While tending to her flower garden, she found a weed and the weed was more beautiful than the flowers, so she left it alone to see what it would become.
Every day thereafter it became increasingly magnificent, transcending the confines of shape and color as she had hitherto known them. It was as though a wayward seed had been windswept from Eden, appearing to the surrounding fauna as a demigod would before common Man.
She let it grow until there was no more room for it and even a few days after that. Eventually, she decided that the plant needed to be trimmed. So she took a pair of clippers and snipped off the first of several extraneous twigs.
The twig snapped, and the plant bled.
It bled blood.
She screamed, dropped the clippers.
Staggered back. Ran.
Came back, blood had dried. Shook her head, unsure. Clipped another, bled red again.
This time she thought she felt it scream. Not heard. Felt. It is a different thing entirely to feel a scream. You’ll understand if it ever happens to you. Perhaps it already has.
She left the plant alone after that.
Days passed. Left to the whims of the sun and rain, the plant blossomed handsomely. As it grew, the plant continued its ascent in both scope and elegance. However, she no longer looked upon it with awe, but with fear. She watched every day as its buds transformed into great sunstar blossoms, its bare stems into clusters of angelwing leaves.
All she could think about was the blood.
She’d known all her life that plants were living, but this one was alive. Not just living. Alive. It is a different thing entirely to be alive. You’ll understand if it ever happens to you. Perhaps it already has.
One morning, she summoned all her courage and decided that, alive or not, bleeding or not, beautiful or not, the plant had to be destroyed.
She went out to the shed. Picked up the clippers. A hatchet. A saw. Anything sharp.
She went up to the plant. By now it was her own height. Strands of branch willowed around its stem like a dome, obscuring the base of the thing with fruiting flowers. She hacked at the flowers and at the branches and tried to push down the feeling of guilt that came with every spurt of crimson from the severed ends. Somehow she managed to clear out enough to expose the main growth and when she saw it, fully prepared to hack into its base and uproot whatever remained, she froze.
Beneath the branches hung what looked like a human fetus.
No, not human, not quite. Humanoid, more like. Its features were still plantlike; the hair was stunted grass and the skin more resembled the outer coating of a green bean than personflesh, but it seemed to somehow retain that quality of apparent innocence that all children are born with, that all people eventually toss to the wind.
Flowers grew upon it and she could swear she saw it suckling periodically. No doubt it bled too. She leaned her head closer into it. There was something like a heartbeat.
“Shit,” she muttered. She bit her lower lip, shut her eyes to press back welling tears. “Fuck.”
A sound escaped the plant-child, something between a laugh and a coo, and the moment she heard it she knew she could no more bring harm to it than she could undergo an abortion at thirty-six weeks.
She turned, made her way back toward the house. A thought occurred.
What if this is the plant’s defense mechanism? What if it senses my hesitation? What if it knows I can’t hurt it while it looks like that and that’s exactly why it chose to grow in that shape?
Listen to yourself. Chose to grow? The plant chose?
Kill it right now and never think about it again. Kill it right now. Never think about it again. Don’t even think about it now, just do it just do it just do it. Kill it right now kill it right now Kill it right now.
Just do it. Kill it right now.
She raised the hatchet. God damn it.
She went inside.
A month later, people started wondering if the house had been abandoned.
It was covered in so much foliage that it seemed as though no one had entered or exited the building in many years.
The plants were strange, yet mesmerizing, so nobody worried about them. They figured the owner of the house was trying for a new look. All those bulbs and flowers and willowy vines hanging over like large eggs. She’d done a nice job, all the neighbors though, and each of them made a note to compliment her the next time they saw her. Some of them considered checking up on her; however it is one thing to consider checking up on someone, it is another thing entirely to actually do it.
Inside the house, she could feel the walls closing in. This was not a figure of speech. She could feel the vines pressing inward at the windows, could hear the occasional cracking of wood in the structural beams. She thought about escaping, thought about hacking the thing to bits, but every time the idea struck her, she had but to look out any window and see a dangling plantperson sleeping and smiling and suckling. The smiles were bolder than when they had only been one in number, expressive in a way indicative of self-awareness, indicative of thought, of intention.
So she stayed.
Ate her food.
Drank her water.
And when that was gone she waited a little longer for just a hint of madness to set in.
Madness. Time. Desperation.
It is one thing to consider murder; it is another thing entirely to see the deed carried out.