Monday, 1 August 2016

A Very Unique Flower

© Denis Fitzpatrick, 2015

‘“When will summer come?” the flower asked and repeated it every time a new sunbeam penetrated the soil.’ Hans Christian Andersen, ‘The Snowdrop’

Frances, from her time immemorial, had always suspected that she was a very unique flower, being also aware that to be a flower was one of the highest callings for any sentience. She revelled in the sun, in the rain, in the tossing wind, so glad to be alive and rejoicing in the fact that she was aware and sentient. Mind you, she was only aware of herself and her sentient response to Reality when a certain upright animal was nearby. When it wasn’t around she was simply a vegetable.
     Today Frances felt exuberant, the sun being the strongest it had been after the usual coldness cycle. Frances wanted nothing more than to spread her love, but her upright animal friend was prostrate, lying in the garden close-by and apparently oblivious to all the wonders of the natural world, and had been so all day. Frances felt a very large concern for this being, the cause for her own exuberant sentience, especially now that the regular dark was drawing nigh.
     In fact Frances felt so much concern that she decided to try and enter the creature’s mind, a simple enough task considering that they were so closely linked, and try to ‘push’ the creature awake, to lead them come back to the Reality they had been inexplicably excluded from. Frances, it must be said though, was also driven by selfishness, wanting to retain the sentience that was completely the result of the being’s nearness to her.
     Entering the creature’s mind proved to be like entering the coldest of all lands, a vast wilderness of white covered rising and fallings, but the coldness also seemed to wash over Frances, leaving her with only a hint of its menacing bitterness. She saw a robed creature in front of her, somehow knowing to address as Cyndi.
     ‘Cyndi, the world awaits! Return to the glorious sun,’ said Frances to the cowl in front of her. ‘The world is only truly happy when we’re there together.’
     Cyndi hesitatingly threw back the hood, and briefly studied the intruder. ‘What does a flower know?’ she soon asked. ‘The world is utterly too desolate for me to return to.’
     ‘Nothing is that bad.’
     ‘The world is nothing, the Universe is nothing, all Reality is but nought. There’s no way I’m leaving these sheltering, cold hills.’
     ‘Surely there must be at least one reason to return to the sun?’
     ‘There is, but an utterly impossible reason. My son, my lost son. It is for my lost son that I remain here. But don’t wake me to find him. He is lost. And if you do wake me to search, your death is guaranteed.’
     Frances, of course, had no way to bring back Cyndi’s son, offspring being a concept she naturally understood, but decided to bluff her way through instead. Anything to return Cyndi to the en-sunned, bright, regaling world, and to the continuance of her own perception.
     ‘Your son is safe, I assure you. Just return to the world and he will be there to be loved forevermore.’
     ‘Are you serious?’ asked Cyndi, incredulous, yet hoping still.
     ‘His word but awaits thine breath.’
     Cyndi sprang awake then, greatly discomforted, with the feeling that she had been lost among the stars. And lost with a very good reason. She instantly felt that she didn’t want to be amongst the living, and cursed the vague person that had brought her back from her self-imposed catatonia.
     She remembered her conversation with that vague person, a lowly flower, not disputing the fact that she had been conversing with one of the progeny of violets that she had planted in her garden years ago. She was now very unhappy with that violet, the cause of bringing her back to a world where there was no hope and no love.
     Cyndi stood up, a bit groggy now on her feet. She let the dizziness pass and then surveyed her extensive garden. There was the flower, the unmistakeable bastard violet with her pale purple colour. When the last of the head-spins had passed she approached the violet and violently uprooted it.
     ‘Take that, you bastard!’ she screamed to the innocent, forlorn flower. ‘You’ve brought nothing but misery upon us all!’ She then headed inside to her house, inherited from her parents, and deposited the violet upside down into an empty vase.
