Image: Starfish fungus © morpethroad.
Miss Marble of 46 Grimace Street was a witch who manufactured multiple potions and at times the odd spell. To do this, she had to have secrets, and she had one secret in particular.
Behind her house, she had a shed in which she kept her three cauldrons bubbling away most of the time.
But behind the cauldron shed she had a sheltered area, cool and damp in which grew her prized fungus, Aseroe rubra, or as she affectionately referred to it as Ruby.
Ruby was a fungus that only appeared at certain times of the year though Miss Marble had convinced it to appear on command.
When it did Miss Marble would stop and sit with it, stroke its bright red tentacles and watch with delight as they quivered and stood up to receive more of the same. Ruby belonged to the stinkhorn family, her centre was full of the most disgustingly foul substances which served as an attraction of any insects who drawn by the aroma would be sucked in and devoured.
It was the foul and disgusting substance that Miss Marble used to create her famous and much sought-after love potion. Ruby had been a long-lived fungus and allowed Miss Marble to clean out its centre in exchange for a bag of winged newts Miss Marble bred for that very purpose.
The love potion was in great demand though Miss Marble did limit its sale to selected folk. In other words, she didn’t give it to just anyone.
The people in Grimace Street knew of her potion and on occasion did ask for it.
Maria Sagers at 14 Grimace Street was recently married and wanted to make a big impression on her new husband, Herbert. She mixed a few drops in his dinner one night, and they didn’t want sleep for three days.
Sally Blinm and her husband at 17 Grimace Street were having marital issues and found the potion took their minds away from the issues bothering them and discovered the attraction of skin on skin outweighed any other issue before them.
Miss Marble was pleased to be able to help her neighbours, and she was doubly pleased Ruby was always there to help her out.
Not a day passed where Miss Marble felt pleased with the role she played in the neighbourhood, even her spinster neighbour Mansur Stigglefod had at times requested a drop or two to brighten up her evening.
Sometimes thought Miss Marble, as she tickled Ruby’s tentacles, everyone needs that little bit of help to achieve the desired release.