Archive | July 7, 2016

Planting some Good


Written to kelkyag‘ prompt here to my Summer Giraffe Call Round 2. This plays off of and comes after The Fairy Road

The park in the middle of the city had always been creepy. In this city, that was hardly surprising, especially for the thousands of people who had no power of their own but enough of the blood to sense what was going on. The park had power, power by the boatload, and it had danger and ghosts twice on top of twice the power it had. For a small thing, a city block crossed by stone, it was fraught with history and with meaning, and it was so overgrown as to be more of a tangle than a park.

It would take careful handling, but Whitney had found that many things did. She started in the library, reading every article the Local History librarians could find her, down to the smallest clippings, single lines in the crime blotter, short paragraphs in obituaries, mentions in the Floral Column when she went back far enough.

She got permission by submitting a form that was ignored — that being the way of city bureaucracy — and she started slow, taking the earlier bus so she could have an hour in the mornings to work, carrying tools and plants in her gym bag.

“On this spot,” she told the dandelions and the thistles, “Emory MacDonald proposed to Dahlia Stonemason. He knelt here, in the alyssum, and her tears fell on the sidewalk.” She pulled weeds and smoothed down dirt, finding, under all the overgrowth, the marble border some long-ago gardener had placed with care. Into the fresh dirt, she planted some alyssum and watered them with bottled water.

“On this spot,” she told a particularly nasty weed a few days later, “Sally Hennings vanished. They say she’d collapsed, been hit so badly she had had lost consciousness, but when the police arrived, she was gone, never to resurface.” There she planted lilies, setting the bulbs in little circles so she could dig them up for the winter if she needed.

That was a Friday; in one week she had cleared an area 2 feet deep by five feet wide. But when she returned on Monday, she found she was not working alone.

“Here,” the translucent man told her, “a woman kissed her lover for the last time before the war.” He knelt down and dug, translucent or not, and daffodils — bright and flowering and out of season — replaced the matted weeds.

“Here,” a slim creature who had never been human sang, “They buried a diary. The book is gone, but the story remains.” Ivy twined from its feet, filling the shaded area with brilliant greenery.

Whitney did not turn, but she knew the voice that had come behind her. “This place has many a story, woman of the city, and you have no debt to it nor to its denizens. You will be a long time at unearthing them all, even with the help.”

“It needs to be done,” Whitney replied, although she could not have said why. “So I shall do it.”

“Very well, then. You will have the time and the space to do it in.” His voice had the finality of fairy gifts, but still, he sounded kind.

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Superfood – a story of Space/Colony for the Summer Giraffe Call Round 2


Written to sauergeek‘ prompt here to my Summer Giraffe Call Round 2

Names from – http://www.scifiideas.com/alien-species-generator/

“All right, the last plant is ready for the colony ship.” Gioia macDowell stepped back and wiped the sweat from her brow while her boss waited — patiently of course; the Detzuborg were always patient — for her to continue. “It’s gluten-free, it’s vegan, it’s umami, it’s got a decent healthy fats content, low cholesterol, not too high in fructose, decent in fiber and with the best protein content I could manage.”

“You made a superfood?” Zenaford’s voice raised mildly. “That is beyond the scope of the brief.”

“Considering the terrain on Zooik Four, I thought the colonists would need all the help they can get. Besides,” macDowell smirked at herself, “I’m a perfectionist. This thing will grow on Zooik-four soil, and it will take in nutrients even from Zooik Four plants, although it would be helped by having some basic modified grass or wheat planted near it.”

“Take in nutrients from…” Zenaford took a step forward. “What, exactly, did you do, Dr. MacDowell?”

“Here, I think you’d best see it.” She raised the view screen to show her Zooik-Four-contained environment.

Inside the hardened glass, a small, green sheep grazed contentedly at the end of a long stalk-like tether. Its wool looked like something like broccoli, its leaves rather like horseradish. “It’s a derivation of the Brassicaceae family, of course. Everything good is — well, that or nightshades, and they’re too tender.”

“…You made a carnivorous plant to feed the colonists?”

“Technically,” macDowell couldn’t help but offer, “I made an herbivorous plant.”

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