The Winds of a Wish

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Review Chain
This is my entry for the Obscure Horror Contest!
Sonata Blake suffers from Walking Plant Disease, but that's the least of her worries when a hideous beast walks into the coffee shop one fateful afternoon.

Submitted: May 12, 2016

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Submitted: May 12, 2016

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The Winds of a Wish

She sat there, sipping her energy drink. For some reason she rather enjoyed sticking Gatorade in the microwave and sipping it from a mug like it was tea. No one really understood what was so appealing about that to her. No one really understood a lot of things about her.

The news blared from the small TV screen, displaying images of death and destruction- basically, all that normally happened in the real world on a regular basis. All the people in the quaint little coffee shop ignored it, and went about on their phones or newspapers or books. A few spoke amongst themselves, others were tapping away on their computers.

For the most part, none of them had anything in common. Teachers, astronauts, men, women, children, construction workers, authors, rights activists, soldiers, students.

They all had two things that brought them all together, though.

The first one was a mysterious monochrome symbol. It was shaped like a black rose, with ink dripping from it. The white background had text that read ‘Together We Stand. As One We Fall”. Everyone- including the children- had it somewhere on their person. A shirt, a wristband, a tattoo, a brand, in their socks, or maybe a necklace. This was the pennant that resembled the League.

The second thing that connected them all was something far more obvious: plants. Not a love for plants necessarily, but they were all very literally...walking plants. Foliage crept across their skin, reaching out to the excessively hot rays of mid-day. The stems and leaves and petals danced around their person, peeking out of their loose clothes and wrapping around their digits. Sprouting from their arms and faces and feet and chests. Each of them grew a different plant, and the severity of the condition varied from person to person.

She had it especially bad, with hardly an inch of skin- aside from her eyes, of course- being spared from the thorny vines that consumed her body.

Walking Plant Disease, they called it. Nobody knows how or why it started, but all the sudden people from all around the world started reporting that flowers and such were growing out of them.

Worldwide panic ensued for a bit, but time went on and people began to settle into this new reality.

Then discrimination ran rampant, and a second Holocaust occurred with the very people in this coffee shop as the victims.

That’s how the League was formed. The League fought for the equal rights of ‘Gardies’, as they were called.

She propped her legs on the round, glass table with a tablet in her lap. A canvas bag dangled heavily from the white porcelain chair she sat in.

“Hey,” came a voice. She looked up to see it was the barista, who had a brown apron tightly binding his chubby body. He was short, sweaty, and had a crown of dandelions circling above his ears. They ruffled his silky dishwater hair, and a couple bouquets clustered themselves around his wrists like bracelets. A coffee-stained nametag hung loosely from his chest, looking about ready to fall off.

“Yes?” She raised a suspicious, thorny eyebrow. Not once had anyone bothered to converse with her. Not until now.

“You, um,” he murmured in a scared, creaky voice. His weight was shifting from side to side as he glanced around. Everyone was watching, waiting to see what he had to say to HER of all people. “Are you going to, uh, order something?” His voice trailed off, getting quieter and squeakier with every word.

“What?” came a cold, monotone response.

“You, kinda sorta, y’know, gotta order something in order to be here.  It’s standard, uh, policy…?”

The whole room was on edge. Only the TV dared make even the slightest of sounds. Everyone knew she was mysterious, somewhat abrasive, and the vines that concealed her every feature and detail was nothing short of creepy. What was she gonna do? What was she gonna say?

After a long, agonizing pause, she gave a slow nod.

“I was waiting for someone to ask me that,” she answered in a surprisingly upbeat tone. “I didn’t want to go in line because I was worried, you know, with my plants, I might seem a little intimidating. And I’ve got my drink right here, so that usually satisfies me.”
The audience let out a unanimous sigh of relief, and the pressure lessened just a touch.

Time started up again, the world continued to spin, and everyone went back to their business.

The barista relaxed a bit. She was nice, just shy and really scary-looking. Perhaps this customer wasn’t so bad after all. Of course that didn’t mean he couldn’t lower his guard with her, since anything is possible.  

