Friday, September 20, 2013

The Greybell Flower: part 2 (Friday Fiction)

Hi everyone! 
I have the lovely distinction of hosting Friday Fiction this week. You can thank my pile of homework for the late addition. I've been writing this piece in between of figuring out my papers due for tomorrow. (I did finish the papers first though. So no worries!). Anyway, here we go, part two of the Greybell Flower. Enjoy the gardening adventures with Andy and Nena. Thanks for stopping by! 

To join in the Friday Fiction fun, just add the link to your story to the linky widget below. Remember to keep your stories PG-13. Don't forget to read and comment. We all love the feedback. Happy weekend! 


Missed last week's installment? Click here! 

Nena buried her head under the round pillow in her sleeping hut. The groan that left her lips had everything to do with the fact that she hadn’t been able to rest in peace since the moment she’d retired for the night. A few more torturous minutes of her overactive mind led to the decision to leave the warmth and safety of her sleeping bag for the chilly night air.

Dressing by the moonlight that filtered through the shuttered blind of her single window, Nena jammed her feet into waterproof boots and stuffed her arms through the sleeves of her raincoat. She stepped out of the little hut and turned to smile up at the night sky.

There was no surprise at the strong glow of pale yellows and pinks from the nightflowers that covered the hillside where all the sleeping huts were grouped. The friendly light lent a pleasant haze to the night and she paused to pluck the blossom of from one golden bunch. Wrapping it halfway with her handkerchief, she directed the light to the dirt path and made her way down the small hill and towards the main greenhouses.

An invisible pull seemed to be coaxing her as she drew nearer and stopped upon seeing Andy standing at the fork in the path from where the men’s sleeping huts were separate from the women. “Hi?” She held up the flower.

Andy gestured for her to proceed. He was bundled up in his winter gardening gear with a hat pulled snugly down over his rounded ears. He fell into step beside her and made a sound of impatience when she stopped to offer him a flower.

He pulled her to a stop only a few moments later, his sharp green eyes almost glowing in the night. “Can you hear that?”

“Hear what?” Nena cocked her head to the side, a wrinkle stealing over her brow. “Andy, I’ve-” She froze. The flower fell from her hand and her body grew rigid.

Andy muttered to himself and yanked her back a few paces, fumbling in his coat pocket for a pair of earplugs. “Cover your ears!” He shoved the rubbery stubs into her slack hands, making sure that she was responding before he tended to himself.

“What is it?” She eyed the flower several feet ahead of them in the path and then looked down at her hands. “I didn’t even hear anything.” She blushed a moment later, then touched the emerald gems fastened to her ears. The inter-gardener communication link activated a second later and she heard Andy’s reply.

“You don’t have to hear it.” Andy snapped. “But it explains that Marcus fellow.”

“The plants didn’t like him,” Nena fell into step behind Andy, pausing to snatch up her handkerchief and the floor as they passed it. “I mean, they don’t like anybody, but they didn’t bother her.” She bit her lip. “You don’t think it’s her, do you?”

“There’s only one other person it could be and since she’s walking behind me, I’m not inclined to blame her.” Andy rolled his eyes heavenward. “Less talking and more walking, alright?”

They reached the greenhouses and split up at the main entrance to narrow down the source of the invisible pull. Andy promised that the earplugs would keep them from falling under the spell of whatever it was and extracted her promise that she would call him the moment she noticed anything amiss.

Her first instinct was the rare plant storehouse, before she remembered that their resident thief had already wrecked it the week before. It was just one of many odd occurrences in the weeks leading up to the agricultural conference.

Word on the underground was that the conference was a flimsy cover for a peace summit. Whether that was true or not, the Celphians were strange individuals to the point that any perceived slight would be grounds to refuse cooperation with humans in any shape or form.

The potential loss of access to such advanced technology had prompted the Garden Council to step in and make their presence known. The Emerald Garden Emporium had kept to the quieter corners of the market and scientific research, enjoying a quiet existence.

It was due to the lack of outside interference that they were able to raise and nurture rare plant species such as the Greybells in question. That thought sent Nena scurrying for the isolation greenhouse and she turned the corner just as Andy arrived.

His grim smile made her stomach sink. She could feel the pull drawing her towards the greenhouse door, compelling her to enter and discover the source. She opened her mouth to speak only for Andy to lurch forward and clap a hand over her mouth.

He shook his head vigorously, then pantomimed walking around to look through the tiny window on the rear entrance. Nena managed a shrug and followed him around to the backside of the greenhouse.

The invisible pull settled itself as a yawning ache deep in her chest that brought tears to her eyes as her mouth opened in a soundless cry. She clapped both hands over her mouth, but couldn’t stop the tears from trickling out.

Andy looked away, pretending not to see as he squinted into the gloomy interior as far as the tiny window would allow.

She watched as his eyes darkened from the glimmering pale green to a near pitch black, showing him everything that he desired to see. A moment later, he stepped back, shaking his head and stretching out one hand to rest on the side of the greenhouse.

