Chapter 26: The Ugly Umbrella
Written by Whitney Emeigh
“Fine, take the umbrella, but you must come back and pay for it by tonight or today will be the last time I go trudging up that ladder until you start showing some money.” He was already in the process of sliding the heavy bag back behind the counter. Adette noticed that he didn’t move immediately to put in back on the shelves.
“Thank you so much. I promise that I will come right back with the money.” Adette took hold of the long umbrella before he could reconsider and made for the door. The older man said nothing. He only grunted and waved his thick-jointed fingers. She took one last glance over her shoulder. The man had all but written her off. He was taking staggering steps back toward his office. His gnarled hands were clutching the counter for support. Adette chewed on her lip and watched only a moment longer before darting through the door.
“What took so long?” Karl rose onto his paws as Adette came up the porch steps. “Where’s the dog food?” Adette shot him a look and considered throwing the ugly umbrella at him.
“I’ll tell you later. I’ve got to go back into town since I apparently forgot my money purse. How silly of me that I didn’t think to bring my purse to confront a wizard, unsuccessfully, might I add.” The ugly black umbrella was abandoned on the porch. Adette stomped past Karl into the kitchen, shedding her sodden coat.
“I’m going to have to start using magic to make myself clothing at the rate I seem to be going through it.” Adette looked at the new fabric still sitting on the table wistfully before heading into her bedroom. Karl found himself shut out of the room.
“I’m not sure why you hadn’t already. Why bother with sewing? It looks so tedious.”
“Karl, I am not having a conversation about sewing while I change.”
“Suit yourself.” Adette heard the huff she’d grown accustomed to in the last few days and couldn’t help but smiling a little. She quickly changed out of her soggy things and hung them to dry. Drier and much happier, Adette stepped out of her room.
“Sorry Karl I’m just grumpy when I get rained on like that.” Karl’s eyes moved, but he didn’t stop grooming himself.
“At least you can change your clothes. I can’t exactly change my fur.” Laughter bubbled up into Adette’s throat. She didn’t know where it came from, but suddenly she couldn’t stop. The day had just been too ridiculous. It went on so long that Karl began to look genuinely offended. Adette laughed until she needed to use the counter to support herself. Then as quickly as it came, it was gone. After a few long breaths to cleanse the laughter from her stomach, she felt much better and more normal.
“Sorry Karl.” Karl continued to groom himself without looking up. Adette chuckled and retrieved her pouch from the table. The bottom of the bag had just lifted free of the table when Adette stopped.
“Hmm, I wonder?” She lowered the pouch back to the table and let it settle into a pile. Adette darted back across the kitchen and ducked through the back door into the greenhouse. A few stray raindrops tried to get her but she batted them away. She raised her eyes to the dried or drying bundles of herbs. After wandering past a few that wouldn’t quite do yet, she pulled several handfuls of leaves from a few of the driest bundles. When she was satisfied, she head back to the kitchen.
Karl lifted his furry eyebrow and watched Adette search through the kitchen cabinets.
“Here it is.” Adette smiled as she pulled a small glass canister from the back of one of the many cabinets and set it down onto the counter beside the bundle of leaves. With fluid motions, she pulled both a chopping board and a knife from their hiding places.
Her practiced hands filled the small cabin with the sounds of chopping and scraping. Subtle smells filled the air, bringing a self-satisfied smile to Adette’s face. She scooped up the pile of finely chopped pieces and dropped them into the bottom of the glass canister. The chopping board and knife went into the bottom of the sink basin for later cleaning.
An image of gnarled, thick joints popped into her head again and she knew just the thing to say. Her hands spread wide over the open top of the canister. Beneath her breath, she mouthed the words of a simple incantation. Soft golden light spread beneath her hands, bathing the simple concoction of herbs at the bottom of the canister. When she’d finished, she carefully closed the lid and snapped the metal latch shut over the top.
“I’ll be back, Karl. This time I’ll actually have your food.”
“I’ll believe it when I see it.” Karl had curled into a ball onto the floor, occasionally licking some dampness from his fur.