In one graceful jerking motion, he whipped out his League-branded notepad and pen. “W-what can I get you, miss?”
“Hmm…” she echoed cheerily. Elation bubbled in her chest. Finally, someone wanted to talk to her. “You have any energy drinks?”
“Uhhh...s-sorry, w-we-we have no-got-we-we-we…” he sputtered tensely, worried she would take her plants and strangle him.

“It’s okay,” she shrugged. “I’ll get whatever you recommend. My mom says I ought to drink less of that stuff, anyways. Says it’s killing my plants. What’s the best thing on the menu?”
“Hahahaa,” he answered, shaking. “Um, I think the salted caramel blend is the best if you ask me.”
“I’ll get that, then. Thank you...Tony.”
She said his name. Only the regular customers ever said his name. He bobbed his head in approval, and fumbled over behind the counter. All the other staff members high-fived him and congratulated his bravery.

She smiled, straightened her tan cargo shirt, and swung her legs off the table.

After a few moments, Tony strutted back to her booth and uneasily set a steaming mug on the sturdy glass.

An army of vines flew out of her sleeve and attacked the cup, coiling around it like a snake would a mouse. He was caught rather off-guard, more than slightly disturbed by this visitor whose entrancing appearance had a vice-like grip on his mind.

But despite the dark green ropes and leaves constantly worming around as if they were alive, despite the ugly black thorns that could pierce flesh, even despite the ghostly look of her hollow grey eyes, she was actually a fairly nice person.

“What’s your name?” Tony finally stuttered, still harboring a slight doubt about her.

“Sonata,” she echoed between sips. “Sonata Blake. Thank you, Tony.”

Tony just kind of stood there awkwardly. The flowers trying to wriggle themselves free of his skin pulled him closer to her, wishing to tangle themselves with her thick and menacing weeds.

Jingle, jingle.

All eyes turned to the door, which had just slammed shut. A peculiar silhouette stood there limply, as if the legs that walked weren’t its own.

Dead. Shriveled. Dying. The stems of once beautiful chrysanthemums withered, drooping sadly over each other and the sickly ash-coloured skin of a once living person.

It collapsed, and the walking corpse imploded into a million specks of dust.  It reached a few fingertips out to whoever would hold its withered hand, incoherent moans bellowing from within its very person.

Then, nothing.

Everyone, especially Tony, was confused and shaken up by this. Who was that? What happened to them? Why was there only a pile of dust remaining?

Well, not JUST a grey powdery residue was littered across the floor.

One of the other baristas, a girl with violet lupines flowing elegantly through her hair, gently scooped up a pure white bud. It hadn’t opened yet, but if it had it could have been the biggest and prettiest chrysanthemum the world would have ever known.

Her other hand covered her apple-red lips.

“Oh my!” she gasped, instantly falling to her knees. Everyone, including Tony and Sonata, watched on with confusion. “It’s-it’s- Hannah!”

Murmurs suddenly erupted, everyone giving their take on what happened or simply expressing their disbelief. Sonata said nothing, just sipped her drink once more.

No one could see it (what with all that greenish black stuff in her face), but she was worried.

She had an inkling of what this was.

No, more than an inkling.

A lot more. She knew what had just happened to poor Hannah Kimberly, she had seen this before. It had been a while, but nothing could erase those persistent memories from her nightmares.

The cup fell to the floor, becoming just as shattered and broken as Sonata’s unbeating heart. Coffee stained the checkered linoleum, but no one cared.

A flood of endless plant vines flew out from her sleeve, grabbing at the girl holding the chrysanthemum and tossing her to the side.

Everyone would have looked at Sonata with a furious rage, since her actions caused the person to drop Hannah Kimberly’s flower AND fall unconscious, but there was something stopping them.

And that was the new discovery that what she did was actually a fairly good idea.

A deep, maniacal sound bellowed from the air itself.

The whole lot of them were frozen by their own adrenaline, curious and afraid and mourning. Sonata, on the other hand, was tensely standing there. Briar vine arms waved and wriggled to the sound of an unheard tune. They crawled slightly out of her face, just enough for slivers of her sickly skin to show.

