This wasn’t the summer Ellie had imagined it would be.
As she reached the top of the hill that overlooked the shadowed wood, she sighed and sat down on the grass.
A gentle breeze blew through her light-brown hair and green robes. She hugged herself. From way up here she could see far into the distance, past the forest that had been her home for the last few months. Autumn was well on its way and the forest was turning into a sea of red, orange, and gold.
She could see the small village just beyond the tree line bustling with activity, the gurgling stream that flowed out of the forest toward the nearby lake, and, beyond all that, a flock of sheep. At that point a cloud of billowing smoke choked out the idyllic view.
The tall, dark chimneystack from where the smoke came stood out like a sore thumb in the exact center of the forest.
Only from this hill could anyone see just how large and sprawling the estate within the forest truly was, and only from here could one see the small shack that Ellie slept in every night.
Every witch, wizard, sorcerer, and sorceress was required to take on an apprenticeship before they could have a village of their own to protect. Typically the better the mentor, the larger the town apprentices received, so Ellie had chosen the greatest sorcerer in the land.
That was her first big mistake.
Clarence’s teachings had proven to be little more than a joke, although very few of his apprentices had ever received his seal of approval. Most gave up their magical vocations and simply disappeared after their ordeal was done.
Instead of learning magic, she had been treated like a scullery maid forced to clean, to dust and fetch the damned water from this well atop the hill.
Ellie glared at the bucket she had brought along. Ten times she’d trudged up the hill to fetch water today at the behest of her mentor, but that was nothing compared to the hundreds of other trips she’d taken up the hill over the summer.
She brushed off her robes as she stood. Sticking with the apprenticeship was her second big mistake.
It’s worth it, she thought to herself. It has to be worth it.
She hauled the bucket to the lip of the well and carefully clamped a metal hook and rope onto it. She tipped the bucked into the well and listened for the splash.
“Well that was exciting,” Ellie said dejectedly, not even able to crack a smile over the bad pun.
As she hauled the bucket back up, an explosion of light and sound burst over the village. Fireworks. It was Clarence. The sorcerer regularly went into town to show off his magnificent powers, but rarely did anything to actually help those in need.
He “Protects the weak from the evil that lies within the forest”, but in the tavern on particularly well-lubricated nights you could hear the old men speak of the even greater evil of the protection money he made them pay.
Most of the minor miracles – revived crops, healed animals, a problem-free childbirth – that had taken place in recent months were Ellie’s doing.
She acted out of line, yes, but it was better than sitting around doing nothing. Still: it rankled that he claimed those deeds as his own.
The distant fireworks fizzled out as abruptly as they had begun. Ellie picked up her bucket and gripped it tightly. It would be a steep, precarious descent back into the woods.
Deep within the forest, Ellie tried to whistle.
She’d never been a very musical person. The forest itself provided enough music in any case.
It was a lush place where the estate had not spread. Families of deer roamed the woods in search for berries and mushrooms. Birds of all kinds roosted in the high branches and the squirrels had improved the aim of their projectile acorns a lot since Ellie had arrived.
Long ago, birds were silent in these woods.
Farmers spoke of those times in whispers at the local tavern, but sang ballads about the men who lost their lives driving away the witch who once darkened these lands.
Ellie caught herself whistling the familiar tune, the one composed in honour of Clarence who had appeared to save the day so long ago. Using his rare magical gifts, he was able to trap the witch and seal her magic rendering her useless. It was said in her blind despair, she ran to the river and was swept away never to be seen again.
The bucket sloshed as she walked on in silence, the weight pulling at her arm.
If nothing else, she felt a little stronger than she had been at the start of the apprenticeship. All of the late nights spent by candlelight studying at the magical academy had kept her out of the sun, but now she had back the tan she’d lost since her childhood.
Tomes filled with old runes and her professors had taught her all she needed to know to master her magical foundations, but she still needed this practicum to graduate.
She even knew a handful of offensive spells that she was supposed to have learned in this portion of her educations, but she wasn’t very good with them. Most of her magical experiments had ended with some tough explanations at the school infirmary why her eyebrows had gone missing.
The bucket sloshed. She kept walking.
As she did, a little, dark-haired girl dressed in purple came skipping up the path.
She was an odd sight, as few villagers ventured into the forest. The girl stopped just in front of Ellie.
