Plant power

Submitted into Contest #48 in response to: Write about someone who has a superpower.... view prompt

1 comment


Long ago, I’m told there were humans just like me. Except, I’m not sure how on earth the were able to survive. In the great space war, it is said the alien’s first attack triggered something within humankind, bringing forth everything we could have imagined. 

Everyone around me is gifted with a power of some kind. Flight, teleportation, animalistic enhancements. Except for me, I don’t have anything but my hands and my head. Both very plain, very human. Most people in our world have superpowers and the strongest of them help keep our world in check- fighting off in the various wars to protect the planet.

It has been twelve centuries since we started fighting them. Longer than I can wrap my mind around, staring at my cheap wooden desk and succulent plant. I think the price tag is still on the bottom.

My office is covered in plants. My most recent client is almost at risk of getting his face tickled by an adventurous leaf. But I do not focus on that. From the moment he walked in the door, I gave him my full attention.

“Welcome, Draco O’Riley, yes? I’m Amy Churchill.”

He was a tremendous seven-foot man with scales dancing at the edges of his face like wrinkles. His wings alone threatened to knock over every potted plant within reach and, honestly, that was all of them.

I gave him a warm smile, “Is this your first time in therapy?”

He nodded shyly, his head down. He was using his black hair to cover one of his golden eyes, nervously holding his arms. I stood then.

“Would you like a drink?”

“Ah,” he looked up, surprised, “Yes, please.”

“Tea, coffee, water? Or something else?”

“Uh, Tea. Please. Do you have the fruity kind?”

I smiled, pouring out the leaves into a cafetiere and adding hot water.  There were faster ways, but I always enjoyed the smell. We waited quietly till I poured two cups, handing him one. Even without a handle, his large hands cupped the drink awkwardly, like a man afraid to crush a moth.

He took a sip, relaxing into its warmth. I took a sip myself from a mug with one of my favourite quotes: Do not confuse a single defeat with a final one. It was my mantra.

“So, how old are you Draco?”

“Um, seventeen.”

I frowned. Old enough to drive old enough to fight was the motto almost everywhere now.

“Are you in school?”

He nodded, “I’m in the United Nations Defence Academy.”

“Ah, I’ve had a few UNDA students before. Do you enjoy it?”

His face lit up a little then, “Yeah… I like the lessons, not really the training.”

“What’s your favourite lesson?”

He hesitated, “Art. Maybe History.”

“Art. That used to be my favourite subject too. What do you like to do?”

He shrugged, looking into his cup, “Paint. Draw. I’m not as good as the others.”

“Why do you think that?”

“Well… I’m a fighter. Half the time I squish the clay flat or break the brushes.”

I nodded, thinking back to his notes. If it wasn’t for his extra credit as a soldier, he wouldn’t have made it to high school. I felt sick at the thought. He was too young.

“I see. But you still enjoy it?”

He nodded, “Yes.”

I smiled then, pulling out some paper and coloured pencils. His eyes widened.

“Then why don’t we do a little drawing?”

I didn’t bother taking him to the beanbag corner, I knew he would struggle to fit there comfortably. I pulled the desk over, the screech hurting both of our ears.

“Sorry,” I smiled.

He paled, “No, no. Don’t be. Please.”

“Well,” I sat opposite him, “Why don’t we start with drawing ourselves?”

He sucked in his lip. I understood.

“We don’t have to- “

“No, I’ll do it,” He stammered, “I promised Ma I’d try.”

We sat scribbling for a few minutes. I always did my best to walk a fine line between honestly applying myself and not getting to involved in the sketch. Draco seemed much more engrossed, his face softening with the task. He flinched then, as his pencil scooted off the page. I took another sheet, taping it to his.

“There,” I smiled.

He laughed too, his eyes crinkling.

“Do you need another?”

“Yes, please.”

He drew his wings on the extra pages with startling accuracy. Although it was impressionistic, his style carried the piece through.

“Amazing, you’ve worked really hard on that.”

“T-thanks,” He blushed, “What does your look like?”

I held it out to him. It was a plain sketch of a blonde woman in a white coat, holding a plant. He grinned.

“It’s really good.”

“Thank you,” I smiled.

“What’s next?”

“Well, I want you to write some words that describe you on the outside of your picture. We can use more paper if you need.”

He nodded, his eagerness fading. Several more pages were added, his fingers straining to carve out each letter. He put down his pencil, not looking up.

“Are you alright?”


“Do you mind if I take a look?”