The laugh continued, weighing down the air with a heavy, stale, ominous melancholy. It dug deep into the souls of every living being, piercing through their leafage. The more the sound persisted, the more apparent it became that the source of the noise was the very flower sitting before them.

It started to move!

Tony had difficulty wrapping his mind around the idea as tightly as his flower crown did his head, but there it was before him. Bubbling and boiling and sputtering like a steaming cauldron made from white petals.

White ink bled from its stem, slowing fading into a deep crimson red as it pooled onto the floor.

“For too long..” hissed an eldritch incantation. “For too long I’ve been asleeep… But now...it’s time...to play…”
It was back, against all of Sonata’s hopes that it was gone. Back from the dust of death, back to haunt her once again.

“RUN!”

No one thought twice. Everyone did exactly as the bodiless voice commanded and clustered at the door way.

But the strong glass frames wouldn’t budge.

“HOW THE HELL?!” Tony spat. “IT’S LOCKED! IT’S STUCK!”
“You-you mean we’re trapped?” moaned the lupine-haired girl. “In here? But how is that possible?”

Sonata knew why the doors and windows clamped shut all the sudden. It was too late. She could never understand how, but this flower had managed to cause something of a trouble for her in the past.

“It’s too late,” the voice hummed yet again. “Time to play a game. I always enjoy PlAyInG wItH mY fOoD!

Not again. Not again. Sonata held onto the fragmented hope that maybe, just maybe, if she told herself ‘not again’ enough then all of this would morph into a mere dream.

It didn’t work.

She was still standing there, in a coffee shop exclusively for League members, eaten away by worming shrubs. She was still traumatized by a childhood event that would forever taint her innocence. Nothing had changed, and Sonata was certain it would stay that way.

Thankfully, she would come to be wrong. Eventually.

But for now, she needed to use her past experience with this troublesome spirit to her advantage.

A single, salty droplet fell from her empty marble eye.

She sucked in her stomach, and clamped her eyes shut.

Sonata didn’t want to open them. She didn’t want to move, or even so much as breathe or live.

The rest of them were just coping with the sight they were forced to endure.

The magenta chrysanthemums stemming from the deceptively pure-looking, half-melted bud weaved themselves into and around everything, from people to walls to themselves and each other.

This kept on until every person had been silenced, every surface had been covered in a matte of salivating flower chains.

The blossoms’ sharp petal-fangs were bared, all of them pointing towards one resisting Sonata Blake.

Tony, who was being suffocated and squeezed by the beautifully macabre monster plants, watched on in agonizing curiosity.

A squealing hiss shot through the air, bouncing and ricocheting off of itself and magnifying in everyone’s ears.
“Ah…” it chanted in a childish sing-song voice. “Sonata Blake.” The millions of imaginary souls trapped inside its tiny body sounded off unanimously, creating an eerie ghost song.

They all danced about in the air, delicate jaws seething with a nectar-like sap.
“Funny seeing you here, again. We keep running into each other. No matter, I like that we’ve reunited. It gives me the chance to finish what I started!”

The monstrous horror oozing from the white bulb’s voice constricted Sonata’s struggling lungs.

She said nothing.

“Not talking? Or are you too afraid to speak? Yeah, I would be too. Especially since the last time we met…”
The bulb sprung open, its sticky blood spattering on Tony’s petrified face. He let out a muffled scream, possessing an unwavering conviction that this was how he was to end.

Well, this day would mark the end of someone (quite a few someones, actually). But no, not Tony. He would live on, eternally pestered by this nuisance of a memory.

As the blooming floret spiraled higher and higher into the now dark and damp room, its blackened stem reached out and curled into a shape.

A human shape.

Fingers stretched out, a whole body settling into place.

Chu-chunk went the newly positioned bones, crack-crack went the newly aligned spine. A whole orchestra of disturbing outcries and clatters blended into the soft yelps from a dying crowd of primarily children and adults withered away with fear.

i GoUgEd OuT yOuR hEaRt!I sHrEdDeD iT tO pIeCeS aNd ShOvEd It BaCk InTo YoUr ChEsT!

