The big clock-sized thermometer, which had been nailed to the oak tree in the backyard three years ago, read 100 degrees at eleven o’clock in the morning for the fourth day in a row. Sighing, Hannah Anne brought herself back to the kitchen and continued to wash the morning dishes. Daydreaming out the window again, she chided herself.
The heat wave was only four days strong, but it had been nearly two weeks since it last rained. The vegetable garden was pitiful. Hannah wondered if she should even bother readying the Mason jars this year. She might get enough cucumbers for pickles even if everything else was wilted. Maybe.
The back door thumped. Bridget wanted in and Hannah didn’t blame her. It was moderately cooler in the house with all the fans running. Shaking the water and suds from her hands, Hannah heard the door thump again. “I’m coming, Bridget!” She wiped her hands off on her skirt and opened the door. Bridget nearly knocked her over as she barreled into the kitchen, pausing only long enough to bleat at Hannah. “Jeez, I’m sorry it took so long!” Hannah called after her as she disappeared into the living room. After a quick thought, Hannah called again, “And stay off the couch!” She nodded in satisfaction when she heard hooves thud to the floor.
Hannah finished the dishes, swept the kitchen floor and lamented not being able to water the garden. The town had banned unnecessary water use over a week ago. Something needed to be done to bring the rain back. She spent the remainder of the day prepping for the ceremony she intended to conduct that evening. Ritual cleansing of herself and the house took time.
Hours later, the sun finally down, brought a slight lessening of the heat. Bridget was out in the backyard once again, exploring the hedge. Hannah gathered what she needed and took the creaky stairs to the basement.
The single light bulb gave a small amount of light above the painted pentacle on the floor. Hannah quickly set up candles, the wand, chalice and athame. Her aunt told her this ritual was not to be used, but Hannah had done the Need spell often enough to be prepared for the dangers. She glanced at a box in the corner that was filled with objects from previous Need spells. And the consequences, too, she thought.
Stripping to her skin, Hannah picked up the chalice and the athame and began to recite the words.
Over and over, she repeated the rhyme and danced the shuffling steps.
Minutes or hours passed.
At one point, she thought she heard Bridget thumping the back door.
Hours or minutes passed.
She concentrated on her need to make it rain. The need of all living things for the life of water falling from the sky. Images formed and disappeared like smoke within the center of the pentacle. Things that could help her but were not quite good enough.
Something crashed upstairs but she could not stop now. Sweat trickled down her back.
An image formed of smoke and light appeared in the circle. A large flat bowl almost two feet across. She thought she knew it. The image wavered and Hannah realized that her concentration had started to slip. She renewed the chant and the dance. Focused harder.
The bowl become more solid. A clear crystal bowl, flat and shallow with clouds whisping within its crystalline walls.
Hannah finally collapsed to her knees, the bowl as solid as if it had always been. Carefully placing the chalice and athame on the floor, Hannah whispered, “And let it harm none. So mote it be.”
She looked at the bowl in wonder. She recognized it. It was the Bowl of Winds from Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time novels. A powerful ter’angreal if she remembered correctly, one that could change the weather.
Hannah heard an angry bleat as a wet nose bumped her arm. Bridget stood next to her, staring at her accusingly. “Bridget,” Hannah smiled, “how long has it been?” Bridget let out a loud and long bleat. “That long, huh?”
Hannah placed an arm over Bridget’s shoulders and looked at the bowl again. “I did it, Bridget. It’s the Bowl of Winds.”
Hannah sighed. “Now all I have to do is figure out how to use it.”
I gave Cameron this prompt: What if the coffee “Coffee-Bucks” served wasn’t really coffee?
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