidents

For someone who had, in a span of one hour, managed to do their first magical fire spell and acquire their first serious magical injury, Violet thought little Hümeyra was doing extremely well. They had even stopped sniffling, although that might be purely because the Magical Accident and Emergency waiting room was filled with so many distractions that they had forgotten about their own painful hand. Violet made a mental note to warn Hümeyra’s parents they’d probably have a lot of questions later. On how exactly one might give themselves fox ears, for instance, as the annoyed looking teenager across the room seemed to have done. Or what might cause someone’s fingers to drip drops of liquid light all over the floor, like the apologetic elderly man seated in the corner. But right now, as long as these questions would not be posed to her, she was content to let Hümeyra sneakily gawk at everything while clinging to her arm with their non-injured hand. It wasn’t too bad a burn, luckily. Violet had taken the time to make sure of that.

“Just take a seat, a specialist will be with you as soon as possible.”

“No hurry, I’m used to it.”

Violet looked up mostly because of the voice of the nurse – she was rather hoping Hümeyra could be seen to soon – but the young woman that followed the nurse in was a startling enough appearance for her to temporarily join Hümeyra in their staring. She made a rather striking appearance, but whatever had happened to her had left her with a nasty gash on the left side of her head. Instead of bleeding, however, it was streaking translucent blue down her temple, mostly sticking to her skin, but seeming to partially evaporate into pale mist at the edges. It didn’t look good. It certainly didn’t look like something anyone should be “used to”.

The woman made her way over on heavy, muddy combat boots, and let herself fall into a vacant chair. She had kept one chair empty between her and Hümeyra, but that didn’t stop them from peeking at her. It didn’t stop Violet either, but she hoped she was at least doing it more subtly than her pupil. Instead of doing the customary blank stare into empty space everyone else in the waiting room seemed to be employing, the woman turned a pair of lively, light brown eyes in their direction and gave Hümeyra a lopsided grin.

“Hi there,” she nodded, draped in the narrow chair with far too much ease. “What are you in for?”

“I set myself on fire,” Hümeyra explained helpfully, showing off the nearly perfectly round burn mark on her palm.

The woman whistled, making her eyes comically large. “You did a thorough job of that. Do you think they’ll have to take it off?”

Violet turned around in startled indignation, but before she could even open her mouth Hümeyra let out a derisive scoff:

“Of course they’re not taking my hand off.”

“No?” the woman said and for a moment that crooked grin flashed back onto her face as her eyes darted up to Violet’s for a second.

“No,” Hümeyra said decidedly. “Violet said it was going to be fine. And she knows everything.”

The brown eyes twinkled a little brighter and Violet hastily focussed all her attention on Hümeyra again. “Does she really, how come?”

Violet couldn’t quite see Hümeyra’s face, but she was well aware what sort of expression seven-year-olds treat people to when they feel they are being particularly uninformed. “She’s a teacher.”

Really.” The woman raises her hands in complete acquiescence. “Well, then it’s her job to know, isn’t it.”

“Exactly,” Hümeyra nodded, satisfied in their victory. “And besides, your face looks much worse than my hand and you don’t seem worried they’re going to cut it off.”

“Honestly, Hümeyra!” Violet exclaimed, but the woman was snickering into the collar of her leather jacket, not in the least disturbed.

“No need, Ms Violet, no need. Your student displays astute observational and reasoning skills. You should be very proud.”

“Well I am,” Violet said firmly. “They’ve done exceptional work today.” She glanced down at Hümeyra’s face. “But that’s no reason to tell strangers their face looks bad.”

“Oh, of course, my mistake,” the woman said and to Violet’s increased bewildered amusement she leaned over, extending a hand to Hümeyra. “Tria, nice to meet you Hümeyra.”

Hümeyra shook her hand with solemn formality. “Hümeyra Çelik, how do you do.”

Tria grinned and now held out her hand to Violet.

She shook it, regarding her with a smile that still felt a little doubtful on her face. “Violet.”