“You’re the sorcerer’s new apprentice, aren’t you?” the little girl asked.
“I am,” Ellie replied, a little taken aback. It wasn’t normal for a girl like her to address her in such a direct way. Most just ran away giggling when they saw her. “And who might you be?”
“Magenta,” the girl replied.
“Well, Magenta, are you lost? These woods aren’t exactly safe and night will be falling soon.”
“I’m not lost. I’m seven; I’m allowed in here. I come here to pick berries, but only the blackberries because they won’t stain my dress.”
“That… actually makes a lot of sense,” Ellie mused as she continued walking, Magenta hopping and skipping on ahead. She reminded Ellie almost too much of how she was as a child.
“I don’t like how my hair gets caught in the brambles, though.”
The little girl sang the little tune the men from the tavern sang. Unlike Ellie, she was able to stay in tune throughout all of the verses.
“I don’t like the song very much,” Magenta said. “The ending is all wrong, my dad says that the witch is still alive.”
“Does he now,” Ellie said. “Who are your parents? They must be getting worried about you.”
“I don’t think so,” Magenta replied. “My dad’s the magistrate and my mom died when I was born.”
“I’m sorry to hear that,” Ellie said, but a thought struck her.
“What do you do up at the manor?” Magenta asked.
“Not too much, really. I fetch water.” Ellie gave a slight sigh. “It’s all part of my training, you see. I have to study under a great sorcerer to become one myself.”
“I don’t think he’s so great.”
“Oh, why’s that?”
“My dad said that the witch who used to live in the woods was much more powerful than him. He says that she was tricked into her sleep and that she never really left.”
“Tricked? From what I heard, she was—she passed on.”
“That’s just what my dad says. He also says that she’s why the sorcerer doesn’t like lady apprentices like you because you’re weaker than the men.”
“I wanted to be a sorceress,” Magenta said brightly. “I even have my own magic wand.” She brandished a small stick that had been smoothed of its bumps.
“You don’t need a wand,” Ellie said with a smile. “Magic is something that comes from within, but some of my magic comes from nature.”
Ellie waved a hand in the direction of the woods. The two watched as the tree roots snaked over the path in front of them creating a small bridge over a puddle. Ellie maintained the magic as they walked over the puddle and released the magic.
“Oh, and wands made out of wood have a tendency to explode, so using your hands is much safer.” Ellie held out her hand and a small flame appeared in the middle of her palm. “That’s about all I can do right now in terms of fire magic. It’s dangerous, but it has uses.”
“Cool,” Magenta said, her big eyes reflecting the dancing flame. She grabbed for the flame, but it disappeared as her fist closed around it. She licked her lips as it appeared again in Ellie’s hand.
“I’ll probably need this to light the way home,” Ellie said, looking around at the darkening woods.
“Mind if I have a drink of water?” Magenta asked, pointing at the bucket.
“What? Oh, I don’t think so. The sorcerer… Clarence has forbidden me from drinking the well water and giving it away, so I don’t think it would be a good idea for you to.”
The command from the sorcerer had come as a surprise. He was adamant that she not drink the water, so of course Ellie had put a vial of it through a gamut of tests in her small laboratory.
There was nothing special about it. It was very pure, but that was all.
“Why can’t I have a sip? All of you magic people are jerk!” Magenta asked testily. “But I liked the last apprentice better. He and the sorcerer were best friends.”
“Were they, now,” Ellie said.
“Yeah, they used to drink together at the tavern and sing songs! Sorcerer Clarence even made his apprentice robes spun from gold thread! But he still wouldn’t give me a drink either probably because I’m a girl.”
Magenta walked up close to Ellie. The little girl had a fierce look about her.
“If you give me a drink, I’ll tell you a secret,” she said.
“What kind of secret?”
“The kind of secret that will help you be a better sorceress.”
What does she mean, Ellie thought, then smiled.
“Ok, fine,” Ellie said.
As Ellie moved the bucket forward, Magenta kicked it, sending the water flying. The girl grabbed for the flame, then took off into the forest with the flickering magic in her hand.
“H-hey! Wait! What about that secret?” Ellie yelled at the retreating girl.
She watched as the flame disappeared from view.
“It won’t last,” Ellie mused
She looked into the now half-full bucket of water and groaned. She dragged a hand across the surface and pulled out a few strands of black hair.
