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A is for Apple - a Catkin Ficlet

The doorbell rang, and Ramai put down the wand she was carving to peek out the front window. No one was on the porch. She went back to her chair and picked up the tiny chisel again. The bell rang again.

This time she set down the chisel and picked up her main carving knife. She ran her fingers along the symbols lovingly carved into its handle, awakening the athame’s defense functions. She went straight to the door this time, mentally reaching to read the wards. There was no one on the porch, at least, not any more. The yard was empty, save for the small critters that lived there. The perfectly mundane bunny was crouched in its warren; beetles and worms and mosquitoes went about their normal business; morning ephemerals shimmered out of existence and mid-day ephemerals shimmered in.

The doorbell rang again, accompanied by a tiny zing of magical force, a bit of energy just exactly big enough to completely expend itself in the physical force needed to compress the mechanism. The only thing she could sense from it in the brief moment before it was gone was a familiar sense of mischief.

Cautiously, Ramai approached the door. Was one of her current or former students testing her? She laid a scarred brown hand on the polished walnut door frame and checked the integrity of her wards. They seemed fine, so whatever was awaiting her on the porch came either from someone she trusted or from someone with enough skill to fool her tightly-woven magic.

The doorbell rang again while her attention was extended into the whorls of her own magic. Reflexively, she reached for it, but caught only a wisp of mischievousness as lyrical as laughter.

There was no good option. Even if this was only a prank, it could be dangerous, but admitting weakness by not opening it was not an option. Ramai never admitted weakness.

Holding the athame ready in her right hand, she unlocked the door with her left, leaving the wards across the threshold in place. There was no flare of energy, good or bad, so she opened the door.

A sweet scent floated in on the wake of air moved by the door. The porch was empty—no, almost empty. Sitting in the exact center of the welcome mat was an apple.

Ramai crouched down to look at it more closely.

The apple was small and round, the blend of yellow and red promising a rich flavor, tart and sweet at the same time, a perfect apple for her tastes. It looked and smelled perfectly ripe. Ramai reached for it, reaching through her house wards in a swift motion, smiling and holding it in front of her nose as if taking in a long draught of the scent. It held a tickle of that mischief-magic, but deep and old, as if the magic had been placed on the blossom before the fruit formed, or even on the tree as a seedling.

Slowly, she smiled and drew it into the wards. As it moved into her home, she wrapped a bubble of ward-magic to encapsulate it, and closed the door.
Athame still ready, she swept the design for the new wands off of her work table to reveal the mother of pearl inlay highlighting the pentagram carved into the ebony. Carefully, she placed the apple on the table and activated the table.

Only then did she set the athame down and return to her seat to ponder the perfect fruit. “Well, my life’s not boring, at least!”


Thank you to kelkyag for the prompt.


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 2nd, 2014 06:39 am (UTC)
Interesting start! And it's good to see you writing again.
Apr. 2nd, 2014 09:28 pm (UTC)
It'd good to be writing again, not just stuff for eventual publication, but also stuff to share here!
Apr. 2nd, 2014 11:43 am (UTC)
My mouth is watering, you know. Fun story for April 1.
Apr. 2nd, 2014 09:28 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
Apr. 2nd, 2014 01:56 pm (UTC)
Aaa! You can't stop there you just got me interested!
Apr. 2nd, 2014 09:39 pm (UTC)
I did warn you that I'm worldbuilding this month...I don't _know_ what happens next.

Apr. 2nd, 2014 03:46 pm (UTC)
Oo! A mystery!
Apr. 2nd, 2014 09:41 pm (UTC)

I like that icon!
Apr. 7th, 2014 12:07 am (UTC)
This takes some serious attention and effort. I was behind a few days but caught up. I hope you continue the entertainment!
Apr. 7th, 2014 12:24 am (UTC)
Re: A-Z
Thank you! I shall.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )


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