Tony gave his suffering customers- mainly Sonata- a look filled with pity and tears. He mentally clutched his own chest, contemplating the pain that might accompany having your beating heart being pulled out and torn apart and thrusted back into you.

He shuddered at the thought.

The anthropomorphic shadow (the one sprouting all the evil chrysanthemums that were trying to kill everybody- yeah, that one) flicked a blood-crusted mop of blonde hair out of its genderless face. Pearl-looking dandelions caked its velvety skin, cascading down and down and down into a dress.

Its wild eyes pulsated with a villainous azure, black rivers of tears bleeding and staining the hideously marred cheeks.

All at once, every single one of the creature’s tentacles tossed its captives into the living trellis walls.

Tony felt his dry throat closing in. He gasped for air, but the possessed gag of a plant stuffed his mouth and kept him from breathing.

The person’s legs almost instantly transformed into a pedestal of decaying leaves, and it moved towards Sonata at an inhumanly fast speed.

It grabbed Sonata by the shoulders, its mouth contorting into a giant hole with millions of jagged, chipped teeth poking out its inner cheeks and throat. It bellowed with a shriek that tore apart the very fabric of space and time.

Sonata cringed.

“Really? Did you have to do that in my ear?” she frowned in the most nonchalant way possible. “Ew, your monster plant spit’s all over me!”
This was by far the most expressive Tony had ever seen her get in the day he’d known her. And at the same time, the most unresponsive. Wow, what a reaction.

She shrank back as the being before her roared again, in a more menacing way this time.

The ropes around all the prisoners’ necks tightened, puncturing and rupturing their throats.

The sight of all those innocents being murdered in a bloody, gory mess really sliced up her feelings and put it on a platter for the monster to eat.

Action. She had to take action. Somehow.

The monster kept digging them farther and farther until Tony’s back was given a harsh reminder that the wall still existed and hadn’t been entirely replaced by a mess of dead or dying sentient flowers.

“What do you want?” Sonata grumbled in an upset tone. “Still up to your old tricks?” Despite her overwhelming concern for the safety of all the Gardies being tormented at this moment, she knew that with this creature you couldn’t show even the slightest bit of doubt or fear.

“You must be THICK to think,” It paused. “That after all these years- after all the countless vessels that I’ve possessed and burnt out, including that Hannah girl I waltzed in with- that I’d still have my same plans and what have you.”

This took Sonata back a bit. She clenched her jaw. “Then just what ARE you planning?”
“Something new…” it purred happily. “Something fresh…”
With that, a million crooked plant whips ascended from the ground and spun around Sonata’s body in a speed that made light look slow.
The thorny roots forming her disfigured ‘arms’ grabbed at her attackers, ripping them off and scattering them at her feet.

Her hair and limbs started rustling faster and faster, suddenly developing a mind and a soul to call its own.

It all stretched out, attacking the browning plants that stiffly clung to the sinless hostages. The dark evergreen/black weeds that made Sonata Blake so frightening were now viewed as saviours, releasing the dozens of blood-soaked corpses- men, women, children of all kinds- and what remained of the living dropped to floor like squashed flies.  

Tony dropped to his knees, and the shackles that held him in the air bursted into a billion dry flakes that reminded him of cereal.

Food.

That thing he suddenly realized he so craved for right now.

But now isn’t a good time, he told his needy gut.

He refocused his attention on the two Gardies standing in the middle of what used to be a coffee shop. They seemed to be staring deeply into the place their opponent’s soul belonged, in a nightmarish stand-off of sorts.

Tony would never know why, but for some reason he felt compelled to dodge all the attacking- and very much alive- chrysanthemum cables. The crimson-stained flower heads tugged on his skin and caused him to gravitate towards this mysterious customer.

That’s exactly what he did.

“Sonata!” he found himself calling out, partially against his will. “Sonata, are you okay?!”

At that moment, a slimy incision met with his ankle.

He looked down at the thing dragging him away face-down to see a violet head of petals and leaves eating at his foot and escorting him to some unknown location. He would scream a pain-induced and partly instinctive “Sonata!” before descending into a chasm of infinite darkness and...something MOVING.

