Day 27 of 365 Days of Writing Prompts: Write about a plant with a unique ability.
Shannon: “Have you chosen which one you wanted yet,” the shop owner questioned, after sneaking up quietly behind me. He had wild white hair that he didn’t attempt to manage and circular glasses with such a strong prescription his eyes were magnified behind the lenses.
I looked back, “I like the one with the pink and blue leaves. I’ve never seen anything like it before, what’s it called?”
“Ahh,” he smiled as he moved next to me. He picked it up gently and placed it in front of me. “Good choice. It’s one of my own creations,” he took a hold of my hand so I would hold onto the pot as tightly as he demonstrated. “I call it a Galiko. I named it after a friend’s nickname. I wanted to give one to her, but she died before I could finish growing it.”
“I shouldn’t take this,” I shook my head. “It doesn’t mean as much to me.” I tried to give it back but he pushed my efforts back.
“I didn’t make it to keep it hidden. The petals can save someone’s life. You’re giving this to someone who is sick, correct?”
“How did you know,” I questioned, feeling like he’d read my mind.
“You’ve been in here for a while. You’ve been in her for almost an hour looking for the perfect gift. You must care about this person a lot.”
“She loves flowers. She’s the reason I love flowers. I just wanted to make her smile,” I shrugged, not sure if I was focusing my efforts on something useful or just trying to distract myself.
“I wasn’t lying when I said this flower could save a life. Make sure this never leaves your mom’s side. She will be okay,” he reassured.
“How did you know it’s my mother?”
“Come back when she’d healed, and I will show you.”
Erin: “I’m so thirsty,” Sparta screamed from her corner.
“Too bad, you shouldn’t have called me pathetic.” She was far too sassy for being stuck in her pot all day. When I got my peace lily the name is what I expected. Just a pretty plant I could look at to keep my mind at peace.
“I am trying to help you,” She reached one of her leaves out toward the water bottle on my coffee table.
“You’re mean,” I corrected.
“You spend too much time with me. You need to spent more time with other humans.”
I took the water and drank the rest of the contents, just to spite her. “You need to mind your own business.”
“My business is your business. I am here to give you advice.”
“Your advice is always crap.” My car keys flashed from the end table.
“How would you know, you never take it?”
“You’re just cranky, because you’re hungry.” I gave in, rewarding her crabbiness with water from a watering can.
“I love you,” she smiled up at me and life returned to her leaves. “Let others love you too.”
“I’m going,” I groaned grabbing my keys.
“Yay,” she giggled after the cheer.
“Not to meet people, to get away from you.”
“Getting you out is all wanted. Have fun!”
Give plants power!
I walked hastily down the darkened street, watching as shadows reached their long, wretched fingers towards me. To my left lines of darkened windows and boarded-up shops gaped as my bootheels echoed against them. On the right neon signs proclaiming profanity and terrifying shops flickered noisily in the midday sun. When one of the metal-caged doors swung open I nearly jumped out of my skin, holding my purse strap a little closer and tugging my jacket tighter.
Someone, hunched over, stumbled out of a tattoo parlour and shambled down a side street. When he was out of sight I took a deep breath, and continued my journey ahead. Even in the middle of the day, with a lovely crisp breeze, this street was creepy. I peered at the closed-up shop at the corner before stepping out into the desolate street; no one came down here unless they had something nefarious in mind.
Glancing down the street I watched as a cheery stream of vehicles and pedestrians strolled through the intersection a mere block away. Everything down there was in full, dazzling colours with lively music playing from every corner. Down here the drab grey was only dotted and specked with rusty orange and blood reds; no comforting colours to be seen. Before me a giant sign proclaiming “Wicked Corner” gleamed in radiant silvers and timid blues above a shabby shop. In the window hung full-length black-out drapes in the deepest slate. Symbols of magicks had been deftly embroidered in shining silvery hues and an intricate curving pattern swirled its way across the stretch of fabric.
I walked up to the ancient ornate wooden door, complete with an antiqued wooden sign engraved with the phrase “Magick is real.” But, instead of being emblazoned with shimmering silvers, the hand-engraved sign dripped with red paint. Everything about this building was designed to ward off the faint of heart; and it certainly did. Emphatically I grasped the wrought iron handle I tugged the door open with a horribly creak.
Inside the shop I looked up at the store-length skylights drenching me in brilliant sunshine as the store owner greeted me cheerfully, bent over a particularly prickly cactus, “Hey Evie!” Waving to her, not wanting to break her concentration with the dangerous plant, I walked along the window. Shelves of dried herbs and spices were lined up, interspersed here and there with various cauldrons and less conspicuous potion pots.
As I was admiring an exceptionally gorgeous onyx cauldron on the top shelf Val, the shopkeeper, stalked up behind me. I was grateful I had simply been eyeing the smooth stone sides instead of holding the piece as I would’ve dropped it when she tapped my shoulder. Startled it took my heart a minute to beat at a normal pace again, “You scared the hell outta me. What’s up, Val?”
