Liesl wielded the cumbersome wand over the ancient cauldron with the agility of a lumberjack felling a sapling. Dwarfed by the knotted rod’s size, it was obvious why the young girl’s name had been first shortened to little Elisabeth, then to Lizzie, and finally to its present diminutive Germanic state.

Despite the fact that the petite figure’s name had been minimized to suit her stature, Liesl’s inherited gifts were far from small. The eleven-year-old’s slight build, framed by dark curls that reached her waist, housed the strength of a dozen oxen and a stupendous stubborn spirit, which insisted upon expounding the girl’s knowledge of ancient wisdom whenever she had the chance.

Indeed, the phrase looks can be deceiving applied to Liesl-of-Silverwood. It might well have been coined after an entire village had witnessed her uproot a sixty foot tall tree, turn it upside down, and replant it, roots facing upward when she was but a crawling babe. She did this with the wink of an eye – three winks, actually, while on Safari with her now deceased parents. Oh, and it was not just one tree but tens of thousands – perhaps millions. You may have heard of these arboreal oddities – the baobab?

Contrary to legends linked to its origin, the old ones maintain that Liesl was the one responsible for its bizarre form, even though it has been around for eons.

Yes, Liesl had proven to be quite the force of nature that wild day on the African veld and since then, her teachers had added her bouts of overzealousness in dealing with the simplest of situations as being responsible for the growing list of her misadventures. A perfect example is the day at hand…

Although the pot Liesl steadily stirred was filled to the point that its contents lapped over the edge sending a stiff breeze billowing under her faded skirt, Liesl still managed to whisk the four unruly winds into one giant maelström with great ease.

“Have you added all the ingredients?” Franzl shrieked from the edge of the wood. Liesl’s younger cousin didn’t dare perch any closer to her than the third branch up from the ground of the furthest tree from where she stood. Since having been turned into an owl, the boy no longer trusted enveloping himself in savory smells wafting from large, bubbling pots cooking in clearings in the middle of dark deciduous forests at midnight.

“No, I’m still missing one dram of fresh rattlesnake venom,” said Liesl, concentrating on blending the brew swirling beneath her cinched brow. “I can’t quite reach it. I’ll need you to fetch it for me.”

“Snake?” Franzl’s feathers rustled in the still air. “No! I hate snakes!”

“Then you’ll have to be an owl for the rest of your life,” Liesl spit. Literally. Into the pot.

“But you promised you’d help me—”

“Frankly Franzl, if you don’t give a hoot, then neither do I!”

“Oh, I can’t believe you said that—”

“I just want you to see how ridiculous you are being. Now, bring me that snake. It’s in the cage on that stump behind the crate of newt eggs. Now go – before the potion solidifies.”

Franzl grunted as best an owl’s vocal cords would allow before abruptly standing up, taking aim, and spreading his snowy wings wide. He pushed off from the thick branch, not realizing however, that he had miscalculated his approach.

Swooping past Liesl, Franzl felt a tug.

“Hey!” Liesl yelled swinging her head to the side and over the cauldron.

“Sorry, I’m still new at this,” said Franzl hovering above her. “Looks like I caught you on your earlobe. You’d better wipe the blood off before more of it drips into the potion.”

“More?” Liesl groaned, a millisecond before the explosion.

Today’s post is a combination of two writing challenges:

Start The Year Off Write 2014, Day 4
WordPress’s Daily Post Weekly Writing Challenge titled “Cliffhanger

All I can say is, WHEW!

About Donna Gwinnell Lambo-Weidner

I am an adventure seeking ponderer of the mysteries of the universe, writer of children's books (represented by Stephen Fraser of the Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency), and lover of anything involving armor, archery, or swashbuckling.
This entry was posted in ADVENTURES, HUMOR, SHORT STORIES, WRITING CHALLENGES and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Thumbs up and your phew made me laugh! (Liesl is my favorite German name. Lieselotte or however it is spelled, not so much.) xo


  2. Pingback: {Weekly Writing Challenge} Parenting as a Cliffhanger… | 3rdculturechildren

  3. Vic says:

    I LOVED this! Where’s the rest of the book??? I want to read it!!! There has to be more!!!


  4. Lyn says:

    Yeah, what Vic said. I want more, more, more!


  5. Pingback: Weekly Writing Challenge – Cliffhanger | Joe's Musings

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