The Concoction

When they get there, Shika and Waconda are sleeping on a pair of benches in the foyer. The two exhausted Lost wake their companions and together, they go rouse Olga, who was dozing in an actual room with a bed. She takes the onion drop and the Mountain Dew bottle full of vampire blood and goes to the kitchens.

She pours the blood into a mixture that has been brewing on a stove, then cuts the onion drop in half. Out of each half, she pulls the vivid yellow heart of the fruit and throws it into the pot. She tells them to wait two hours, and then it will be ready. They all go to rest some more. Once they come back, Olga is just finishing straining the solution into a glass. The liquid that fills the glass is a translucent pink and smells of spoiled bubblegum.

They take the glass upstairs. An earthbones elemental is staring directly at the door to the room Maggie is in with a stoicism that verges on meditation. Waconda remains outside, finding out that his name is Digger and he’s a Summer courtier, while the others go inside.

Inside, they wake Maggie and convince her to drink the concoction. After a moment, he vague expression clears up, and she seems to take stock of her surroundings more acutely than she ever has before.

“Where am I? Am I back?”

Shika again takes the lead in speaking to her. “Yes. You’re back on earth. Do you remember anything about what has happened to you?”

“I’ve been having such awful dreams.”

“I believe you. Have you dreamed about a man named Demetrius?”

“Yes. I dreamed that he was going to take me back to my keeper.”

“What did you do in your dream?”

“I… remember following him into a canyon, and there were trees in the canyon, and I asked them to reach down and kill him, so they did.”

“Do you remember why you thought he was going to take you back to your keeper?”

“Did I kill someone?”

Jacob speaks up, “I’m afraid so.”

“Oh, god, no.” Maggie crumples into herself and shivers. She notices her bark-like skin for the first time. “This isn’t me. This isn’t what I look like. What happened to me?”

Jacob says, “The same thing that happened to all of us.”

Maggie focuses intently on herself for a moment, and her features blur and soften into normal skin and hair. She sighs as the Mask tightens around her, hiding her features even from herself.

Shika asks “What can you tell me about Oleg?”

“I’ve dreamed about Oleg a lot. He came to me in my dreams and asked me a lot of questions. One time Demetrius was there, too. And he told Oleg he was going to help with a locked up boy. I thought he was locking people up. I thought he was going to hurt me.”

“Did Oleg talk to you about Demetrius after that?”

“I told him I was afraid of Demetrius. He told me to confront my fears.”

“I see.”

The others leave, but Shika remains there with Maggie. They look out the barred window at the world. After a while, Shika notices that Maggie’s features have turned back into bark and moss, and she quietly leaves. The potion of lucidity has ended, but they learned what they needed to know.

They report to Olga. She thanks them for all of their hard work, but says she needs one more thing from them; it’s still three weeks until the next session of Court. They can’t just call an emergency session of Court for this one thing, but they can’t let things in the community fester for three weeks as well. She asks all four of them to do what they can to prevent any further violence between Courts until then, but not to reveal the facts of the investigation.

The Concoction

Petals of the Rose Malkom Malkom