     Beside the vase Cyndi noticed a handwritten note. She inspected it. Dated today, about half an hour ago. It was a note from her neighbour (who had obviously let himself in with his set of her keys, both of them having exchanged spare keys years ago in case they became locked out) to say that her son had been found. Cyndi now remembered losing him that morning in the local shopping centre, and the frantic several hours she had hopelessly searched for him. She had went in to the garden to relieve her mind, hoping she could fall asleep and find her son returned safely. She only dimly realised she was drifting into catatonia on the cusp of drifting out of the world’s way, somehow sure that this was the only way that she would again see her healthy, joyous boy.
     When the tears were wiped away after the first sentence, Cyndi continued with the note. Her boy, Josiah, was in the local hospital, Westmead, western Sydney, but on life support. The neighbour had searched her house for her but she was not to be found, neither was she in her garden, although he had only briefly looked to see if she was there. It was imperative, or so the neighbour informed Cyndi, that she get down to the hospital instantly, to maybe talk Josiah back into the land of the living.
     So her son was alive. The violet had after all awoken her to good news (despite Frances having no idea of Josiah being found.) She looked at the upside down flower guiltily. It was thankfully still time to make amends. She took the violet back to the garden and replanted her.
     The evening had by now descended and Cyndi spent the early night, before visiting Josiah, in attending to the flower, watering her a small bit, placing some mulch about her roots, stroking the leaves and singing snippets of songs to her, anything that might help the flower to recover from her attempted murder, and as a sign to the little violet that Cyndi was so very sorry for the maltreatment she had inflicted, also plainly telling the flower the she is still rejoicing at the good news about Josiah, her son, that the dear flower had led her to.
     Frances eventually recovered, but by the time she had once more gained her sentience, with Cyndi singing to her in the cold, early light of the next sun, she was a changed flower. She was now a flower who mistrusted everything, seeing everything and everybody - sentient or otherwise - as powerful enemies, enemies who could slay her on a whim. Frances fully realised that she now needed protection from this hostile world.
     Frances’ feeling for the need to strike back was almost constantly with her since her rebirth, Cyndi spending most of her nights in the garden, unknowingly maintaining Frances’ awareness. Frances assumed that Cyndi spent the days with Josiah in the hospital.
     In fact, Frances’ misanthropy had become so overarching over the several days after her attempted slaying, that she maliciously practiced her sentient ability with other creatures around her. She soon found an eight-legged friend who assured her that he could do away completely with the nasty Cyndi, a simple bite placing her amongst her gods. But this friend wanted two favours in return for his poisoning, not the sole one that Frances was offering. Frances’ friend justified his request on the grounds that his poison was very hard to make, and thus easily worth the two favours as Cyndi was assured of death once the bite had been delivered upon her.
     But really, was it worth it? Didn’t everything work out fine in the end?
     Nah, Cyndi couldn’t be trusted. Better the eight-legged friend gave little miss upright a real lesson in trust, and that once it’s abused life was simply not worth living, unless revenge was a possibility. Who knows, if Cyndi’s son did indeed die Cyndi’d most likely take it out on innocent Frances; she’d done so before. Yeah, after all was said and done, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Her eight-legged friend would be pleased at receiving the two free favours from her, and she hoped to be present while Cyndi’s life slowly ebbed away. Sure, Frances may lose her sentience as a result, or she may not (and if she did indeed become no longer sentient the eight-legged friend can take his two favours from her vegetable corpse, and was welcome to them), but what was the point of constantly living in fear, only alive to the fact that she may be slaughtered at any instant? Yes, Frances was very much looking forward to her revenge, its cost willingly bourn.

~~~

If you have been enjoying Fitzpatrick's stories here you may also enjoy his short story collections, and other books, available online as both Kindle books and paperbacks (go to http://amzn.to/1NfodtN). Other ebook and paperback options are available at  http://bit.ly/1UsyvKD Fitzpatrick is also having a collection of short stories, Aberrant Selected, published by Waldorf Publishing and you can follow its journey at www.aberrantselected.blogspot.com
    

     

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