The Chosen Ones

Submitted into Contest #86 in response to: Write a story where flowers play a central role.... view prompt


Crime Fiction Thriller

 A greenhouse sits on four acres, of rolling hills, lined on either side, with Rhododendron, in Upstate New York. A man opens the door and calls out in a cheery voice:

“Hello, my beauties, It's time for your morning feeding.”

Methodically, the man, named Arthur Quagmire, dips his hands into an old, Tupperware bowl, which he had inherited, from his mother. He spreads diced, fish onto the soil, which shields the roots, of red roses, which he had, also, inherited from his mother. He uses his fingertips, to kneed the fish into the soft soil, all the while singing a little ditty that his mother used to sing to him, when he was, but, a mere babe.

After the feeding, he wipes his grimy hands, upon a towel, which he had draped around his neck.

“I know, my little darlings, I miss her too.”

The heads, of the roses, lift and begin unfurling, feeling the warmth, of the morning sun, upon their delicate, velvety-smooth petals. Arthur loves watching them come alive, almost, as much, as he likes watching the way they shrivel up. In fact, Arthur likes watching time take its toll, on the beautiful plants, so much, that he records the process, in time-lapse, to which, he superimposes classical refrains into the recordings.

Rembrandt, the largest rose, whom is a deep, blood-red, is, also, the oldest, of all the roses. He's always seen the way that Arthur strokes the petals, of all the plants, even the ones that Arthur, himself, has planted. He wondered why the man so lovingly strokes them; One day he got his chance to find out. Arthur, always had some nosy relative invading his home, so he brought his VCR to the greenhouse, where he could watch his home movies, without fear of being interrupted.

The first night that Arthur viewed his home movies, with his mother's prized roses, Rembrandt saw exactly why his loving caretaker, touched them and cooed words of love.

'It isn't that Arthur loves us,' Muses the plant, 'He loves what we represent. The red, of our blossoms, is the color of the blood, which he spills from his victims.'

Rembrandt hadn't always been a flower; Once upon a time, he had been Arthur's mother's spirit protector, but, the day she died, Rembrandt closed himself off from the rest of the world. The other flowers, in the greenhouse were alive, however, they did not know what it meant to be truly alive. Yet, he, Rembrandt, had been and he has seen the world, through sky-blue eyes.

The other flowers show no concern for what they've seen in the home movies. They only exalt in the fact that they will be chosen to grace the mouth of the next star, of said movies. Rembrandt wonders how the others could be so simpleminded that they find no compassion, within themselves.

'If only some decent person would enter the greenhouse, then I could inhabit their body', Rembrandt muses, 'I could, now, but I refuse to sully my good aura, with the darkness, which is in Arthur. The man is so vile that I doubt his own soul can stand being in him.

After another of Arthur's cheery greetings, he chucks Rembrandt, and each of the flowers, on the underside of their blossoms, as feeds them.

“Today is the day, that I make, yet, another masterpiece,” Arthur lingers longer than usual and he murmurs, to himself, “Which one, of you beautiful ladies, shall I choose?”

Just then a slight breeze drifts through the open, greenhouse door, and the flowers start shivering, as if the breeze has caused it. Rembrandt isn't fooled; He knows that the crazy flowers are anticipating the sacrifice they shall make.

'You oafs; You crazy, little idiots, who are only wanted because you resemble the bloodstains, which will later stain Arthur's hands.' Rembrandt whispers, but the flowers keep clamoring, silently, until Arthur plucks one, from its stem, then watches with dejected disappointment, as he walks out, shutting the door behind him, thus stilling the shivering petals.

The other flowers have been growing tired, of Rembrandt's Holier-than-thou attitude.

'What gives you the right to tell us how to live and die? It is our choice, if we opt to get out, of this greenhouse, via Arthur and his psychotic delusions.' Hisses one of the youngest roses.

'I can understand that, but do you all have to make it seem that you delight in what he does?'

'What he does is of no consequence to us' Piped up a snobbish Daisy.

'So, you do not care that on the weekends, when he is off from work, that he goes out to commit murder? How very pathetic you all are and I hope one day that he runs out, of roses; I hope, by then, that Arthur is no longer able to grow flowers, then maybe, just maybe, he will cease hurting innocent people.'

'Innocent people? How do you figure they are innocent? Humans poison our mother, all the time, and rape her soil, for minerals and fuels. The woods become paper to write upon and to wipe themselves with, in stinking bathrooms. Plants are butchered for food and, even, some of that is wasted by eaters, whom are, too, picky. Animals get hunted for food, but many are hunted for sport.'

'Yeah,' The other flowers chime in, 'Humans suck and need taught a lesson.'

'So, leave Arthur to his grand scheme and leave us to going on adventures,' Says a gruff, woody-type plant.

'How did you get in on this conversation,' Rembrandt queries.

The plant shakes his pedals sadly and replies, “I know you're not that stupid, Rembrandt; You know the answer to question, which you ask, of me.'

'I...Yes...I think I do, but I was hoping...,'

'I know, what you were hoping, but it will never come to pass, Rembrandt, because, as long as Arthur has this greenhouse and remembers how to be a botanist, then he will never cease being a serial killer.'

'Not until the day he dies,' Rembrandt adds sadly.

'Maybe someday,' The woody plant concurs, 'but, in the meantime, we all just try to bide our time, hoping that he chooses us for his masterpieces, so that we may leave this world and not have to live in it, with a man that started, his life as serial killer, by killing his own mother.

'How do you...,' Rembrandt goes to ask, but the woody plant interrupts, while finishing the question.

'How do I know that he killed her? He killed her while she was pruning me. She scolded him for not feeding her flowers properly and he took the pruning shears, she had just lain down; And stabbed her. That's how I know.'

Rembrandt from that day forward, knowing that he was alone midst simpleminded flowers, clamors for Arthur to choose him, because he doesn't want to live anymore, since finding out the truth.  

March 22, 2021 20:26

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