Her eyes were the size of dinnerplates as she shrunk down and beckoned me closer with a pale finger, whispering, “I got a new flower in. You’re not gonna believe it.” Scampering away towards the back she gave an excited squeal. I gave the cauldron one last fleeing glance before, straightening up, I followed her to the counter. As I waited for her to return from the shadowy depths of the backroom I studied her wall of bookcases. When I heard a large crash coming from the open doorway, followed quickly by a strained, “I’m fine!” I wandered closer to the books.
Most were freshly printed novice to expert grimoires that were meant to be a cheat sheet that would be copied into one’s person spell book but some, the considerably expensive ones, were ancient tomes full of spells & rituals for people well on their way to mastering the magickal arts. Running my hand along a text whose spine was crafted from old, rough leather I sighed at the subtle tingle of ancient energy running through my fingers. I was just about to pull the massive volume from its snug spot when Val burst back into the room, huffing and red in the face.
Her hands held a cardboard box that had been sealed with an egregious amount of packing tape and she held it tightly to her chest before setting it gently on the low counter. Beside her the cactus, which she had been attempting to prune, hissed loudly as she pushed it away from the newcomer. Fascinated and a little terrified, I took tentative steps through the bright store to stand before the woman raising a sharp knife. I don’t know how many box cutters Val had purchased just in the short time I’d been frequenting the shop; she claimed there were some pixies she’d angered in her youth who stole the sharp objects.
With unsteady hands, she carefully sliced open the flaps, an anticlimactic moment when nothing burst forth from the box passed. She lifted the first tab; still nothing happened though she stood with her blade poised to strike. There was something terrifying about her expression as she peered into the small box and laughed. Setting the knife down she took, from the eerie depths, a glass dome with a single flower residing in a thin layer of sand.
It winked up at us in outrageous shades of emerald, sapphire and amethyst. Then, stirring as though in a breeze, it burst into flaming citrine, amber and garnet. As we watched this giant, sentient flower shivered through a dozen different colour changes before settling on a shimmering onyx to alabaster combination. Waving lightly, it was mesmerizing.
I tore my thoughts away from the phenomenal specimen before me to question Val in a tense tone, “Are you serious? The dolumalotos flower?” Reaching my hand out I tapped the glass cage softly and the petals inclined toward the vibrations, turning the exact shade of silvery blue in my eyes. Suddenly a terrible thought occurred to me and I muttered quietly, “These are illegal for a reason, Val.”
Looking to her again her eyes shone with desire and her voice sounded almost inhuman, “This little plant, this gorgeous flower can change how you see the world.” It was as though she was under a spell, like madness had suddenly taken over as she cooed, “It changes your perspective. Did you know, Evie that you can make a tea from the seeds that will make the drinker do whatever you want? This plant, this flower, Evie, could help me rule the world.”
As she spoke that last word she started to unclasp the glass enclosure but I put my hand firmly on the top, holding the fragile case closed. She glared at me, unable to articulate a single word. Before I could do anything she’d grabbed her box-opening blade and was brandishing wildly in my direction. I don’t know why the flower’s ability to control people’s minds didn’t affect me, but it’s good it didn’t. Glancing around, I noticed a cloak within reach and slipped the silky fabric over the glass dome.
With the flower out of view Val was suddenly the same mild-mannered, geeky shopkeeper I knew and loved. She opened her mouth a few times before muttering, “That wasn’t me. I swear it.” Horror had replaced the insanity behind her eyes as I closed the clasps from under the cloak and deposited the flower back in its box. Gratefully, Val watched as I drew a few protective symbols on the cardboard before closing it back up.
“Well,” I spoke cheerfully, “I guess we now know why it’s illegal.” Grinning awkwardly I went back to the onyx cauldron I was admiring.
When the village healer saw the bloated bile and growths on my grossly overgrown foot, she had rushed me to her lodge right away. I rubbed the sores on my foot before she batted away my hand. “Don’t touch it!” She snapped, searching her shelves of bottled and pickled herbs. “It will make worse if you do!” The healer held a jar of malted blue petals and plucked seven out of it and set each of the petal down on her work bench. Then she capped a wooden cork on the jar placed back on the shelf. Forcibly, she pulled down a grey and black sprouting tangle of roots hanging from the ceiling, breaking the thin string holding the plant in half. Next, she took a jar of olive oil and poured into a large polished stone bowl. Then, she took a smooth washed down stone and began mashing the contents together. Finally, she crumpled each blue petal into the paste before mixing it again into a slightly less goopy grey porridge.
Using a soft brush hanging from underneath her workbench, she carefully smeared the pudge across the oversized blistering boils. Cold veins slowly gnawed its way into my bulging wounds as I winced. I felt one of the painful bubbles collapse, chilling vines of blue snaking across it. I peaked one eye open and watched as the boils misted away in a miasma of smoke. “Wha…what did you use?” I asked. The boils lumped over and crumpled against my still elongated foot as the paste chilled it.