She perked a brow, but he only shook his head and gestured to the window. Blinking away the streaming tears, Nena pressed her lips tightly together and stretched up on tip-toe, cupping her hands over the glass to take a look. The sight that met her eyes stole her breath away.


© Sara Harricharan 
found on google images. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Guess (Flash Fiction)

found on google images.
FLASH FICTION PROMPT

"I guess he likes you."

"Great. I intensely dislike him."

"Why can't you just say 'hate' like a normal person?"

"I am normal, Joanie. You're normal. I'm normal. Let's be perfectly normal and order that eggplant
parmesan for dinner and we can keep on talking about being normal, alright?"

"...are you sure you're doing alright, girl?"

"After everything I just told you, you're seriously going to ask me that?"

"...yeah?"

"I hate you."

"Awww! I knew you had it in you."

"Joanie?"

"Yeah?"

"Shut up."

"Shutting up now--ow! Hey!"

(c) Sara Harricharan

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Greybell Flower (Friday Fiction)

This week's Friday Fiction is hosted by the immensely talented Rick "Hoomi" Higginson over at his blog, Pod Tales and Ponderings. Click here to read and share more great fiction! 

A/N: I meant to do a second installment to my Craegen story, but I haven't been able to sit down long enough to type it out. This piece I am sharing today is actually the stub of a character sketch I'd started on Wednesday and finally had a moment to expand. I hope you enjoy it. Happy weekend!

found on Google images. I own nothing

“It looks like blight,” Andy stepped away from the exotic, bell-shaped flower, frowning down at his thin gardening gloves. They were coated in a substance to help identify certain plant diseases based on the resulting color. He now rubbed his thumb and forefinger together, watching the fabric fingertips turn blue in confirmation.

His frown deepened. The curling velvet petals of the hand-sized blossom looked as if it would shrivel and die if he so much as glared at it. Greybells were strange, rare flowers, said to adopt a melancholy air and personality of their own.

In the twenty years since he’d arrived at the Emerald Garden Emporium, he’d worked with countless plants of all kinds. This assignment had his toes curling in his waterproof boots as he stripped off the testing glove and dropped it in the waiting baggie held by his assistant, Nena. They would have to request an expert and there was no guarantee that said expert would arrive in time for him to fulfill the special order for the Greybell.

There were two of the troublesome flowers, one to flank each side of the podium during Ambassador Lianne’s speech on interspecies agricultural advancement between their races. Greybells were the result of a strange mixture of black Irises and pointed tea roses, a treasured plant on Ambassador Lianne’s native homeworld, Celphei.

“We’ll have to call someone then?” Nena carefully sealed the baggie and drew a sharpie marker from her messy bun. She propped the bag on Andy’s shoulder and scribbled in the label section. “Anyone in mind?”

“Whoever is fastest,” he twitched. “Would you stop-?”

Nena capped the marker and stuck it over her ear, holding up the test glove sample to the light. She stood a whole head and shoulders taller than him, her thin lips pursed into a complicated shape. “It looks kind of pale blue, doesn’t it?”

Andy picked up his glasses and perched them on the end of his upturned nose. “A mild shade of blue,” he admitted. “Now hurry up and mail it before we lose viability and-”

“I’m going, I’m going. Sheesh.” Nena turned away, gliding over to the little office cubicle to retrieve shipping supplies. She addressed the package to the Garden Council and requested the best that they could spare within the confines of their budget.

At the far end of the central worktable, a glowing clear box pulsed with soft, golden light. Placing the package inside, she keyed in the coordinates for the Garden Council receiving room and verified the transaction with a thumbprint.

Once the confirmation chime sounded out in the empty office, she headed for the refreshment bar, snagging a packet of the popular flowering mirage candy on the way out. Andy lost himself in his work too many times to track and she did not want to be the one scolded for allowing the famous head gardener to neglect the necessary functions of the living.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Their expert arrived right on time.

When Liandra appeared at the headquarters of Emerald Garden Emporium, she came with a handsome translator and a frilly black umbrella with a curved handle that resembled a toucan. Her translator, Marcus, explained that she did not speak, but would be more than happy to take a look at the Greybell, as it was her preferred area of expertise.

“She doesn’t speak?” Nena looked from the petite brunette to her giant of a translator. That could be more of a problem than she wanted it to be. Andy’s scowl remained, so she made herself smile and continue speaking. “I guess that’s fine, as long as you’re with her. You say she’s worked with Greybells before?

“She’s very good,” Marcus said. His easy smile was perfectly bland as he rested a hand on Liandra’s thin shoulder. “You might be surprised.”

“I already am,” Andy muttered. He skirted the odd duo, angling towards the westside greenhouse. They’d had to move the Greybells into a section of their own, quarantined for special care. “The greenhouses are this way. If we could hurry this up? There’s a week and a half until the conference and inauguration. Personally, I’d like some leeway in case this falls through.”

“It won’t,” Marcus said. His chin lifted a few degrees higher. “Believe me, it won’t. We wouldn’t have come all this way if it were a lost cost. I shall stay with Liandra as she needs me.”