His hand flew to cover the page before his face scrunched up and he exhaled deeply.

“I…I’m sorry.”

“You don’t have to be sorry. It can be hard to open up. You've done really well.”

He nodded, before sliding the paper over. I read it and tried to keep my heart from breaking.

Worthless, Pathetic, Weak, not enough, failure.

“Why did you choose these words?”

“Because I am,” He shrugged, holding his arms.


He blinked, looking at me, “You’re not gonna tell me I’m not?”

“Well, I don’t think you are, but if you feel that way then that’s how you feel.”

He breathed in then, exhaling.

“Well… I’ve always been clumsy. I break everything I touch. A-and in the last campaign I… I broke down. I killed one man- one alien- and I broke down. And my team… I was meant to protect them a-and it’s all my fault!”

He slammed his head into the desk, sobbing. My heart ached for him.

“It’s alright Draco. Take all the time you need.”

Ten minutes or so passed. My entire body was uncomfortable, wanting to leave, or cry or comfort him. But I knew how this worked, he needed me right now, like this. He needed to know I wouldn’t leave at the first sign of weakness.

Finally, he sat up, hiccupping.


“It’s alright. You are allowed to feel sad. It makes perfect sense considering what’s happened.”

He nodded, looking down again.

“Did you know your team well?”

“No… we’d never met before. It was a training mission, but we were ambushed. I was the only one who… came back home.”

“I see.”

“I… I’m weak, okay. We don’t have to sugar coat it. I know I wasn’t enough to save them. Ma’s always said I’m a disappointment.”

“When did she say that?”

“W-When my Pa died. He… he was a soldier too.”

I nodded, “I see.”

“I… I wanted to be just like him. He used to come back from campaigns all the time, and I loved it. We’d go out as a family and eat ice-cream and do loads of fun things before he went back on missions.”

“It sounds like you really love him.”

He blinked, “Love?” He smiled weakly, “Yeah… I guess I do still love him.”

“What did he used to say to you?”

Draco blinked, almost frozen like a deer.

“He… he used to say I was a good kid. He used to call me champ.”

“So,” I gave him a green marker, “Champ. That’s a word we could write on your portrait.”

He blinked, slowly taking the marker. He wrote ‘champ’ in elegant cursive, taking a painfully long time.

That had been the first session. After thirty-six sessions, a bright twenty-year-old bounced into my office, knocking over a plant. He caught it effortlessly, not a grain of soil falling onto the old blue carpet.

“Draco, it’s good to see you.”

“Hey Alma. I know we finished a few weeks ago… but…”

He rubbed his shaven head, an old habit.

“It’s alright, I’m free.”

I saved my report, closing my laptop.

“Have a seat. Would you like some tea?”

“A-Actually,” He smiled, “I just wanted to give you this.”

He handed over a small box.

“Thank you. Would you like me to open it here?”

“Ah, no. That’s alright. I’ve been cleared for training, so I just wanted to give you this before I go back to UNDA.”

“Alright. Well, thank you again. I wish you all the best.”

He laughed, “You too, Alma.”

This time he exited gracefully, albeit for the paint splatters where he’d wiped his hands on the back of his jeans. I opened the letter tucked into the ribbon and started to read.

Dear Alma,

Thank you for everything. It’s weird how we mostly just sat and drew and talked, but for me it was everything. I don’t think anyone has just let me be me. I’ve always had to be a replacement for Pa, or an elite soldier because I can fly. Well, you already know all this. It’s a bit scary when I think of how I was thinking before we met. Now I have hope again.

Being able to fly is cool and all, but if I could have another superpower, yours would be a close second.

Best Wishes,

Draco the Champion :D

PS: The lady said to water it everyone to two weeks.

I laughed, opening the box. A snapdragon, of course. He had painted the pot as well, the asymmetrical shape telling me he’d made it himself. I shook my head, placing it between the others.

“They all say that.”

I looked out the window, where a girl was greeting Draco. He hugged her, laughing as the walked away. His head was held high.

I smiled, my heart glowing. 

June 27, 2020 17:38

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.

1 comment

Brooke Gardner
21:11 Jul 08, 2020

I love your story! I only have a few questions/suggestions. First of all, never use the word "almost" as a description. Readers can't see an almost. Was the therapist's name Amy or Alma? I loved how much dialogue you inserted in the story, although I would've preferred more detail in one or two places. Love the story! <3


Show 0 replies

Bring your short stories to life

Fuse character, story, and conflict with tools in the Reedsy Book Editor. 100% free.