It had been three days since the session with the duck and, despite causing something to appear, Ramona was the first to accept that she wasn’t the world’s best Tupperware conjurer. Tulsa. Tupac.

Whatever the fuck they were called.

She had tried everything – closing her mind, filling her mind, focusing on a task and letting that occupy her mind.

She had focused on sigils, ideas, candle lights, tarot cards, photos, shapes, her quiet space.

All it had got her was a head ache.

And a bunch of manifestations that disappeared within an hour.

Well – that’s not entirely true, and she was grateful for every mistaken take-away delivery and every winning lottery ticket that her meditation sent her way.

But it wasn’t the great success story she wanted. And, in the face of adversity, she went for a walk.

“Fuck me, it’s cold.” She pulled her coat tighter around her – partly to try and keep the warmth in, partly to make sure her tits hadn’t frozen off. A stray thought wandered through her head about the difference between Siberian and Austrian winds but she had no idea where it came from so she decided to ignore it.

“If only meditation was that simple,” she grumbled.

***

The shops taunted her. They were always at the end of the road and, no matter how far she walked always seemed to be the same distance away. “If this is a dream I won’t be impressed.”

She couldn’t work out what she was doing wrong. Unless she was doing nothing wrong and was just trying to hard. The thought and walked and when she looked up, the shops were behind her.

Still, she couldn’t shake the thought that she was missing something. Something important. Something Hassan had said?

“I was a child. How on earth am I meant to remember that? Idea trees. We planted idea trees, one of which was mine. I’d forget – but I’d come back. And I was Ra-Mona – the house of lights.”

She sighed, watching her breath plume in the cold night. “What was it about that? It’s the lights. I’m sure of it. Unless it was the idea tree.” She was outside a quintessential corner store. Sold everything and nothing. She pushed the door and listened to the bell ring.

“Why the fuck wasn’t it a clue tree.”

***

She grabbed a basket and began filling up – milk, coffee, bread, biscuits – and headed to the counter.

“Not warm is it?” The woman behind the counter looked friendly enough but Ramona wasn’t sure she was in the mood for conversation. She tried, anyway. It’d be rude not to.

“It isn’t. Reminds me of a book. The entire opening was set in this torrential rain storm. It focused on a rider who, whenever he met anyone, gave them the same message:’The witches are abroad.’”

The woman laughed. “And everyone he said that to said, “That’s nice for them.”

They laughed until it felt forced. Ramona looked around the counter and saw a pile of scarves. In amongst them a silver and white one. Parts of her brain burned.

“That…is really… I…” Ramona pulled it out of the pile.

“Oh those? I make them myself. I was going to make more of those because I love the wool, but I couldn’t get any more in that colour – so that’s the only one there is.”

Ramona looked into the middle distance, miles away. As she sharded into The Sidetrack Cafe, Mona spoke the words for her. “I look like this because this is how you looked when you created me.”

“Pardon?”

Ramona crashed back. “Huh?”

“You were saying something about how I looked?”

Ramona shook her head, flushed and suddenly excited. “No. That was how I looked when I created her.” She looked around the shop. “Do you have any hair bleach? And some dye.”

***

Today’s photo was provided by Dan Poulsen A first for Dan.

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