“Chill Flower Petals, olive oil and a char root.” She smiled somberly. “I simply wish you asked me sooner.” She put a pillow under my head and rest me back. “Rest now, Giant’s foot is a nasty thing to get.”
Created to Write:
Finn is the first to drop. Heather picks him up, sand and salt coating her shirt.
Next is Jacey, followed swiftly by Rick. August and Josh try to help them, but they are tired as well. Nikki drags her feet behind them, close to being person number four to give in.
Heather waits for her, then puts an arm under her friend’s arms. “Come on… little farther,” Heather says. But with Finn over one shoulder, and Nikki pulling her down, the super soldier is at her end as well.
Then Josh and Rick hit the sand. August helps Jacey sit and goes to his brother, “Josh!” he yells. But Josh doesn’t answer. Heather helps Nikki and Finn lean against Jacey. She goes to Josh, moving August out of the way.
“JOSH WAKE UP!” She yells after taking a deep breath. Josh stirs a moment, but doesn’t open his eyes.
“He needs water.”
“We all need water, August,” Heather states, wearily. She sits back on her haunches and looks around them. There’s nothing but sand, as far as she can see. If she wasn’t watching the sun, she wouldn’t have known which direction they came from; the wind blew their tracks already. No rocks, no cacti… nothing.
“…What are we going to do?” Jacey asks. All the guys have their shirts tied around their heads, Heather has her over shirt wrapped around her waist. They have scatterings of their uniforms, but some of the heavier parts are in their backpacks.
Nikki’s hands started sweating in her gloves, so she tied them to her waist. She stares at them a moment as a crazy idea came to mind. She picks them up and crawls over to give herself some room.
“Nikki?” Jacey asks, noticing one of the warm bodies was missing.
Heather turns around, thinking another friend passed out. But instead, she sees Nikki put her gloves on, shakily.
“Nikki, what are you doing?”
“We need water,” Nikki says.
“That saps your energy, it isn’t safe in this condition,” Heather pleads. She starts towards Nikki, but August holds her back. “We can’t let her do this!” Heather yells. She is forced into a fit of dry coughing. August helps her sit, and holds her close.
Nikki puts the gloves over the sand. She closes her eyes and focuses. The glove pads start to glow. Sand lifts up in between her palms and starts to separate into the basic components. Everyone looks on.
Jacey fights to keep her eyes open, but she leans into Finn’s shoulder more and gives up.
“Jacey, open your eyes!” August yells. This breaks Nikki’s concentration, but only briefly. She blocks out everything else, then she herself succumbs to the heat.
The girl cracks her eyes open when she feels something cold flow over her mouth. She opens her mouth too, water flowing passed her teeth and down her throat. The shock causes her to cough it up.
“Breathe… that’s it,” the voice continues. Nikki looks up, the bright sun making everything blend together.
Someone puts their hand up to shield her eyes. It’s Rick. “Want more?”
Nikki nods. He leaves for a second, turning around. When he comes back, a cup they kept is in his hands, brimming with water. Nikki drinks, then finds her voice, stuttering, “Where did it come from?”
Jacey, who is now conscious and drinking from her own cup, pipes up, “It was you, Nikki.”
Nikki is confused, so Rick moves to her side. Peeking out of the sand is a small green plant. The stem is thick, leading up to a bowl made of green leaves.
Nikki moves over to get a better look. Water bubbles up from the hollow stem, creating a sphere that extends passed the leaves. Heather tilts the plant over a little, allowing the sphere of water to tumble into Jacey’s now empty cup. When the water separates from the plant, it sloshes around the container, filling the space like a liquid should. Heather then hands it to Jacey to drink.
“…I made that?” Nikki wonders.
“Apparently, it has a thick root system,” Rick explains, “It brings up water from deep below the desert.”
August fills a third cup, then hands it to Josh. Finn is waiting for his turn with Jacey’s cup. Nikki tries getting water herself, taking a slow drink.
Heather waits for Finn to finish, and August hands her a cupful. She starts to wave it away, then comes to her senses and takes a drink.
“What do we do with it?” Finn asks, “we can’t take it with us.”
“Let’s fill the cantinas, then figure that out,” Josh says, already looking for them. When everyone believes they can’t drink another drop, and everything that can hold water is full and secured, Nikki stares at the plant.
“…Well Nikki?” Heather asks.
Nikki hesitates, then takes a cloth from her backpack. She soaks it in the newest water bubble. As the next one fills, she holds her hand out for a knife. Heather obliges, unsure what she’s thinking. Nikki takes the blade and slices the plant head off, taking a few inches of stem with as well. The water splashes onto the cloth. She wraps it in the soaked cloth, then sets it carefully in her pack.
Where the plant was is a small green spout, streaming a continuous stream of water. The team leaves, heading towards the setting sun, deciding traveling in the night is better than the day.