Another grin and then Tria sat back again. “There,” she hummed. “Now you can say whatever you like about my horrid face.”

Hümeyra looked from her to Violet with the great satisfaction of getting to conspire with an adult and said magnanimously: “It doesn’t look that bad.” She peered up with awed curiosity. “What did you do?”

Violet was absolutely unsure what the glance Tria gave her meant exactly, but clearly she was not doing a very good job of looking like a disapproving tutor. Because Tria leaned towards Hümeyra again and muttered in a poor attempt at a whisper: “Can you keep a secret?”

Hümeyra’s hair might as well have stood on end with excitement. “Yes!” they whispered back. “And so can Violet.”

This time the grin that flashed her way seemed far more deliberate and Violet suddenly felt like not breaking eye contact was a genuine act of defiance on her part. Tria’s eyes were very striking.

“Glad to hear it,” Tria chuckled, turning back to Hümeyra. “Well, you know how they tell you not to mess around with advanced magic unless you know what you’re doing?”

“Yes…” Hümeyra’s eyes had gone very round again.

“Well, I was doing a necromantic summoning ritual and an evil spirit tried to eat my face.”

Violet snorted and Hümeyra gaped. “You didn’t.”

“Did too,” Tria insisted, clearly enjoying herself. “It got me right in the side of the head, see? And now I’m leaking spectral energy.”

If Tria’s goal had been to be the new pinnacle of cool in all Hümeyra’s primary school understanding of the concept, she had accomplished it.

“But you don’t even look like a necromancer!” they whispered and Violet was inclined to agree. The leather jacket and the combat boots might have passed, but the high-waisted jeans and positively neon print t-shirt definitely didn’t.

“Don’t I?” Tria glanced down to her feet, sprawled out rather wide on the tile floor. “Well that just goes to show, you can never know…”

Violet could feel Hümeyra practically vibrating with the magnitude of all the information just relayed to her and she made a point of rolling her eyes at Tria above Hümeyra’s head. Instead of making the sort of half-apologetic face most adults did after indulging a child, Tria winked, and Violet found herself fighting back a smile. People covered in mud and weird magic residue shouldn’t be allowed to still be charming.

“Hümeyra Çelik?” a distinctly medical voice called out and Hümeyra perked up with more than just the recognition of their name.

“Mandla!” they beamed, jumping off the chair and greeting the clearly familiar doctor.

“Hello,” he smiled. “Fancy seeing you here instead of your brother.”

Violet rose from her seat rather awkwardly, suddenly keenly aware of not being an actual parent. Hümeyra meanwhile seemed to have forgotten they had ever been crying over the incident.

“I set my whole hand on fire and it only left one mark,” they proclaimed proudly.

“A true prodigy,” the doctor chuckled. “Let’s get that looked at then.” He looked up at Violet and smiled. “Doctor Banning, I usually deal with magical fire and the like.”

“I’m Hümeyra’s tutor,” Violet explained hastily. “Their mother was such a drive away today I offered to take them in.”

“Ah, very good. Please, follow me.”

Doctor Banning tried to ask most questions to Hümeyra directly, but was grateful for the occasional addition from Violet. Knowing the exact type of charm that had caused an injury was a big help. Once they had been joined by a nurse, however, and he was ready to begin the healing ritual, he asked them both if they’d be alright with Violet waiting outside. Since every trace of anxiety had left Hümeyra ever since he showed up, Violet agreed. Magic was always easier to perform with as little unknown outside factors as possible.

When she stepped back into the waiting area, Tria was still seated, confronting Violet with the fact that she was genuinely pleased this was the case. Instead of going back to her old seat, she sat down in Hümeyra’s, smiling involuntarily at the attentive look on Tria’s face.

“How’s your star pupil?”

“Proud they’re being patched up by the same person as their big brother,” she laughed.

Tria’s half-smile widened brightly with approval.

“It was nice of you to entertain them.” Violet took the opportunity to study Tria a little closer. She really did look like the head wound didn’t bother her, although she was very pale. But that might be normal for her.