Ellie was drenched in sweat by the time she reached the gates of the manor. The encounter with Magenta had left her feeling a little peculiar.
At the back of the house, Ellie heaved the bucket into a dumbwaiter the cooking staff would be awaiting below. The bucket descended and retuned empty a few moments later.
What happened to the water in the process was a bit of a mystery to Ellie. The large kitchens below were restricted to two sallow-faced servants who did most of the cooking.
Once she had tried to gain access to the basement, only to have one of the servants catch her, drag her upstairs, and force to get another bucket of water.
The manor on the whole was bereft of the typical assortment of glowing artifacts, protective charms, and magic mirrors that adorned most magical homes, and was thus well below par compared to the homes of the professors who had brought students home for dinner.
It was too plain, and that unsettled Ellie.
But she could feel some kind of magical energy coming from the basement. It was there Clarence spent most of his time during the day.
Some said that he was the greatest sorcerer in the land and had no need of protective charms, but Ellie had her doubts.
The apprentices, as Magenta had mentioned, who had passed his test went on to become powerful figureheads in their own fiefdoms. A sorcerer never got that kind of political power without making a few enemies of his own.
Maybe a little suffering now would go a long way, but the summer’s worth she had already received grated on her. She was irked knowing that the previous apprentice had been treated better, but knowing he had also had to carry the well water helped.
Ellie looked at her hands, where she could still see two faint lines from the bucket’s handle. Her mentor had been explicit that she wasn’t to use magic in order to carry the water. He said it built character.
Clarence burst through the front gates of the manor. He walked belly-first in his extravagant golden robes.
Much like the stories of his triumphs, Clarence was larger than life. His face was pudgy from too many lavish dinners in his honour. He had a smile constantly on his face, but the whiteness of his teeth was surely an illusion.
“Good evening my young apprentice, how goes it?” Clarence asked with a toothy grin. A large coin purse jangled on his belt.
“I dropped off another bucket of water,” Ellie replied. “Is there anything else you require today? Maybe we could try a lesson or two before the sun sets.”
“Oh yes… the lessons well here’s what we’ll do: I’ve got some more business to take care of in the manor— mundane clerical matters. There’s no end to the problems in the village, but let’s say tomorrow— oh watch out—“
Clarence’s hand darted out and slapped Ellie’s arm. A little spider fell to the ground, its legs flailing in the air. Clarence crushed it with his boot.
“Why’d you do that?” Ellie’s voice shook.
“’Twas just a spider, apprentice,” Clarence replied matter-of-factly. “As I was saying, perhaps tomorrow we will find the time to explore the vagaries of our magical talents and unearth the power that lies within. Until then, apprentice, best you continue to practice on your own.”
“That’s what you said yesterday.”
“My word Ellie, I thought you’d show a little more respect for my position. I will be in my study, good evening.”
Ellie gaped as her mentor took off toward the manor, robes flapping as he walked.
Her hand tightened into a fist and she closed her eyes.
Magenta’s words scratched at the back of her head as Ellie slowly breathed in and out to maintain control. Magic brought on by strong emotions was often quite powerful, yet very chaotic.
She breathed out just as Clarence returned to steal away what little tranquility she’d found.
“Oh, and here’s the bucket,” he said, dropping the container at her feet. “Tsk, tsk, you forgot to take it out of the dumbwaiter. Now be a good apprentice and go fetch me some more.”
“Excuse me, apprentice? What did you say?”
“I said no,” Ellie said.
“Ellie, Ellie, Ellie it seems like you have forgotten the reason why you are here at my manor as my apprentice,” Clarence said. “You are here to learn and you learn by doing what I tell you to. I think we made that clear on day one.”
“I haven’t learned anything,” Ellie said defiantly. “All I do is fetch well water, watch you shake hands with people in town, and act as a brief conversation piece. At least, I try to help people around the village. All you do is soak in your glory.”
Clarence’s eyes narrowed. He picked up the bucket and shoved it into Ellie’s arms, and gave her a hard shove. His face was set in a scowl as he advanced on her.
“Go get me some more well water,” he said threateningly.
“No!” Ellie shouted throwing down the bucket.
As Clarence raised his hand into the air to strike her, Ellie’s hand shot out fingers stopping just inches away from her mentor’s face.
