The Rain Collector

The magic was only ever found in only a very small fraction of the rain drops that fell from the sky. And once you spotted it, you had to be quick in collecting it, before it evaporated back into the air.

Stew came from a long line of rain collectors. The type that dedicated their lives to collecting each individual drop of rain, in hopes of harvesting the small bits of magic they held. It was a life’s work though. It didn’t matter when the rain decided to fall, rain collectors had to be ready. Some collectors set out barrels and buckets, but these rain collectors had learned generations ago that the best way to catch magical rain drops was through leaves and flowers. Magic did after all, enjoy nature.

The magic was only ever found in only a very small fraction of the rain drops that fell from the sky. And once you spotted it, you had to be quick in collecting it, before it evaporated back into the air. Stew knew from a young age that beautiful smell after the rain, what some call petrichor, is actually the magic that floated back up into the atmosphere, waiting patiently to be rained down again in time.

It was only every few months that Stew and his Grandfather found what they were looking for. Those small glimmers of otherworldly colors that spun around in the tiny liquid drops, letting them know there was magic inside. But those small bits of magic kept them going for the next few months, and the next few and the next few. Together, Stew and his grandfather would bottle up the magic they found and sell it in their country-side shop. Customers can from far and wide, eager to purchase whatever magic they were able to find. The only catch was they never knew what kind of magic they were buying, until they actually used it.

That was the tricky part for rain collectors. You never knew what kind of magic you collected. It was Stew’s favorite part of being a rain collector though, waiting to hear the stories from their customers. Some let them know about the lush crops they were able to grow after sprinkling the magic in their soil. Others let them know of a recovery from an illness, the bustling return of their failing business, or in even simpler terms, a roof that stopped leaking or a bad haircut that grew back overnight.

Occasionally though, you’d hear of the opposite of these happy stories. Sometimes customers ended up with what was called sneaky magic. It was the type of magic that, while not bad or evil like some might worry magic to be, just liked to have some fun. It was the type of magic that caused one’s hair to change color, a crop of corn to turn to potatoes. Most recently, a customer came in to inform Stew and his grandfather that his dog, had started meowing instead of barking.

Even though Stew was told never, under any circumstances, to open the bottles to release the magic on his own, he grew curious. After years and years of collecting, bottling and selling, after years and years of hearing the stories, he wanted to experience the magic for himself. His grandfather said that collectors would never experience the magic they wanted. Stew however, wanted to find out for himself.

That night, there was a magnificent rain storm. When Stew and his grandfather finished collecting the droplets and bottling the small bits of magic they found, Stew sneakily slid one small bottle of magic into his pocket. His grandfather looked up at him, suspicious, but quickly returned back to bottling the rest of the magic up. When they were done with their work that night, Stew pulled the bottle out of his pocket and took off the top. He watched the magic float around him in a small ball of purple light. He tied a clear thread to it to prevent it from floating away. Magic, after all, liked to wander.

The next day, the shop was bustling with customers. It always was after a rainstorm, with  the prospect of purchasing fresh magic. They had more customers than expected and the shelves were bare within an hour. The purple orb stayed nestled in Stew’s pocket, and he gave it a little pat. The shop had never been this busy so Stew thought it must have been the magic. Maybe his grandfather was wrong, that magic in the hands of a rain collector could in fact lead to what they wanted.

The next day, the shop was bustling again. But, with the bare shelves, it was bustling for another reason. The customers were angry, confused, frustrated. Buying magic was always a risk, the customers knew that, but it seemed that everyone had ended up with the sneaky magic. Blue hair, fingernails that wouldn’t stop growing, a voice that was now high pitched and squeaky, and another that was low and booming. There were people who had grown tails, another whose Chihuahua grew overnight to be the size of Great Dane.

Stew’s grandfather instantly turned to him and Stew knew right then that this chaos was his doing. His pocket started to glow purple and when it did, Stew’s grandfather shook his head in disappointment and returned to the angry customers, trying to subdue them as much as he could.

Stew let the magic float out of his pocket, but held onto the clear thread so it didn’t get too far. As it glowed brighter, more angry customers came in. He could hear his grandfather promising them their next drop of magic for free, in hopes that it would reverse the effects of this magic gone awry.

Stew quietly walked to the window and opened it up. He untied the string from the purple ball of magic and watched as it floated back up into the air. It smelled beautiful, as though it had rained. When it finally disappeared, it started to rain.

Stew and his grandfather quickly got to work collecting each drop. There was more magic in this storm than there normally was, which was a good thing.  After all, they had several customers eagerly waiting.

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Picture of Kathryn Kazoleas

Kathryn Kazoleas

Kathryn is a Canadian author. She has written the middle grade chapter books Dog Park and Dog Daycare, and has many more books swirling around in her imagination just waiting to be written. She lives with her dog Koa and her cat Keeva who work as her copy editors and expert distractors.

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