A lot of somethings that were moving. And they were fast, and they were crawling all over his skin like diseased pests- the kind of pest that invade and destroy suburban white-picket fence homes that seem as inviting as they come.

Only this time, Tony was the suburban white-picket fence home. And the pest was a dangerous devil of a thing that was probably some type of plant. And it was definitely keen on invading and destroying him.
That’s exactly what happened to all the sticky flesh-blobs he could feel near him, he reckoned.

Occasionally there’d be a glimpse of light, where a crusty hand would reach in, grab a piece of human meat, and replace the lid, and when it did happen he would take the opportunity to shout out for anyone who could care to hear him.

Then his own body parts were taken away from him, bit by bit by bit. He gave a shot at fighting back a few times, but it never really worked well as they were always there to bite off another chunk of his ear or toe or whatever they felt they wanted.

Tony had gone limp, practically dead, and didn’t want to understand the murmurings coming from above.

This is it, he kept telling himself. This is the end.

But this wasn’t the end. Not for him, at least.

“I love how feisty you are, Miss Blake. But fighting against me with a power I gave you? Not exactly wise on your part.”

At this point ‘Miss Blake’ was completely devoured by the sickening shrubs that now shot out her back, torso, mouth (which looked like vomit), eyes, and legs. There was hardly a piece of her left unscathed by the new growth.

There was also hardly a soul- Gardie or otherwise- that was left in this apocalyptic coffee shop.

It was down to Tony’s gruesome remains, and the empty shell that used to be Sonata Blake.

His head hung on his body, passively allowing another plant to chomp down on his nose. The hot and steamy stuff trickled down his face, mingling with other pools of red watercolour paint. Or perhaps it was acrylic, Tony wasn’t sure either way. He did know for certain that his head was about ready to smash in if this headache kept on another minute.

He DID know that his body was shaking and convulsing tiredly. He DID know that this monster plant had taken a mallet and used it to implode his hope and love for life. He DID know that no one was left to fight for him, no one was left to care for him.

Well, that last thing was more of a belief. A feeling based on a whim, one could call it. Because in all actuality, there was someone who still thought that even though everyone else had their blood drooling from the human plant’s mouth, even though children were being dissolved by stomach juices, it was still worth it to lose your humanity over that one person who MIGHT be left.

“You’ve gone off the deep end,” the bloody beast cackled. “Now we can be abominations together! You can’t even remember how to talk, or love, or even what your name is. See, that plant I forced inside you when you were five? Six? Well, it was what gave you your ‘Gardie’-ness. That plant that lives inside you, that parasite burning inside that wants to tear itself free? It’s what killed your family. Your whole town, even. I remember walking away, drifting myself into a new fleshy host. I knew I had caused it in some way, but it was all you. Now it looks like you’re back at it again, Miss Blake. Looks to me like someone used up too much of their power and let it drain away what makes them human. Congrats, you’re just like me. But I have to ask- what keeps you fighting?”
Sonata’s shell took all its vines and pieces, now sharpened, polished, and ready for battle, and drove them deep through the ghoul’s face.

The blood it had collected from its victims squirted out its eyes, ears, and nose, dribbling from the corners of its lips.

It painted the wall in a morbid mosaic of sorts, a red flag to all the barbarians and gluttons in the room that this was their final moment.

She crashed her nightmare into the wall, creating a crater. All the carnivorous species retreated into the monster through its feet in an attempt to give it a strength boost.

All the plants were gone.

Now all that remained were window panes smeared with a horrific reminisce of the events that unfolded and were still unfolding. Regurgitated red spit-up pooled in certain areas, bejeweled with dull wads of skin and muscle.

The cheery rays of afternoon, closing on twilight, tiptoed into the massacre scene in an ironically upbeat way. Turns out the weather doesn’t give a crap about mortal happenings.

A block of swiss cheese that was actually a dandelion-studded man limped where he stood, still doubting that he had actually been rescued.

Against the wall was something that might have been Sonata in a past life, shoving its cadaverous tentacles into various places on the body of a beast.

“I’m never gone,” it cooed. “Not with you being the monster you are now. Of course…” it winced, as Sonata’s shell forced itself in harder. “You’re dead now...and I’ll just live through...what’s left of...you…”

The shell didn’t seem to care one bit about what its nightmare had to say, nor what the army of onlookers had to feel.

