People had gathered at Main Square. There were a few hundred of them. They wanted to understand, as they were confused. They wanted answers. They would usually ask the Council for some kind of responsibility, but the Council was still out at their holiday in Barbados. There might not even be a Council anymore, which didn’t matter.
The 23rd of June had not ended. It had simply gone on into the 24th of June, or displaced it. Somehow, it was still the 11:00 AM of Thursday. The celebration of the Solstice had not happened. It was as if the Universe had decided to wait for something before it actually moved into the Summer Solstice.
However, Main Square looked completely different. The lemon juice coming out of the Sacred Lemon Tree looked more intense than ever. There was a brightness, magic overflowing the town, the orchard of citrus trees right in the centre of it.
And in the centre of it all, an unwanted presence.
“I had warned you about the dangers of magic, neighbours! This is what happens when magic runs loose! What is going to be next? Support ANUS! For a nonmagical society!” Greg Ferguson shouted, while handing out leaflets that everyone put into the nearest rubbish bin as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, Ba’al, Prince of Hell, arrived into Main Square wearing an emerald cloak. He went around the square, in a complicated pattern, greeting each and every one of the trees, who greeted back at him. The Sacred Tree was the last one, which he bowed to, and he then left from the West. Nobody saw him do any of this. Nobody saw him.
“ANUS is here to protect the community! Please, let’s all join forces to stop this magical madness that has us stuck in a day of the calendar!”
When he finally noticed how nobody was actually listening to him, Greg Ferguson went up the pedestal of the Sacred Lemon Tree and he plucked a ripe lemon from it. “This, this is a symbol. A symbol of the magic that enslaves this town. Today I say no to this!” he threw the lemon against the floor, making it burst open.
Mama Luca stormed into Main Square. “What are you doing, you madman?” she shouted.
He went silent. Everyone looked at the Italian mafia leader as she kneeled next to the broken fruit and picked it up with care. She looked into it and around it. All of the seeds were still inside. She breathed out in relief. She then gave a death stare at the leader of ANUS, who had gone blank at her sight and was about to beg for his life.
“Out” was the only thing that she said. He got off the pedestal, and headed towards the exit, without giving her his back. Everyone looked at them. When he got to the exit, he started to run.
Mama Luca bowed at the tree. It was a silent gesture, a powerful one. Everyone imitated her.