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Chapter 14: The spell

April 16, 2013

Lena began to collect up instruments from those who were not heading back up to the drumzone. Helen had found her a plastic crate to use, from the Women’s Tent.

“I hope they find that boy,” said Zane, helping.
“I’m sure he’ll turn up,” said Fatima. She put a trio of maracas and one of those bing-bong agogo things into the crate.
“They usually do,” added Hazel.

Lena looked about the field uneasily. Hazel was right. Most likely, the child was not so much lost as having an adventure. Youngsters slipped away from their parents all the time, and she’d never known one not to turn up. Even so, she felt troubled.

Perhaps it was something in the air – she was feeling especially receptive today – but she could not shake the sense that this time there was something out of the ordinary.

She went into the refreshed Women’s Tent and stood for a moment, breathing. She was testing the atmosphere.

“What’s up?” asked Helen.
“I’m just seeing how it feels in here.”
“Better,” said Helen. “Much better, don’t you think?”
“Yes,”said Lena, following her friend back outside.

Fatima and Zane between them were collecting up the last of the instruments. Most of the people who had joined their impromptu convocation had dispersed already.

“I’m worried about that lost child,” Lena told Hazel. “My guts are telling me that he needs help.” She’d learned over the years not to ignore her instincts.
“What can we do, though?” asked Hazel. “The guy said he’d call for a search party if they need one.”
“We can at least make a prayer for him,” said Helen.

Lena nodded.
“Will you both join me, then? We can do it in the Women’s Tent, now the air in there is cleared.”

Hazel looked up the hill toward the main field. “One of us should get back to the shop,” she said.
“Another five minutes will be alright,” said Lena. “Mike and Jono can cope.”
“Perhaps Fatima would stay?” Hazel turned towards the singer, who was crouched down with Zane, rearranging the instruments in the crate to make them fit better.
“No need,” said Helen. “I mean, she can. But you needn’t think you won’t be welcome.”
Crap! Lena could have kicked herself for being so stupid. It hadn’t even occurred to her.

“Hey, Fatima!” called Helen. “We’re going to do a prayer for the boy who is lost. Would you like to join us?”
Lena noticed a look passing between them.

“Four women would be even better than three,” said Helen.
Fatima considered. “Can you manage the crate?” she asked Zane.
He grinned. A nice guy, thought Lena.
“Sure, you do what you have to do. As long as these lovely ladies promise to bring you back before our set tonight, I’ve got nothing to say about it.”
Helen laughed. “We promise,” she said.
“I’ll follow on up in a few minutes, yes?”
“No problem,” said Zane, hefting the crate and setting off with it.

Lena and Helen ducked into the Women’s Tent, and Fatima followed.
Hazel hesitated. “Hey,” Lena said, reaching out her hand. “It’s not going to bite.”
“Really?” said Hazel, coming in and looking around. “I was almost expecting vagina dentata.”
“Vagina tentata you mean?” cracked Helen.

It was a silly joke, but they all giggled. Fatima, too, lost perhaps a little of her reserve.

“Sooo – can we do a locator spell?” grinned Hazel.
“It’s not Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” said Lena.
“But we can perhaps raise a little of the magicks?” suggested Helen.
Fatima looked dubious.
“Don’t worry,” said Helen. “Nothing too crazy. We’re not going to be sacrificing any virgins.”
“How about Grandmothers?” asked Fatima. Lena liked her.
“I think you’re safe.”
“Especially since we’ve already bugged the spirits once today,” Lena added.

Helen fetched some supplies from the back of the tent.
“Grab a cushion everyone,” she said. “If you want. More comfy than the ground!”

They arranged themselves in a circle. A square, anyway. Helen turned up a box in the middle and covered it with a green cloth. She laid out some candles on the ground beside it, and a long brown feather. A nice idea, thought Lena, settling onto her north-side cushion.

“Everyone ready?”
Everyone was.

