It seemed like summer had left the door open and autumn was sneaking in. Xarissa threw on a coat and went outside to pull in her plants. The weather ap was calling for a hard frost tonight – never mind that it was mid-September and even this far north, not the sort of time that you got frost. It wasn’t supposed to frost for at least another month!
Tomatoes, peppers – she picked everything that was full-sized, regardless of ripeness. They’d ripen on the counter or they wouldn’t. Cabbage, broccoli – the potatoes could wait. The carrots might be happier for a wait.
The wind was blowing damp and cold in her face. She turned to adjust her coat – and realized it wasn’t just wind, but snow. Heavy snow, the sort that shouldn’t come till maybe early November, coming down so hard she could barely see the house.
With a muttered “screw it” to the rest of the plants, she hurried back to her house, skidding inside with a shove from a wind blast, and turned to look out the window at the weather.
The snow had moved from flying sideways to flying upward.
“That is just not right.”
She pulled on her winter boots, dug out her mittens, found a scarf and a hat and her long winter coat. “By the time I’m dressed,” she muttered, “it’ll be spring again.”
It was still upside-down winter when she stepped back outside, the snow heading at a diagonal up towards the old maple tree. Something was wrong; something was definitely wrong.
She dragged her fire pit out between the two maples, the old and the new, and piled every bit of yard waste she could in there. She wanted smoke more than heat, lots of smoke.
With hands made clumsy by cold and feeling like her face was going to freeze off, she managed to light the fire. The smoke blew upwards with the snow, pushing upwards above the tree.
Xarissa looked at the shape outlined by the smoke. It was big, too big, and it was high up in the air, and all the snow was flying right into it.
“We are going to have to have a talk about your timing,” she muttered, “whatever you are. Shoo! Shoo!”
Startled, the invisible outline seemed to dart further away. The snow subsided, falling back to the ground the way it should.
“’Winter is coming,’ my ass,” Xarissa muttered. “Someone went and summoned winter. Damn kids…”