Malcolm looks around him, grinning wildly as he picks up the test-tube containing the green potion. He takes the cork out and sniffs the liquid. Mmmmm. It smells of peppermint. For a second he is tempted to stick one finger in and have a taste.
In fact, he gets as far as sticking his left pinky finger almost all the way down to the top of the potion. Then he stops. What if it's melting-potion, which would fizz up around his little finger and dissolve it. Best not to, then, just in case he doesn't succeed in escaping. Half a finger suddenly missing would take some explaining, wouldn't it?
He holds the test-tube over the glass and slowly drip-drip-drips the green potion into it. Three drops, four, five.
Then he re-corks it and put it back.
Which one next? He likes blue. It's his very favourite colour, so blue it will be.
He picks up the test-tube with the blue potion. Uncorks it. Sniffs it.
And almost drops it. It is possibly the most disgusting smell he has ever smelled in his short life. It smells as if a naturally smelly animal which had been living in a dungheap, eating rotten eggs, has vomited on itself and then died. Three weeks ago. At least, that's the picture Malcolm sees in his head. He has a very vivid imagination. The smell of the blue potion is so awful that he suspects that he has just been put off the colour blue, for good.
He wonders what will happen if he were to mix this awful pong with the fragrant minty smell of the green one. Surely it can't get any worse. Can it?
There is only one way to find out.
He tips the test-tube and let the putrid blue potion drip-drip-drip into the glass. Five drops. He is careful to hold the test-tube at arms length and pinch his nose with his other hand, and hold his breath. Even with this, the repulsive stench is still in his nose.
He looks at the bottom of the glass, still holding his breath. Who knows what could happen?
All he sees in the bottom of the glass is a little blue puddle, and a little green puddle next to it. Then something does start to happen. The green puddle starts to edge to the side of the glass and climb up. Malcolm realises what is happening. The green potion is trying to get away from the blue potion. He can't really blame it.
He has to do something. He grabs the glass and shakes it, forcing the green potion back and mixing it with the blue. He waits. And waits.
Then a bluey-greeny mist starts to swirl in the bottom of the flask. Malcolm, frightened now, puts the flask on the bench. He hears a roaring sound. He covers his ears. He can smell the mist. It smells beautiful. It smells like a field of roses mixed with honeysuckle and jasmine, with a base note of cinnamon and a middle note of vanilla. He wonders if he should go into the perfumery business if he gets away.
The roar increases, and Malcolm pushes his hands harder against his ears. Then it stops, with a single 'pop'
The mist has cleared, and inside the glass is now a tiny little dragon. It looks harmless. Malcolm tips it out onto his hand.
''Hello,'' he says.