Grrrrrr This story pissed me off.
Not being able to write at all pissed me off.
However, my brain is working on the vlog I wish to start. So I’m going to do that.
April is NOT a good month for braining for me. The competitions and the changes in weather really screw me over.
As I said, I’m going to work on the vlog. It’s going to be about living with chronic pain. Not the effects of it; people who live with pain know that it fucks up their sleep, their lives, their relationships and their brains. I want to talk about how to live with all that and how to build a life worth living, a life that is happy and positive and worthwhile. I will be posting about the vlog more as it gets closer to the inaugural video.
My total word count is 26,011. I don’t know if I can get further than that. Maybe I’ll look at my notes and see if anything inspires me.
I can’t even brain enough to figure out how to end the story. This was a very weird premise to begin with.
I am sorry to disappoint but I promise that when I write another addition to the Alphabet of Death, you’ll be the second to get a copy!
Kicking Ass and Slaying BWitches
“What is Keraunophobia?” Josie leaned on the rake she was using and finally asked the question that had been bugging her since the Truth & Dare game they’d played the night before. Neither of them cared that they acted like silly teenagers on a sleepover. On the rare occasion Josie managed to get away from work and her family, they were silly teen girls.
Kate Keighley, who had been expecting the question, smiled sheepishly. “It’s a fear of thunder and lightning. It’s terrible, right? Sounds like something a five year old would suffer from. Or your dog.” She chuckled at the large dog playfully hunting squirrels around her acre and a half. Not that the squirrels knew Ralph wouldn’t hurt them, they didn’t know he was just enjoying the unseasonably warm early spring day. The vegetable garden they were clearing took up a solid half of the acreage, her small cottage was tucked into the middle of her land and all around there were flowers, berry baring bushes and fruiting trees.
Josie stared at her friend of twenty years. “Seriously? You’re afraid of thunderstorms?” There was none of the judgement Kate generally heard, Josie was genuinely curious. “How come I didn’t know this?” They’d known each other since the first day of college.
“Yeah, and because it’s humiliating. ” Kate stopped raking out the flowerbed she was working on. She knew there was another frost due but she wanted to uncover the spring bulbs just a little bit, so they’d have a chance to soak up the sunshine due around the side of the house in about an hour. “There’s one due tonight. I’m hoping to get all this done before the rain soaks the ground. I’m sure there’s one more frost due before winter is done with us completely.”
Josie helped with enthusiasm because, when the harvesting began, she always got a share to eat and to sell. The pair had done a ritual for Ostara the night before, thanking the God and Goddess for the return of the light and asking for blessings on their endeavours over the next few months. They were each solitary witches but they liked to do the Quarter rituals – the Equinoxes and Solstices – together. Ostara and the Spring Equinox are closely tied and they combined the rituals with the rise of the full moon.
Later, long after Josie had gone, and they had made a date to go hiking in the woods nearby, and the moon had risen on its third night of being full, Kate stood skyclad in her backyard. A small fire burned brightly, warming her naked body from the front as the mists cooled her from the back. She lifted her arms and called her prayer and spell out to the sky.
“I call to thee, the Sisters Three –
Badb, Macha, and the Morrígan.
Strength I need, the power I seek
To guide the seed, the plant, the fruit.
I do not do it all for me
For families in need and Sister Josie.
Grant me what I ask
For me, for three, for charity.
For what I sow, what I reap
I shall not all keep.
I beg of Thee, bless the
Till and toil, the seed, the soil.
So I will it, so mote it be!”
Energy surged through Kate’s palms, down her arms and through her chakras, making her gasp and writhe with pleasure. She stood there a moment longer until thunder rolled in the distance. She barely contained the shriek that rose to her lips and studied the sky. It was clear as far as she could see so she relaxed and took it as a sign. It was the first time she’d ever asked for help like that but the lands around her, including the garden, had taken a hard with the shifts in weather and she wanted to ensure the plethora of fruits and vegetables she was used to.
Her garden did indeed grow. She had staggered the growing of plants such as lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers, forcing the first wave to bloom and fruit early. She preserved much of it, shared with Josie all that she could take then after keeping some, she sold most, both preserved and fresh, and gave whatever was left after the farmer’s market each weekend to a battered woman’s shelter.
Harvest came and she and Josie cleaned the plots of the last of the growth and performed their Mabon ritual, thanking the God and Goddess for all that was given. Later, Kate again had a bonfire, this time she thanked Badb, Macha, and the Morrígan for their aid, though she somehow managed to take almost all the credit.
The Morrígan stood on the edge of Kate’s property as Nemain, Badb and Macha. “The wee girl thinks to take the whole of the credit for her bounty this year. Reckless human. How dare she?” Nemain lifted a hand to punish but Badb laid a hand on her wrist.
“Hold, Nemain. Wait until the harvest next.”
Nemain stared at her sister. The sister who encouraged confusion and fear in battle, the one who encouraged battle. “Badb?”
“She is high on her success. Give her a year. She pays us tribute and has been loyal thus far. Even if she does not share her worship with the one she calls sister, she is still worthy of our patience.”
Macha nodded in agreement. “Aye, Sister, let her be. For now.”
So the sisters faded away.
The next year went on as this one had. And if, during the second half of the season, thunder rolled more often in a clear sky, the crops were still abundant. Once more, Kate stood under the Mabon moon, skyclad before a fire, as was her wont. She spoke conversationally to the triple Goddesses.
“I thank Thee, Babd, Macha and the Morrígan for bestowing such blessings upon me! My magic, my abilities and affinity for the earth, gave us so much we could barely keep up. It was wonderful. The larders here and at Josie’s are full, the shelters and food banks are happy. I am so glad to be such a powerful witch!”