Tree roots burst from the ground, wrapping around Clarence’s legs like pythons. He writhed as they curled tighter and tighter. Ellie’s fury fueled her power.
“Ellie,” he warned looking into the young sorceress’s eyes. “Release me this instant!”
She’d dreamed of testing him like this and to see him fight back, even if it resulted in magical injuries.
“I’ll give you one more chance to stop!” Clarence roared.
“Fight back!” Ellie commanded as the roots tightened. The coiled, green tendrils were growing barbs.
Clarence thrust a hand into his robes and pulled out a small, loaded crossbow. The metal glinted in the dying sunlight. He aimed it at his young apprentice, but she was too quick.
As he squeezed the hair trigger, a root knocked it out of his hand, but it fired. The bolt zipped past Ellie’s face, grazing her ear. She clutched it with a hand and winced.
Momentarily distracted, Clarence dove into another pocket and took out a vial. It contained an inky liquid, but as he unstoppered another root knocked it from his hand. The vial dropped to the ground.
Ellie tightened the roots around Clarence and walked up to him. She grabbed the vial and swirled the liquid. She looked Clarence up and down.
He was sweating.
Ellie was befuddled. Any sorcerer, especially one with Clarence’s reputation, could easily escape binds such as these. She could count the ways in which she would escape if in his position.
Unless there was another reason.
She opened the vial and put a drop of the liquid into her palm. It sparkled a dark shade of purple in the light. She let the drop fall onto an exposed root and watched in horror as it grew uncontrollably. It lashed about before it started to burn. Ellie put the stopper back in and pocketed the vial.
The liquid was distilled magical essence.
“You’re a fraud,” Ellie said.
“You can’t do this!” Clarence yelled hoarsely as he floated through the front door of the manor. Ellie waved a hand in his direction and sat him down hard on a chair. Telekinesis wasn’t one of her stronger subject areas.
The sallow-faced servants appeared, but hastened off when they saw Ellie’s hand extended toward them.
In it was the vial filled with the strange liquid. She opened it up and carefully, with an eyedropper, extracted a drop. She placed it onto the mahogany table before her former mentor.
Ellie created a small flame in her hand and placed it close to the liquid, which fizzled and popped in response.
“Don’t put it close to a flame!” Clarence yelled as he struggled with his invisible bonds. “Do you want to blow us sky high?”
“One swig of this would give any ordinary human a massive dose of magic,” Ellie said to her former mentor.
Clarence was very lucky to still be alive.
“The basement,” Ellie said. “You make it in the basement, how?”
“You’re not the first to have found out,” Clarence said with an evil glare in his eye. “There were others, but I made them disappear like you will once I’m free. I have friends across the kingdom, powerful allies!”
“Friends who use this stuff just like you?”
Clarence sneered and struggled with the magical binds.
Ellie grabbed him up once again with her magic. Pushing him through the door and into the basement, she found herself in a strange laboratory.
In the center of the room was a large, wooden barrel being fed with a constant stream of water by a coal-fired mechanical pump. This explained the billowing black smoke, but begged so many more questions.
A series of apparatuses drained the water from the barrel that was now a dark shade of purple, just like the liquid in the vial. The setup looked like a distillery she had seen as a child.
On the barrel was a small ladder. Ellie grabbed hold of the railings, but Clarence called out.
“Don’t go up there!” he yelled. “Don’t touch her!”
Ellie looked down over the top of the barrel, into the swirling darkness. She couldn’t see anything through the layer of black sludge at the top. A pair of tongs hung from the side of the barrel. She picked them up and drew the metal across the top of the liquid.
The surface parted strangely and clung to the instrument. It was almost like hair. Ellie looked down again and gasped.
A girl’s face stared back up from the depths, white as ivory. Her eyes were unblinking and white—sightless. Ellie trembled. She looked at Clarence, whose gaze was on the ground.
“—in a way,” the sallow-faced servants said.
The two had entered into the basement and went to stand by their master. He burned with rage as they looked on.
“She stole our master’s—”
“—magic long ago, so… he stole her.”
Ellie stared down into the gloom. The witch in the barrel didn’t breathe nor stir. It was as if she was frozen in time.
“I saw her in the woods not an hour ago,” she said in a whisper. “Magenta…”
“It would not be wise—”
“—to touch the witch.”
“Why not?” Ellie asked.
“Powerful as she was—”
“—she was not the most stable of masters when we served her.”
