Star Flower. Short Story.

So college has started back and I’m acclimatising to having to do college work again, which wasn’t as hard as I had feared. My weekend was pretty tame, went out on Saturday night with some friends for a chat, had a drink or two then went home. Though we did find a place that does really big jugs of cocktails for twenty euro.

It was also raining pretty heavily so I got kinda drenched on my way home, but my hoodie kept me pretty dry, my jeans did a less effective job though.  Beyond that nothing new has happened, my life is pretty boring at the moment (well, boring for other people to have to read about.) I should do something exciting like burn down a building. (Note: I am not actually going to do that because ya know, I’m not that insane. Yet.) And now I’m just thinking of Cheryl from Archer (an awesome show you should be watching like right now. Regardless of where you are or prior engagements.)

Maybe I’ll start off smaller, like sky diving or curing world hunger.

On with the show!

——————————————————————————————–

Star Flower.

He didn’t notice it the first night, nor the second. Why would he? It was such a faint thing. Besides that, he never looked into the back garden, not really. It wasn’t his domain, it wasn’t anyone’s, it governed itself. He had great dreams of what he would do when he moved in, but none ever came to fruition. Instead the garden was left to its own devices, occasionally he would interrupt the growing by mowing the grass or trimming things back a bit. Flowers grew, which had surprised him at first, he wondered if perhaps they were yearly ones, the kind that didn’t need to be planted frequently, he made a mental note to check, but he never got around to it. Obviously who ever was there before him had taken care of it. He was busy during the day, and at the weekends he didn’t have the energy to spend on it. He knew that once he started he would need to keep going and he had no interest in spending a few hours of his weekend trying to tame the garden. Occasionally he would look out and think that he should do something with it. Maybe build a deck, add some stones around the edges. Have nothing but grass, it would look classy and require little maintenance, but there was the cost factor, as well as time. He couldn’t afford to bring someone in to build a deck and there wasn’t enough time for him to do it.

He was going to bed when he first noticed it, a soft, gentle glow in the back garden. He stared at it for a few seconds, trying to figure out what it was, before deciding to investigate. He turned on the light in the kitchen, then slipped on his shoes. There was a gentle breeze outside, it was cool, but not cold. He stepped into the garden and approached the glow. He didn’t know what to expect really, maybe it was some new kind of bug, perhaps fireflies had begun to surface in the country and he just wasn’t aware of it.

There was a small, purple flower, its petals a few inches above the grass and it appeared as though the glow was coming from the centre of it. He leaned down, and to his astonishment, saw that it was. He reached out and gently touched it, trying to see if it was real, half expecting it to be some kind of plastic ornament. The petals were silky and pliable, it felt real enough. He scraped slightly at the soil, exposing some more of the stem. No, it wasn’t fake. He touched it again, the light flickered for a second, then became brighter. He removed his hand and after a few seconds, the light faded slightly. Strange. He looked around his garden, then reached forward and plucked the flower. It kept glowing. Sap was dripping from the stem, it too was shining faintly, the droplets fell onto the soil and slowly faded. The light from the flower dimmed until there was only darkness. He stood and brought the flower inside. Once inside he looked at it carefully, it appeared to be a normal flower, though there was a small, clear sac in the centre of it, obviously that was where the plant stored the fluid. He didn’t quite know why it was there, if it was a by-product or an evolutionary advantage of some kind, maybe the plant used it to attract insects. He placed it on the counter and as he looked at it, it occurred to him that the flowers might be rare. Oh well, it was done now. He could always check in a few days and see if any more had grown. After all, there was not much else he could do.

He put the thoughts of the flower out of his mind, work became hectic and he was tired afterwards so it was quite easy. A week after the initial discovery he remember them and decided to check again. He noticed the glow was brighter this time and as he approached he saw why. There was a clump of them, all crowded together. They seemed to be the same as the first one. He plucked one and, not wanting to get the goo on his hands, used two small rocks to pinch the stem together. The fluid stayed inside the flower, it kept glowing. He brought it inside and, after finding a clothes peg, he used that to hold the stem closed. It took almost a week for the glow to finally stop/ The petals didn’t decay or fade, not until the glowing stopped, then they quickly fell from the stem. During this time he had done research, during which he found no reference to the plant he found.

He was keeping an eye on the others in the garden, there were more of them now, they seemed to be sprouting up everywhere, but only in his garden, he peered over the walls and there was no tell tale glow from his neighbours back gardens. He didn’t know why that was, but he was grateful for it. It meant he could keep it a secret a little while longer, after all, everyone would want these glowing flowers, all he needed was a catchy name, like Star Flowers and the marketing would write itself. They didn’t seem poisonous or dangerous, though he hadn’t tried to actually eat one, touching them had been fine so far. He would be rich, he knew it. After the first night he never noticed how the light from them became brighter when ever he was near. His only concern was hiding them, soon the light would be blinding, it would be as though the garden was rigged with halogen lights or something. He’d have to protect them, at least until he could figure out how to patent them. Once he made his money he didn’t care. He didn’t question his need to sell them. Didn’t think of how that would spread the plants quickly and easily. His only concern was the money, and the money would be very, very good.

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About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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