“Spirits of the North, we welcome you!” said Lena.
Lena looked to Helen, sitting on her left. “Spirits of the East, we welcome you!” said Helen.
Hazel took her cue. “Spirits of the South, we welcome you!”
Lena turned to Fatima, and nodded encouragingly. “Spirits of the West, we welcome you?” she ventured.

“A boy is lost,” began Lena, shuffling forward to kneel at the makeshift altar in the centre of the circle. “Falcon is his name.” She put the feather on the altar. “We call for aid to find him,” she continued, setting four tealights in the four corners of the altar.

She lit a taper, and lit each candle in turn as she invoked the aid of the spirits:

Earth-spirits, open the path.
Water spirits, wash clean our sight.
Fire spirits, light the way.
Air-spirits, blow the lost child home.”

She placed a fifth candle, a big one, in the centre of the altar, on top of the feather.
“So mote it be,” she said.
She lit the feather candle.
“So mote it be.” The answer was hushed and serious.

She returned to her place in the circle and held out her hands. Helen took her left hand, and Fatima her right. They in turn took Hazel’s hands, to complete the circle.

“Spirits of the North, we bid you thanks and farewell.”
Helen’s turn – “Spirits of the East, we bid you thanks and farewell.”
“Spirits of the South, we bid you thanks and farewell,” said Hazel.
“Spirits of the West, we bid you thanks and farewell,” finished Fatima.

Lena smiled. “So mote it be.” she said.
“So mote it be,” replied the others.

The circle was broken, and Lena rose, taking the candle and the feather from the centre of the altar.

“You’re the fire spirit,” she said to Hazel. She felt serious, but she couldn’t help grinning. It was a novelty to have her beloved in a women’s circle, and she liked it. “Go light the way.”
Hazel took the candle. “Where?”

“The forest!” said Fatima.
“The forest?”
“I don’t know why,” she said. “I just think the forest.”
Lena turned back to Hazel – “Then take it to the forest,” she said, putting the feather into her other hand.

“Mind you don’t set fire to any trees,” said Helen.
“Of course,” said Hazel.
Lena watched Hazel carrying the charged candle and feather from the tent, across the field. It was still broad day outside. The forest fence was a couple of hundred yards away and there was a stile not much further off.

Helen extinguished the candles on the makeshift altar.

“You two go on ahead,” she said. “Rosie will be back in a minute for the afternoon session. She’s got the breastfeeding people coming.”
Rosie was one of the other women who organised the Women’s Tent activities.
“You sure?” said Fatima.
“Yes. I’ll come and join in the drumming once they’re sorted out. I’ve been looking forward to it – tell Birgitte to save me a place!”
“Thanks,” said Lena. “I really had better be getting back. Hazel’s already jumpy about leaving the shop.”

Lena realised she was glad of the opportunity to walk with Fatima.
“You get on well with Helen?” she asked.
“Yes,” said Fatima. “She seems very kind. I like her.”
“She is kind,” said Lena. She glanced sideways at her companion. “And I can tell she likes you, too.”
Fatima was smiling.

“I hope the boy is found,” she said. “Will the spell work?”
“Let’s hope so.”
“There will be a search party if it is not soon,” said Fatima. “We will join in?”

Lena was glad that Fatima had agreed to join them.
And she thought that perhaps the spell was already working.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 16, 2013 10:04 pm

    Word-count – 1334
    Prompt – Aspirations & Search party (BrendaAlicante)

    Please leave a comment with a prompt suggestion for Chapter 15
    (Check the sidebar for a link to more info about this interactive project!)

  2. April 18, 2013 11:54 am

    I can see you must be putting a lot of effort into this. It cannot be easy turning out so much every day whether in the mood or not.

    Prompt – Indulgence.

    • April 18, 2013 8:11 pm

      yeeeessss. I’ve just got through two very long workdays….. Got an easier one tomorrow so it’s going to be a catchup weekend!

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