“the weaker magic users.”
“Why keep her like this?”
“Because she stole it from me! My magic…” Clarence sobbed.
“So you used her as your own personal supply? To stoop so low,” Ellie hissed.
“You wouldn’t?” Clarence bit out. “I had to hide my loss for years after we routed her out of this damned forest. Those were dark days, girl. After years of searching, I found her! She drowned in a bloody cave, ha! I stole my magic back. She made me powerful again!”
“If she remains in the water—”
“—untouched by magic she will slumber.”
“The pure well water you have brought—”
“—saps her magic, keeps her balanced.”
“If her magic grows she’ll escape,” Clarence said. “You and I both know we don’t want that to happen.”
Ellie’s legs felt numb. “How much more magic would she need to escape?” she asked.
“A flame’s worth,” a hollow voice answered.
Magenta was staring up at her.
Magenta rose from the barrel, a weightless ivory spectre.
She was older than she had been when Ellie met her in the forest. Her white skin covered by her thick, black head of hair. Her face wrinkled by time. Her fingers long and spidery.
The servants had long ago escaped and Clarence lay trembling on the ground. Ellie stood her ground as she watched the witch step onto the ladder.
“Ellie,” the witch said quietly from her perch. “Thank you for releasing me from my prison.” In her hand was the small flame, which flickered perilously close to the magical essence.
Clarence whimpered. Magenta turned her head to look at him. She stood rigid atop the ladder, then slowly descended until she was face to face with Ellie.
“There’s no need to be afraid,” Magenta said. “You were so kind to me, although I admit my younger self was a bit of a brat.”
The witch looked to the laboratory in the basement. “I always wished they would have found a larger barrel for me it’s left a kink in my back,” she said as she yawned. “My beauty sleep has gone on far too long.”
“Beauty sleep?” Clarence roared.
“The well water was oh so good for my skin, but an ‘A’ for effort trying to keep me contained,” she said.
She walked around the room. The crystal vials rang as she passed.
“My magic has spread across the world as I slept,” Magenta said quietly. “Such a strange feeling, to be in so many places at once. Clarence’s magically impotent customers… Rudolfo in the north, Alexa in the east, Beneris in the west, and Urs in the south. Such powerful magical beings and I can feel them in my forest.”
“Filthy wench,” Clarence hissed.
“What do you want?” Ellie asked, stepping in front of Clarence as Magenta approached him.
“The same as him. I wished my magic returned, but after he gave me away to that first apprentice I had more than enough to escape. Now I want so much more.”
“She can control them,” Clarence said. “They have her magic within them now. We were her pawns—”
“In my admittedly long and unintentional game of checkers, not a big fan of chess,” Magenta said. “I must admit I never expected you to steal away my magic and give it others. Too bad Ellie didn’t meet up to your expectations like the many other sorceresses who have chosen to stay in the shack, and not in the estate.”
Magenta looked over to Ellie. “I like this one,” she said. “You have a power inside of you that gave me a reason wake me up after all these years.”
“Coffee would have worked just as well,” Ellie said cautiously.
Magenta smiled and examined her arm, which appeared to be growing. Unnatural and rubbery, it touched the floor yet remained dexterous.
“That’s new,” the witch mused.
With a sweep across the room, she gathered up the vials and unstoppered them before pouring the liquid over herself. In her other hand was the flame. A smile flickered across Magenta’s face.
“We have to go!” Clarence hissed.
Ellie grabbed him up, darted upstairs, and leaped through the door just as Magenta’s power exploded from the ground. Clarence was thrown to the ground and Ellie knelt beside him as the splinters that had been the house rained down around them.
Magenta emerged from the wreckage garbed in a flowing black robe. The inner lining was a brilliant magenta that sparkled in the night.
“A little on the nose,” Ellie said. “Don’t you think?”
“Perhaps,” Magenta replied.
Fires lit the crater where the manor once stood, but a single flame held in Magenta’s hand seemed to outshine everything. It floated out her hand and came to rest in Ellie’s palm. Ellie closed her hand and extinguished it.
Clarence groaned in the dirt.
The forest stirred as a breeze swept through the valley. Ellie brushed a little dust off of her green robes. She looked to the witch.