“Entertaining myself too,” Tria shrugged. “Not a lot you’re allowed to do in a hospital waiting room.”

“No summoning evil spirits,” Violet smirked.

“No summoning of any kind,” she said emphatically, her face contorting in misery. “Such a stifling environment.”

Violet shook her head, smiling at her knees.

“So, tutor, not teacher,” Tria said after a moment’s silence.

“Yes, specifically for young children with rarer types of magic,” she replied. “I’m a scryer,” she added, without quite knowing why.

“A scryer?” Tria echoed with interest. “How’d you end up in tutoring? All the scryer’s at my school were scouted into either security jobs or med school before we’d even graduated.”

“Don’t have the stomach for med school, don’t have the patience for security,” Violet said with a wry smile. “And it really helps with the tutoring, being able to tell where their innate talent’s lie.” She even had a bit of a reputation at Hümeyra’s school by now, for being able to help the more volatile casters. People were definitely coming to her more easily. It helped that she offered the tutoring on location directly after classes. And she still volunteered in their mentor program, in case there were any intersex kids. “I like helping them figure it out,” she concluded, muttering slightly. There was a lot of completely unguarded admiration in Tria’s expression that she found very difficult to witness without looking away.

“That’s really cool. I mean— You did let one of your kids set themself on fire, but you also brought them to the hospital, so that’s still pretty cool I guess.”

Violet’s mouth was already half open for an indignant protest, when she saw the twinkling lights back in the brown eyes, and she shut her mouth again with narrowed eyes. “If you’re so confident, I could use an assistant, you know. Someone for the kids to practise on for instance.”

“Mercy,” Tria groaned. “I’m already injured.”

Violet let out a snort. “That’s what I thought.”

“Might be a nice break from the freelance thing, though,” Tria sighed.

“Oh, that’s a tough gig,” Violet said compassionately. She had tried it for a while, before joining the tutoring agency. “What do you do?”

“Spell work, sigils, whatever people need, I guess,” Tria shrugged. “I help out at the zoo sometimes. Conservationist work, you know. Extinct animals.”

Violet blinked. Extinct animals. “You mean you’re actually a necromancer?”

The grin returned in a flash. “Sure am. You didn’t think I’d lie just to make an impression, did you?”

Violet felt her face grow hot, but just before she was forced to answer, a voice called out:

“Triana Wright?”

Tria sat up from her slouch with a start. “Right here!”

As she got to her feet, Violet very keenly felt the absence of any appropriate sort of goodbye to make. This had been a very strange meeting and she didn’t—

“Hey Violet?”

 She looked up into Tria’s face. She was far taller than she had expected.

Tria walked a few steps awkwardly backwards in the direction of the nurse that had called her name. “…say hi to the firebug for me.”

She smiled, feeling an odd sort of resignation settle in her chest. “Will do.”

She caught a slight glimpse of Tria’s answering smile before she turned around and then tried very hard not to watch her walk round the corner of one of the adjoining corridors. For a moment, she sat very still. And then she took out her phone. She had half of a text typed out to complain about strange, attractive women stomping about in giant boots and being nice to kids before thinking the better of it and deleting it all. Even removed all the way to the other end of the country, her best friend could not be trusted not to get on the first train over here to once again try to manage her love life in person. She would text her about it later. When it was a dramatic anecdote instead of an upset still technically in progress.

Blessedly soon after that deplorably rational decision, Hümeyra emerged from the treatment room, brimming with pride and with a no longer active sigil drawn on the palm of her now fully healed hand.

“All fixed,” the nurse said cheerfully. “The sigil will wash right off, but Hümeyra wanted to show it at home.”

“Perfect,” Violet laughed. “Well, let’s get you home then. Your mum must be nearly back by now.”

Hümeyra walked cheerfully back with her, good-humoured even when Violet ended up in a very long argument with the parking meter.

Alright,” she grunted, snatching the ticket from the machine when it finally decided to grant it to her. “Well, the upside is that your mum is definitely home by now. Come on.”