“Now we’re worried.” Nena muttered to herself. She trotted out of the main offices and locked the door behind them. The small group followed after Andy, leaving perfect footprints in the thin layer of dust on the concrete path.

They entered the sunlit greenhouse in single file as per Andy’s instructions. This particular greenhouse was reserved for expert horticulturalists and high-ranking scientists only. The experts could treat and care for unhealthy plants, while the scientists tested their creations with the greenhouse’s living bodyguard.

The circular greenhouse was protected by thick, spiraling thorned vines that grew outward from the underside of the center of the ceiling, creeping downward to the floor and twisting into the shape of a deformed hedge. These vines were vicious, bloodthirsty plants with enough sense to leave familiar auras alone, but well-trained to attack fresh blood. They would reach out to any living creatures if one ventured too close, so Marcus and Liandra were instructed to mimic Andy’s footsteps exactly. Nena simply brushed them aside when an inquisitive tendril curled over her shoulder. It curved along her cheek, then withdrew when she pressed a kiss to one smooth, thick-veined leaf.

Liandra kept one hand fisted in the unbuttoned cuff of Marcus’s silk shirt and the other wrapped around the toucan’s beak of her umbrella. Her footsteps were barely audible as she kept her eyes riveted to the floor.

The vines stretched out to Marcus, but shrank back at a death glare from Andy, who finally came to a stop in front of a dull, mosaic wall. The handcrafted backdrop did nothing to enhance the beautifully planters holding two drooping, lifeless Greybells.

Liandra stared at them for a moment, then tugged on Marcus’s hand. They exchanged a look and then he checked his watch. “I can stay an hour.”

“An hour?” Nena looked between them. “And then what?” She leaned away from another thorned vine that crept around her shoulder. “We can bring anything you need, name it and I’ll see to it.” She bit her lip, sneaking a glance at Andy. “He’ll sign off on it.”

Andy gave a terse nod.

“Thank you, but that is not necessary.” Marcus squeezed Liandra’s hand. “I am sure whatever you have on hand will be more than sufficient. Where is your equipment? Is it kept nearby?”

“Back supply closet,” Nena pointed to a barely visible indentation at the left corner of the mosaic wall. “I have a key.” She fished inside her shirt to pull out a thin, golden chain with a dainty, bejeweled key at the end. “Did you bring anything of your own?”

The odd duo shrugged in sync.

Nena swatted away another vine and stepped around the Greybells, to reach the door. She unlocked the supply closet with the key and another requested thumbprint, standing aside for them to enter.

Marcus nudged Liandra forward and remained where he was, casting a wary look up at the ceiling where the mass of tangled, prickly vines shifted in restless movement. “Do you need these to be shipped or will someone come for them?”

Andy’s pale green eyes darkened a few degrees. “That’s classified,” he said, shortly.

“Of course, apologies.” Marcus forced a smile that translated into a grimace. “Liandra?”

Liandra appeared a moment later, her arms filled with empty terra cotta planters, the umbrella swinging merrily from her left arm. She held out the pots and gave a funny jerk of her head.

With a resigned sigh, Marcus helped her with the armload. Together, they arranged them in an odd pattern on the floor, occasionally moving the Greybells, until the drooping plants were surrounded on all sides.

“Now what?” Nena looked from the empty planters to Liandra.

Andy grunted. “How long will this take?”

“As long as it must,” Marcus snapped. “Can you please be quiet?”

Nena’s eyebrows arched upwards and she exchanged a look with Andy.

Liandra swung the umbrella slowly from her hand, head cocked towards the nearest Greybell flower. Her own pale grey eyes took on a distant faraway look, her posture rigid, her lips slightly parted.

A minute later, she twitched to life, the umbrella snapping up and open to prevent one of the thorned vines from stabbing at Marcus’s unprotected side. The taller man flinched, edging closer to Liandra with a slight shadow settling over his features.

“She says we should wait outside,” Marcus glowered at the plant that seemed to be hovering, still poised to attack him. “Are those venomous?”


© Sara Harricharan

I hope you enjoyed that little snippet into Liandra and the Emerald Garden Emporium. Let me know what you'd like to read more--the continuation of Greybell or the second installment of Cassie's story in the world of the Craegens or something else entirely and I'll set my muse to the task. Thanks for reading!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Green Sneakers (Flash Fiction)


Found on Google. I own nothing.
FLASH FICTION PROMPT

Green.

Her sneakers are green.

Why are they green?

Why is she looking my way?

She shouldn’t remember. There is nothing to remember. I can’t forget no matter how hard I try, but that is my problem. I didn’t catch her hand. I didn’t break her fall. I didn’t stick around to see her world return.

Grass stains on the white of your tennis skirt. Bloodstains on the white of her shirt. Twisted ankle, twisted head. She won’t remember me, even if I’m dead.

Stupid, stupid green.

Don’t look this way. Because I couldn’t save you, I lost.

I’ll never deserve your friendship again.

(c) Sara Harricharan