Nemain growled and even Babd, who felt that there was a time and place for battle, was furious. But it was Macha, the goddess of war and sovereignty, who held them back. “There is a time and a place,” she reminded them. “There are better strategies and ways to teach a lesson than merely smiting her where she stands.”
After a moment, the sister grinned at each other in dark delight and once again faded away.
It was nearing the end of July and Kate stood with her friend and stared at the garden. “I don’t understand it. The last two years of have been so lush, what’s with this mess?”
Josie took in the thin, scraggly plants that each held only a few, tiny vegetables, and the choking weeds and shrugged helplessly. “I don’t know, Kate. It’s so weird.”
“I’ve tried so hard to keep up with the weeds but they’re still…” she waved a hand. “Look at them! It’s impossible. I swear, every time I pull out a seedling weed, two spring up full grown in its place. It’s like, well, magic.”
“Did you piss Someone off?”
“I don’t think so. I have left offerings and thanks and the Solstice went off without a hitch.”
Josie nodded, remembering. They’d had a little too much wine and, well, it was a good thing her husband was familiar with and accepting of the depth of her relationship with Kate. “I don’t know… It kind of looks like you did.”
“Lammas is coming up in a couple days, maybe I can make things right.” She paced, thinking. “There’s a weed killer potion I could try too. I’ll need to go up the mountain for some of the ingredients.”
“I think Dale will let me out tomorrow. He’s home with his friends tomorrow, watching baseball. He and some of them are betting on one of the teams while the other half are betting on the other. Or something like that.” Josie grinned. “If I make them enough food, I could probably stay the night to help you prepare.”
“Oh that would be great. Meet here at ten?” When Josie agreed, Kate looped her arm through her friend’s and walked her back to the car. “If you need any help with the cooking, let me know.”
She paused as a thought popped into her head. “I have a jar of those pickled cherries Dale likes so much. And I’ll even give him a jar of pickled cherry tomatoes.”
“Oh, now he’ll now you’re bribing him but he’ll love it. They love those pickled cherry tomatoes on sliders.” Josie grinned as she opened her car door. She leaned forward and kissed her friend smack on the lips. “I’ll see you tomorrow at ten.”
That night and next morning, Kate checked the weather forecast carefully. She checked the government site and her own weather radars, placed on the mountain near here where she took her hikes, and found that there were no storms due for several days. She sagged with relief for she would not go out if there was even a hint of rain in the schedule for the next twelve hours.
At 9:45, as she was packing water, snacks, and the containers and bags she needed for collection in a bag she got a call from Josie.
“What’s up, buttercup? Shouldn’t you be leaving?”
“DJ started puking suddenly an hour ago. She’s complaining of a pain in her side and her temperature is up. Her appendix looks about to burst to me and nothing I am doing is going to stop it. We’re on the way to the hospital.”
“Okay, Jos, I’ll come down as soon as I get the things I need.”
“You shouldn’t go alone! You know that I hate it when you do.”
“I have a spare battery and GPS messenger beacon, like I always do.” There were the sounds of vomiting and whimpering in the back. “Bye, Josie. Love you all.” She hung up, knowing Josie had forgotten her.
Kate drove up to the national park and waved her membership card at the gate’s sensor. It opened and she drove on up to her favourite parking spot. Opening her door, she exchanged her running shoes for hiking boots then stood up and applied her favourite, homemade bug repellant. She’d have to apply it again once she sweated it off, but she figured that didn’t matter for commercial, chemical laden sprays were far worse for their ability to cling to your skin through the sweat of the day.
Her backpack was strapped on, belt around her waist and all. It was a little heavy but it’d lighten up as she drank the water. Of course, she’d only fill it up again with her collections. The padded metal frame rose above her head with a light sleeping bag attached to it. She grabbed her favoured cedar walking stick and locked up her car.
Something rumbled in the distance and she looked up sharply as she suppressed the slight shudder of fear. The sky was clear and bright. She double checked the radar app on her phone and there wasn’t a storm or even a cloud in sight.
Kate shrugged, decided it must be a truck in the distance, and set off on her hike.
Again and again she heard the rumbles of thunder. Again and again, she checked her app.
Suddenly, the sun dappled woods became dark and heavily oppressive. Kate looked up and screamed. The sound was short and cut off abruptly. She gave a shaky laugh. “It’s ridiculous. There was nothing on the radar. It can’t be about to storm.” She stared up at the clouds with a mutinous expression. “You are not real.”
A fat rain drop hit her right between the eyes as lightning lit up the woods so bright Kate was seeing spots whether her eyes were open or closed. Thunder ripped through the woods, so loud it tore through her skull from one ear to the other and she felt it in her bones.
Kate screamed in fear and crouched, her arms wrapped around her head. She stayed like that, shivering and tense with anticipation until she realized that her eyelids were red with light. Opening one eye cautiously, Kate was shocked to see that the sun was out and there was no storm cloud overhead, no evidence that there’d ever been one.
“I need to eat something, obviously.” She found a log and sat down on it after removing her pack. She pulled out a bottle of water and a bag of homemade trail mix.
After a brief rest, she set out again, looking for a specific plant she knew was on her trail. Lightning suddenly forked out of the sky and struck a tree several yards in front of her. The tree exploded and with the light having blinded her she wasn’t able to duck as splinters and shards of the tree came flying at her. Small bits struck her face, embedding themselves under several layers of skin.
One thick piece stabbed her in the thigh and knocked her to her knees. Kate cried out as she fell.
And the Morrigan continued to torment Kate until she was driven near mad.