“Why did you bring your sister?” Opi asked.
Syra shrugged, “When I told her what we were doing, she wanted in.”
“You wanted my class ring!” Rou said, “I’m not going to let you trade away my class ring for magical powers without at least getting in on this.”
Syra rolled her eyes. “I told you, it’s not going to work anyways. But they wanted a tourmaline for this.”
“And lucky you, I own one,” Rou said, plunking herself down in the corner of the clubhouse.
“Still think it’s an ugly stone,” Syra muttered.
“Luckily, no one asked you,” Rou said, working the ring off her finger. She passed it to me and I inspected it. It was a silver ring, with our school’s crest stamped into the side. The other side had the year 2013 imprinted in it. In the middle was a large, orange starburst stone. It was one of the school’s colours, but Syra was right, it wasn’t a terribly pretty colour. Although looking at Rou’s electric blue hair, I thought maybe it suit her perfectly.
“Thank you for letting us use it,” Sam said, smiling at Rou.
She squirmed uncomfortably. “Only if you let me join in the ritual,” she reiterated.
“Of course,” Sam said. “You know you’re always welcome to hang out with us, Rou.”
She’d gotten the nickname years ago, back when she used to hang out with us more. Before we had met Opi too. She’d been the best double-dutch player on the school yard, and everyone knew it. In a jump-a-thon for heart disease, she’d gone for 6 hours straight and earned a ice cream day for her entire class. Of course, then she’d gone off to high school two years earlier than we did, and by the time we got there too, she was too embarrassed to hang out with us ‘Minor niners’. Personally, I’d always thought it hit Sam the hardest out of any of us. But Sam didn’t seem concerned now.
On the other hand, Rou did seem uncomfortable. Well good, I thought nastily. Maybe she feels guilty about ignoring us.
“What about you Mary, did you get your components?” Opi asked.
I pulled out a small glass jar, filled with a few dribbles of water. “I hope you all appreciate how hard it is to collect dewdrops at sunrise.” I said, plunking the jar into the middle of the room. I’d had to get up at 5 AM to do it, just to get out of the house on time. It had looked pretty, at least, with all the grass sparkling when the sun hit it.
“Is that going to be enough?” Opi asked, tilting the jar.
“It better be,” I replied. By the time I had to leave for school I’d just barely got enough to wet your fingers, and my pyjamas had been soaked through. “What about you?”
“I couldn’t convince my parents to start a fire last night,” he complained. “They said it was too warm.”
“So what, this was for nothing?” I asked. We’d assigned Opi to the component to collect ’a spark of rebirth.’ We’d all agreed that an ember that could be used to rekindle a fire would be the most effective. Opi had promised that he’d get his parents to set up a fire last night, then grab one of the embers in the morning.
“I grabbed these instead,” he said, pulling out a book of matches and a box of birthday candles. “When I called Sam she said maybe they would work instead.”
I looked at Sam and a quick explanation poured out of her mouth. “Well, I thought maybe since birthday’s are like, the day that you’re born, and we blow out the candles to signify that you’re a year older, maybe it would work? I know it’s not really rebirth but it’s kinda on the same themes…”
“I don’t know…” I said.
Syra scoffed. “Mary, if this doesn’t work it’s not going to be because he didn’t get the right kind of spark. It’ll be because magic isn’t real and this is dumb.”
“I’m going to laugh if this works for everyone except you, because you didn’t believe in it,” I said, sticking my tongue out at her. “Fine, close enough. What about you Sam?”
Sam opened her hands to reveal a handful of milkweed fluff. I counted the dark seeds to ascertain she had seven. They were there.
“And all of them were caught out of the air?” I asked, “The book was clear that they had to be plucked from the sky.”
“Yup!” she said proudly. “My mom always called these ‘wishies’. If you caught them you were supposed to make a wish then let them go. If they touched the ground, it wouldn’t come true.”
“I wonder if that’s relevant,” Rou said. “Can I see the book?”
I passed it over to her, pulling some stolen chalk out of my backpack. “You should draw the runes too,” I said.
“Why me?” Rou asked.
I shrugged. “Sam collected the milkweed. I collected the dew. Opi got the candles and Syra sort of got the tourmaline. So if you draw the diagram, we all contributed.”
Opi nodded and Sam added, “Plus, you were always the best artist. I still can’t make a circle.”
Rou took the chalk, studying the book. “Yeah, I can probably draw this. Sam, make sure you don’t put that milkweed down though.”
Sam nodded, sliding back into the corner of the clubhouse as Rou began to draw.
“Were we supposed to say something while we draw this?” I asked, “Or maybe sing something?”
“I didn’t see anything in the book,” Rou said. “But I guess you can if you want.” “What would you even sing for something like this?” Syra asked, stepping back so Rou could finish her circle.
“Hocus Pocus by Focus,” Sam said. We all giggled nervously as Rou drew the lines.
In the corner, Opi started humming a quick paced tune. I wasn’t sure what it was right away, but suddenly it clicked into place. I wasn’t sure why he’d jumped to Offspring, but I hummed along with him.
“You guys are weird,” Rou said. She leaned back again, comparing the sketch to the book. “Does this look right?”
I looked over her shoulder and couldn’t spot anything that seemed out of order. “I think that’ll work?”
Opi leaned over as well, inspecting the lines carefully. “You missed a line here,” he said, pointing out the missed rune.
“Good catch,” Rou said leaning over to fix the drawing. She and Opi pored over the tomb for a bit longer before agreeing it was complete.
“Who goes first?” I whispered, staring at the lines.
“I will,” Sam said.