Chapter 3 : Bloody Hell
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“Alright, class, today we’re going to be collecting soil samples from the forest,” Hagrid began the lesson, gesturing vaguely to the dark, looming trees behind him. “And then we’re going to be examining the samples for microscopic organisms, like flobberworm larvae.”
Flobberworm larvae. Fabulous. Suddenly Teddy wasn’t so sure that Care of Magical Creatures was his favourite class. With many grumbles and protests, the students proceeded into the forest, collecting empty little flasks from Hagrid as they passed him.
Teddy was collecting his first sample when he smelled something. Blood. And a lot of it. He tried to tell himself it was some hurt animal but he knew it was human. There was far too much of it to ignore, so he followed his nose.
Eves Maddie was crouching in a bed of blood-red flowers, collecting a sample from the ground. She looked fine, but as he got closer Teddy could see her tights were stained darkly with blood. There were bug-like things clustered on her legs, Teddy could see now. He had no idea what they were.
“Eves, your legs!”
She looked confused for a moment before her eyes widened in horror as she looked down. She madly tried to brush them off.
“They are eating me!” She shrieked. “They are eating me alive!”
“Get out of the flowers!” He called, running towards her. She sprung to obey.
He helped her pull the last of them off, and fresh blood covered his hands, making them sticky. The smell was too much – his nostrils were burning with pain. The ability to detect blood had some disadvantages for him.
Eves fainted – her deathly pale face and the pool of running blood around her feet told Teddy that she wouldn’t live much longer. He picked her up easily and tried to breathe through his mouth as he ran back to his teacher.
“Hagrid, Hagrid!! Eves Maddie has been attacked! Little bug things in red flowers.” Teddy dumped her body unceremoniously at Hagrids feet.
Hagrid even more unceremoniously ripped her tights off and pulled a small jar from one of his many pockets. He smeared a foul looking balm on her wounds, and finally, the blood stopped flowing out.
Hagrid lifted her, and called all the students in.
“I’m taking her to the hospital wing. Then I’m going to give you all a lecture about Fleshbanes. Stay here, alright?” He took off.
Hagrid returned ten minutes later. After reassuring the class Eves would be fine, he sat them in a circle on the ground.
“Now, first of all there is some dispute as to whether Blood Lilies and Fleshbanes should be taught in Herbology or in Care of Magical Creatures. You see, they form a deadly partnership. One is a plant, and one is a deadly creature.” He motioned for them to get their books out of their bags and take notes.
“Fleshbanes at rest look a lot like Blood Lilies, so they cling to the stem, see, and wait for some poor folk to wander about the pretty flowers. Blood Lilies have sticky pollen, which can easily sink through clothing, and gets onto the skin. It numbs the area so that when the Fleshbanes start biting, the victim is unaware.”
Teddy realised that was why Eves hadn’t noticed she was bleeding to death, and why she hadn’t squirmed when she tore out the bugs, although very often a bit of flesh had torn away with them.
“So the pollen gets onto your skin, and then a Fleshbane silently emerges from cover and attacks you. They have racer sharp pincers for biting with. The numbing effect of the Blood Lilies is so powerful that you can have hundreds of Fleshbanes eating you without ever noticing,” he nodded towards Teddy. “Good thing Lupin saw the blood.”
Teddy glanced down to hide his guilty look. If Hagrid assumed he had seen the blood, he wasn’t going to correct him.
“Usually, the person dies from blood loss pretty quickly. The Blood Lilies then prosper from the bodies of the Fleshbanes victims fertilising their soils. See how it’s a partnership?”
The class nodded, horrified of how close to death Eves had been.
“Of course, you can pick Blood Lilies and use their numbing pollen for pain relief. They teach that in survival courses and such. But you’ve got to pick off the Fleshbanes as soon as they bite and make sure you don’t miss any. There’s no point wearing gloves, they’ll just tear right through.” He glanced down at the class, who were taking notes dutifully but also looked quite shaken.
“The best thing to do is to stay away from the Blood Lilies. Come on, I’ll show you what they look like.” With that, the whole class trooped to the patch of seemingly innocent, beautiful red flowers. Hagrid got them to try to see where the Fleshbanes were. It was quite difficult to tell the difference between the bugs and the flower petals. The lesson soon ended, and the class trooped back to the castle, in silent shock.
Authors Note: Blood Lilies and Fleshbanes are the invention of Emily Rodda. You can read all about them in “Deltora Quest: The Isle of the Dead” or “The Deltora Book of Monsters.” I’ve put the explanation of them into my own words, none of it is quoted. This chapter was designed to show Teddy’s ability to smell blood, I hope I’ve explained it well enough but if you have any questions just ask in a review and I’ll clarify :)
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