I'm excited to be sharing my first writing contest entry today! I'm proud of this little story and the threads of myself that are woven into it. I'm also really thankful to Fall Frenzy for the opportunity and inspiration to stay up until 4:30 in the morning bringing it to life, and to my critique partners for the accountability and quick feedback for revision!
Claire knew the spell for spring. At the end of winter, she mixed herbs and light, water and warmth into her cauldron. Green steam swirled up from the pot and slowly, slowly, the prairie bloomed into life.
But today was the autumnal equinox. As autumn witches prepared the prairie for winter, the grasses turned gold, then brown, then dusty white. Claire stood in the rustling stalks, her face red as the maple grove.
Claire understood the cycle of the seasons—growing, fullness, fading, rest. She understood the plants withered now so they could grow again in spring. But she felt like she was withering, too.
She cradled a thin stem laden with seed pods and pictured its roots spreading deep under the soil. A thought unfurled. Even through the dead of winter, the prairie must stay alive underground.
So Claire mixed herbs and light, water and warmth, into her cauldron again. Green steam swirled up from the pot and disappeared. But when she cupped the seeds and brushed her fingers on the ground, she could feel it—a single drop of spring in every seed and every root to keep them warm through the winter.
By Ciara McCormack Greenwalt