Catherine went to the edge of the small patio and waved at the guests milling about and chatting in small groups to head on up and take their places.
The ceremony was about to begin.
As the small group formed a semicircle on the square patio, the warm, humid air settled on them like a shroud. A breeze would have been more than welcome, but the late June air was perfectly still, the large metal wind chime hanging straight down at the edge of the patio.
The officiant smiled at the group and gestured to Catherine and Joseph as she began.
“Family and friends alike, we are all gathered here to join Catherine and Joseph as they renew their vows and reaffirm the bond that they share together. Before we begin, let us observe a moment of silence for those who cannot be here with us today”
As she bowed her head, the clapper in the wind chime struck the side just once, tolling clearly throughout the yard. A number of bowed heads lifted just then, looking at the chime and wondering how it rang with absolutely no breeze to account for any movement.
At that moment, a rush of cold air blew outward from behind them, the refreshing air moving swiftly over the group, off the patio toward the trees beyond the manicured lawn. Heads turned, wondering who’d opened the sliding glass doors, allowing the conditioned air from the house to come out.
The doors were firmly closed, the kitchen behind them completely empty.
Patsy, the family’s Labrador Retriever, whined softly just then, lying on the grass beside the patio, her gaze fixed on the trees beyond the lawn as the officiant continued the renewal ceremony with no further… occurrences.
Those guests using their cell phones to record the ceremony wouldn’t realize until later that all their screens went pure white just before the chime sounded, turning back to normal mere seconds later. The audio was unchanged, that chime perfectly clear during the whiteout period.
At the completion of the readings, Catherine and Joseph kissed as the group burst into cheers and applause, raising their champagne glasses to the couple. Catherine rested her head on Joseph’s chest and gazed out at the trees, her irises now a light amber surrounding deep red pupils.
Her renewal was now complete. She closed her eyes, sighed deeply and turned to her guests, her eyes back to their normal brown color.