“You’ve shown quite a lot of potential over the summer,” Magenta said. “Kindness and charity are two qualities that have disappeared since my time as the caretaker of these lands. I lived a quiet life here once. Protecting villagers, healing the forests, and mending wounds, but those like Clarence wished me to use my powers for so much more.”
Magenta walked up to Ellie and placed a hand on her shoulder. She motioned for Ellie to look to the sky. One-by-one the stars winked out. A magical field had covered the heavens.
In Magenta’s hands was a growing number of shining blue lights. They shot up into the sky and replaced the stars. Ellie watched as the lights then took off in different directions all across the world.
“I’m calling them to me,” Magenta said. “Everyone in this world who has my magic will arrive in my forest shortly.”
“What are you going to do?” Ellie asked backing away.
“People are often lust for power yet when they attain it they rarely know what to do. They rush about madly trying to steal what little glory they can find and find themselves corrupted. Ellie, you could become my apprentice and we will create a new world bereft of people like him,” Magenta said eyeing Clarence who was still struggling on the ground. “I will take their magic and much more should they refuse.”
Ellie’s eyes narrowed. “You can’t take away our powers,” she said angrily. “You have no right to decide what others should do with their magic! No matter how awful they are.”
“You would choose to have people of his ilk running the world around you? Even when I took away his magic, he lusted for more. I think he’s better off dead,” Magenta said raising her hand toward him.
“No,” Ellie said rushing in front of Clarence. “I won’t let you kill him.”
Magenta lowered her hand, but as she did the strange smile from her younger self appeared on her face. Ellie tried to wake Clarence, but he lay on the ground going in and out of consciousness.
“Ellie,” Magenta whispered.
Ellie turned to see Magenta standing inches away from her looking down at her through the thick, black strands of her hair. A waxen hand caressed her face and sent a shiver throughout her whole body.
“Will you give me your magic then?” Magenta asked.
Ellie threw a fireball out toward the sorceress, but the witch disappeared the moment the spell left her hands. Ellie spun round, but Magenta caught her hand before she could use any of her magic.
“So much potential… wasted,” Magenta said. “Normally I would give you one more chance to join me, but not this time.”
Ellie watched as her magic was syphoned from her body. Roots began to stir in the ground beneath them and coiled up their bodies. Ellie tried to push the roots off of her, but they weren’t under her control. They coiled tighter and tighter now with barbs digging into her skin.
Magenta smiled as the roots around her began to blossom and one coiled onto her head forming into a crown. “Such beautiful magic you have,” she said.
Ellie struggled with the roots, but felt something in her robes. It was the vial she had pocketed earlier. Magenta, and her, were both covered in roots, but it might be her only chance.
Quickly as she could, she unstoppered the vial and splashed the liquid onto the roots. Saturated with the well water from below, the roots screamed Magenta’s chaotic magic filled them. They flailed all about the sorceress as she tried to contain them.
The roots let Ellie go and she dragged Clarence as far away as she could, but she kept an eye on Magenta. The roots lashed about surrounding her. Ellie winced as the barbs took form on the mangled, twisted bunch. They wouldn’t be able to let go now.
In Ellie’s hand was the small flame.
It left her hand and shot toward the tangled ball of roots before her, which erupted in an inferno of light and heat. Ellie covered herself in her robes as the fire continued to grow feeding off of the unstable magic within Magenta.
Clarence regained consciousness and stared blearily around him. He saw the ball of dancing fire and a look of horror entered into his eyes.
“My magic,” he said quietly. “My magic!”
“What are you doing?” Ellie yelled holding him back from running into the fire.
He pushed her off and took off into the centre of the blaze where he disappeared.
In the distance, Ellie could see torchlights in the forest. The village militia had arrived, but they were in danger. Within the fire, Ellie watched as Magenta’s body swayed and fell to the ground.
Ellie walked closer and watched as her body disintegrated, the ash spreading across the ground.
Ellie saw the militia and told them to stay back.
The man in the lead spoke up. “Ellie, what happened?”
She looked to him and what she saw made her freeze. His eyes were a shade of purple, a shade of magenta. The men and women advanced on her, their faces all with the same strange smile.
“It looks like you didn’t get to the root of the problem,” Magenta said through the man.
Ellie, wide-eyed, took off in a run.
Her summer was just beginning.
This short story was written during a Science Fiction and Fantasy Short Story Workshop at the University of Toronto. The short program was overseen by author Caitlin Sweet.