All that mattered was justice. REVENGE.

“Perhaps I ought to yank out YOUR heart,” the shell sneered. “If you even have one.”
Its pale face sunk, realizing the extent of its fate.

One last squish was all it took for the daydream to end. It was over.

For Sonata Blake and the monster, at least.

The creature burst into countess white tufts that sunk to the ground.

Gone. For good, this time.

She collapsed to her knees, falling on a prickly bed of her own wires and weeds.

Tony, realizing who this was, put aside his own despair to rush to her side. “Sonata?”
A fang-toothed hole that was now her mouth curved into a weak smile. “Tony, right?” she asked in between heavy breaths.

“Yeah, it’s Tony,” he called back in a hush voice. “Are you alright?”

“No.”

He scooped her hollow frame into his limp arms. Cringing, he plucked one of his dandelions and set it behind her ear.

Tony looked up at the heaps upon heaps of humans just past the glass, feeling like a caged animal.

“Why is nobody helping us?”

“Because I’m dying. Because when Gardies die, they pollinate. Anything that breathes in or eats up that pollen...becomes a Gardie, too.”
“Is that what happens when we die?” he asked, his tears of blood slowly starting to fade into his flushed cheeks. “Then I should hope I’ll never die.”
“You’re never dead. Not as long as your footprints stick around. Not as long as you’re not forgotten.”
He rose his voice. “But why? Why are you dying? Can’t we get help? What hurt you so bad to make you die?!”
She looked away.

“Sonata?”

“It’s taking me away,” she whispered. “And it will take me away until nothing is left.”
“Stop being so cryptic so I can HELP YOU!” Tony snapped, rain suddenly pouring hard from his bleeding eyes. “I don’t want you to die, And I don’t even know you!”

She pursed her lips, and swallowed the irony saliva in her mouth.

“When I was young…” Sonata curled into his criss-cross lap, browning limbs crumpling up behind her. “It came to me...I wanted to die...it said it could help me do that...but the process was stopped...when my mother came in...and fought the flower away...I only had a little bit of its power...fused into my heart…” Sonata’s breathing was suddenly heavy and her voice was raspy.

“My plants...took control...and killed everyone. The flower came back, and wanted to...destroy the League...destroy you...and take everyone’s plants...by eating them...to make it stronger…but I couldn’t let...it…”

Her arms were gone now, her hair just a bunch of shriveled vines. He could see her face in all its entirety now, all its scars and burns and scratches and bruises and agony.

She looked at him with her hollow eyes. “To kill it...I had to let my plants...take control a bit...but now they’ve taken too much...and it’s…”
“What can I do to help?” he asked, now feeling obliged to speak quieter and softer. “How can I keep that from happening?”
She shook her head slowly. “You can’t...but it’s okay...it was fun...while it lasted...now to see the other side...thank you, for not letting me...die alone…”

Sonata Blake, now more than a living carcass, became instantly shrouded in a veil of more and more vines.

Tony didn’t care that she hurt and stung him, he just wanted to hold her.
He held her disfigured body tightly, reeling her close to his chest so he could bury his vibrantly coloured face into her disintegrating shoulder.

All it took was a sigh.

Little white flurries waltzed into the air, and her whole body vanished into a million seeds, thanks to a single breath from Tony.

“Make a wish…” her voice happily hissed as Tony’s sad sigh carried her into the air.

That’s exactly what he did.

He made a wish.

He wished that he wasn’t the only survivor, he wished that he could have spoken to Sonata sooner.

The seedlings slowly settled, yet even so they continued to dance to an unheard melody.

But it wasn’t so unheard anymore. Tony could hear it now, and if the apathetic passersby tried hard enough then they would too.

It was called the Moonlight Sonata, composed by Beethoven.

Tony grabbed at the seeds that kept escaping him, trying but failing to keep them and hold them forever. It was all he had to remind him of his saviour.

His breath kept blowing them away, casting his wish away into the stale air.


© Copyright 2017 DJcyan. All rights reserved.

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