The Weather Has Stopped

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“Uh,” said March as he, November, January, and July all crowded around their living room window to stare up at the sky. “That looks like a problem.”

“April!” called November. His voice was the only one that could carry through the entirety of the Year House. “January wants to speak with you!”

A couple minutes later, the four Months heard the reluctant thump thump of April coming down the stairs.

The teenage Month stood before them, trying to hide her face behind her long, mud-brown hair. “Yes, Jan?” she mumbled.
January stepped forward. “April,” she said, her voice as cold as she pointed a veined hand out the window. “What is the meaning of this?”
“I’ve, um, been trying to make it rain,” April said, fidgeting.
“But it isn’t raining, is it?” January asked, clasping her hands behind her perfectly straight back, gray eyes boring into the younger Month.
In fact, it wasn’t anything outside; the sky was an endless expanse of white. Not the kind of white that harbored pale clouds and snow, this was a void-white, a nothing-white. The kind of white that signified total absence.
“You’ve failed to bring May,” said January, enunciating each word, “and the weather has stopped.”
“I was going to bring May, I swear!” April said, finally lifting her eyes to meet January’s. “But I... can’t find her.”
November’s bushy eyebrows narrowed. “You can’t find May?”
“She wasn’t in her room like she was supposed to be,” explained April. “I thought she might be playing with October and February, but they haven’t seen her, either. I’ve been looking all over the Year House and there’s no sign of her!”
January closed her eyes and gave a deep sigh through her nose. “How can you possibly lose your succeeding month?”
March snickered. “How does anyone lose May?” May was the littlest Month, save February, and could be quite the rambunctious attention-seeker.
“This is a travesty!” shouted January, causing April’s gaze to fall back to the floor. “The year will be in shambles without May to take her turn! The Earth can’t spin around a sun that’s not in the sky! How will—”
“Um, January?” said July, peeping over the shoulders of November and March. “Last I saw May, she was headin’ toward the lake, lookin’ a bit glum.”
January pursed her thin lips. After a moment of deliberation, she said, “April. You, July, and March will look for May by the lake. The rest of us will divide into groups to search for her elsewhere.”
“Aw, but Jan, this is April’s problem!” complained March.
“A missing Month concerns the entire Year, boy,” said November, giving March a steady glare. “We’ll all face the consequences if May’s not found.”
March pouted but didn’t protest. Five minutes later, he, July, and April were heading into the woods that lead to the nearby lake. July led the charge, whistling, while the other two dragged behind.
“How can you be so cheery?” said March, kicking at stones. “We’ve been forced to look for some brat that April lost.”
“You could do with an attitude change, March,” July called over her shoulder. “May’s not ‘some brat,’ she’s May. Besides, I reckon she’s just dippin’ her toes in the water to ward off the shakes before she heads the year. It’s a big job for such a little Month.”
April mumbled something underneath her curtain of hair.
“Pardon, April?”
April lifted her head up the slightest bit. “Good morning, Spring.”
March and July squinted into the distance. Sure enough, the glimmering figure of Spring was standing in the clearing that opened up to the lake.
“I’m not sure if she heard ya, April,” said July. Her tone carried its usual melody, but she slowed her pace to walk side-by-side with her fellow Months, skip no longer in her step.
“Of course she heard me,” said April, taking July’s place at the front and lifting up her head. “She’s my Season. She says she’s been expecting us.”
“She’s my Season too and I didn’t hear her anything,” mumbled March.
“You’re only partially her Month. You mostly belong to Winter,” April said. Again, March pouted but held his tongue.
The three of them stopped at the edge of the clearing. Spring’s hands were joined in front of her as a nun’s would be, as if she were trying to make them mimic a yin-yang sign. Her body glowed with a brilliance, and she smelled of cut grass and dandelions. The green of her eyes was muted by a cloudiness, as if she suffered from severe cataracts, but the Months knew that Spring saw much more than she seemed able to.
“The sky is blank,” she said, voice echoing. “The wind does not blow, and the air is neither warm nor cold. The weather has stopped.”
“Yeah, January already—oof. ” July elbowed March to cut him off.
“What he means to say, ma’am, is that we’re tryin’ to find May so that April can bring her and the year can continue. You wouldn’t’ve happened to have seen the little one around?”
“May is in my care,” said Spring, her gaze unwavering from a fixed point in the distance. “The other Seasons and I have made the proper adjustments so that June may take his turn immediately and the year can continue.”
July’s jaw dropped and March looked at Spring as if she had just confessed to murdering puppies.
When July composed herself enough, she stammered, “Well, m—ma’am, I... I’m not sure that—”
“You can’t just skip an entire month!” argued March. “I don’t care if you’re a Season, you don’t get to decide something like that! Why is May ‘in your care,’ anyway?”
There was a shift in Spring’s aura, and thunder might have rumbled in the distance if it could. “You will not question a Season’s decision, boy, least of all mine. May will stay with me and June will take his turn.”
“Spring,” said April, finally speaking up. July and March were taken aback by the determination in a voice that was normally so quiet. “I am the Month April. It’s my job to bring May, and I’m not leaving without her.”
One moment, April and Spring were having a contest of will beside the lake, and the next they had disappeared. July and March blinked, looking around to see where the other two had gone, but it was as if they had never been there.
“What happened?” said March, more to the general universe than to July. “Where’d they go?”
“I don’t—March, look!” July said, pointing up to the sky.
Particles of blue were seeping back into the empty void, fluffy clouds appearing as the color spread. Eventually, the sun came into view, and with it came a gentle breeze.
“Is this... good?” March asked.
“Depends who’s controllin’ the weather,” July said.
With nothing else to do, the two made their way back to the Year House, calling out for April. She never answered.
Inside, the House felt strangely empty. No one was chatting or reading, the air was silent. March and July climbed the stairs all the way to the head room, where the Months controlled planetary events.
July opened the door and the two of them crept in. January and November were standing over the crystal ball that controlled the weather, exuding all their strength just to produce a simple sunny day.
January’s eyes widened at the sight of them. “Where is April?” she asked through clenched teeth, sweat rolling down her forehead.
“Spring took her!” said March. “She took May, too. She wants June to take over!”
“She wants no such thing,” grunted November. “The Seasons have taken everyone. We’re the only Months left.”
July blanched. “But... why?”
“They want complete control of the Year House,” said January, “even if they have to remove all of us to get it.”
She gave the teenage Months a stern but earnest look. “You two have to leave. Find the other Months, stop the Seasons. November and I have to stay here to protect the Year House and keep up the weather.”
March sputtered. “We—How are we supposed to—?!”
“March,” November said gently. “We’re all doomed otherwise.”
March swallowed and looked to July. An open window let in the smell of cut grass and dandelions, and suddenly the two were taken by an urge to punch a certain Season in her far-off-looking face.
The fight for the weather had begun.


Image of April Showers


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