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Hedgehog the Shadow, or Why Basic Lab Safety is a Thing

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     Eva picked the potion off the burner and shook it a little, watching the potion inside swirl around.  This one had to do something interesting.  She had poured in so much of her magic that it glowed the color of her namesake.  The creaking of floorboards upstairs reached her ears.  It sounded like something with hooves, so probably Landon, but wasn’t it too early for them to be up? Or maybe it was a normal time.  Eva had lost track of time working.  In any case, she hoped Landon, or whoever it was, wasn’t about to come down to the basement.  This particular experiment wasn’t that much more dangerous than any of her others, but she hadn’t exactly told anyone about this one.  There was so much knowledge to be gained here, but the others would’ve forbidden it!  Maybe keeping a Shadow so close to where they slept wasn’t the wisest idea, but still!


     Speaking of, the Shadow in question had started stirring in its cage, as if it sensed something was about to happen.  For reasons that escaped Eva, it had chosen to assume a form roughly approximating a hedgehog. Perhaps the cage was too small for its other forms to fit comfortably?  She had started calling it Hedgehog the Shadow in her lab notes, though she suspected that naming a Shadow was right up there with living in the same house as one on the big list of Bad Ideas.  Well, technically no one had added them to the list yet because no one knew she was doing this, but if they did, it would probably outrank even lighting the stove with Comet’s fire.


     Carefully, Eva undid the cage’s magical locks and wards and pulled the lid off.  Hedgehog didn’t quite shrink back, but it did regard her warily.  At least, she assumed it did.  It was a little hard to tell, given that its “face” was basically just two glowing eyes set in featureless darkness.  At least it wasn’t making another break for freedom.  When she first started these experiments, she had to plan carefully for when the others were out of the house, or they would have come running at the sounds of the fight that ensued every time she tried to run so much as the simplest test. Honestly it was probably a stroke of luck that she had found Hedgehog almost right after the other three had married.  They all wanted to do their romance stuff together, and it had been so simple to convince them to take it somewhere it wouldn’t interrupt her experiments.  Now though, Hedgehog had quieted down, and everyone was home again.  Maybe she’d make them biscuits, once she finished this.


     The potion sizzled as it hit Hedgehog’s …skin? Fur? Whatever that stuff was, it started to change color, resembling the deep blue-black that lingered behind her eyes after staring at the sun. Its eyes, meanwhile, started to glow a brilliant cyan. Now that was neat! She had to write this down! Wait, where were her lab notes?  She cast around for the notebook as blueish black tendrils started snaking their way out of the cage. Let’s see, spare glasses…pen, oh I’ll need that…notebook…the cage lid… Wait. Here it is! Almost missed it! A sound like tearing metal drew her attention, and something big and dark and not quite right appeared in her peripheral vision, and slowly, Eva turned around.


     Oh, crap.