They made it two steps onto the parking lot.

“Hey, firebug!” Tria came out of the hospital entrance at a half-jogging pace. Still all black leather and neon print, but this time without the unnerving wound on the left side of her face and with her dark blond hair no longer in its ponytail but flying distractingly loose. “They let you keep your hand, nice,” she nodded, coming to a halt right beside them.

“Told you,” Hümeyra huffed. “Look!” They proudly held up their palm to her and Tria made a deeply impressed sound.

“That looks bada—bsolutely awesome,” she floundered, wincing minutely in Violet’s direction.

Violet bit her lip.

“I bet your brother’s gonna be real impressed.”

“He better be.”

Tria laughed softly and looked back up at Violet. “You drove here?”

“Yup.” Was that not obvious? Or…would she have offered them a ride if they had come here by bus?

“Right, me too.” Tria swayed forward on her feet a little, eyes darting for a moment. “Hey, uh, I realise this is probably…” She shifted her weight again, the slightly lopsided grin coming back to her face, but a bit more hesitant than before. “If I asked you out right now, would that be weird?”

Violet stared at her. Beside her right elbow, Hümeyra let out a little gasp.

“That depends,” she replied, ignoring the very fast little thump that her heart just did. “Is an emergency room a normal place to pick up dates? Can’t say I’ve spent enough time in hospitals to say if it isn’t.”

Tria’s grin grew a little wider. “If I say yes, will that make you say yes?”

Something in Violet’s chest seemed to be pushing against her ribs from the inside. Tria had one of the most open, expressive faces she had ever considered a stranger to have… Dammit. Even without looking down Violet could tell that Hümeyra was looking up at the both of them with the exact same expression they usually reserved for brightly coloured cartoon characters with large eyes.

“You could start by giving me your number,” she said. “Then we’ll see about a date.”

She had barely finished speaking before Tria had fished a folded piece of paper with the hospital logo on it out of her jacket pocket and held it out to her between two ink-stained fingers.

“…smooth.” It was unfair to smile at people like that. Unfair.

“I was hoping you’d say that,” Tria said, putting her hands back in her pockets. “Or something that would end with me giving you my number, anyway.”

“Well…” Violet put the piece of paper in her pocket. “I’ll let you know when I’ve decided to use it.”

“Cute,” Tria laughed. “I will take that as my cue to exit. Bye, Hümeyra.” One last flash of her light brown eyes. “See you, Violet.”

Violet watched her go, bounding away across the parking with her hair bouncing around her, and took a deep breath. The paper might as well have a charm on it instead of a string of numbers, going on how she felt it burn in her pocket.

“I didn’t know girls could do that,” Hümeyra’s reverent whisper broke the buzzing white noise in Violet’s head.

She blinked, looking down at them with incredulity. “Honey, Mal and Tammy who look after you after school on Wednesdays are married.”

“Well yeah, but they’re really old,” Hümeyra pointed out. “And they’re not like that.”

“Yeah, you know what, fair enough,” Violet muttered, gently herding Hümeyra towards her car. She could feel a wholly uninvited, but very persistent smile brewing in the corners of her mouth. “I didn’t know girls were allowed to be like that either.”

[Theme music]

Laura: And with that last word stitching up the very last sentence, this story has its proper end.

Thank you very much for listening, I hope you enjoyed this short fantasy story. I wanted to say thank you to each and every one of you who took the time to send me a message or leave me a comment in response to the podcast going off Spotify. It’s lovely to hear from you and it really means so much to me to know that you enjoy this podcast as much as I enjoy making it. Thank you.

If you want to know how to contact me, or where to find my other projects, you can find all that on my website

There’s another tale to tell some other day, but until then…

Be careful when casting, guard your name, and be safe~

[Music fades]

Image of the Patchwork Fairy Tale dragon from the podcast logo.

Copyright Laura Simons, please do not copy my stories without my permission, lest you insult the fae.

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