Rotten Lily

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
When a covetous toad finds himself in need he realizes he's been in need far longer than he would ever admit.

Submitted: March 05, 2017

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Submitted: March 05, 2017

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Rotten Lilies by AuReign

 An esteemed toad by the name of Erwin was admired and loved by all throughout the entire pond that he lived at. Every creature, even those residing on the far reaches of the pond, came to him with all their problems. He could always solve them with a single night’s sleep. He was constantly asked how, exactly, he came to be so intelligent, but with a smile he would always refuse to answer.

Other than the constant stream of people pleading for help, Erwin kept to himself, but it hadn’t always been that way. He used to be extremely friendly and would wander the pond looking for anyone who needed assistance because that is what he most wanted in the world- to always help others. He didn’t even have a home because he would spend the nights with those he would help during the day as his only repayment was meal and board. But some time ago he quickly had built his home and became a shut in who could recently be considered a grouch as his unfriendliness had become more pronounced with every passing moon. The neighborhood put up with him though because of how very wise he was.

The source of his apparent cleverness was a secret closely guarded by Erwin. His deepest fear was that someone would discover it and take his precious possession away. When he had ceased his travels it was because one night he’d had a vivid dream of a beautiful lily rising from the murky depths of the pond he lived around and it was so breathtaking that for the first time in his life he wanted something for himself. So devoted to his dream was he that he believed in it completely and utterly.

That is why he had so quickly built himself a home. It was a humble little toad dwelling with an edge of the building settled neatly over the pond as if for an indoor entry to the waters. However, though that part of the house could be used for that purpose it had instead been transformed into a shrine meant for the Lily once it surfaced, as Erwin so believed it would. Erwin’s faith was not disappointed because not a moment too soon the house was finished and eerie notes began to drift from the waters inside the shrine’s room.

Quickly as if the Lily had been waiting for this moment for eons the Lily and it’s pad shot out of water and settled neatly into the spot Erwin had so carefully created for it. Erwin cried from his sheer happiness and for days he would only leave to find food and he spent every moment lounging on his precious pad. The first time he had fallen asleep on the pad he’d had a dream just as realistic as the one that had brought him his Lily and with just as much vigor as before he followed the dream and its outcome was just as much of a blessing. Over time, he discovered that so long as he slept upon the pad his dreams would be similar to visions and would answer any questions that he thought of while he drifted off. He shared his gift with others by helping them but he never would reveal his sources.

As the years went by Erwin became greedy and instead of giving his knowledge freely to anyone he began to charge them and would turn away people he didn’t deem worthy of his help. Creatures that had once been his closest friend began to avoid him and he was fine with that because in his mind all he needed in the world was his Lily. Years went by and he took the Lily’s ability to never age, wither or die as proof that it was truly magical. However, one day as he went to lay down on the Lily’s pad, the same as he did every evening, he noticed a nasty brown color creeping up one edge of the once vibrant green pad. He wondered over it for a moment but then decided that he would just let the Lily tell him what to do about it the same as he always did when he was confronted with a problem.

That night though he was not presented with pleasant dreams that answered all his questions. Instead, he fell into a fitful, sporadic sleep that was riddled with nightmares of him drowning in the pond, his home, that he loved so dearly. Upon waking he immediately examined the brown spot to discover that it had spread and now covered a large area of the pad. He was understandably alarmed that his Lily was plagued by something and even more scared that the Lily had not told him in his dreams what to do about it. He rushed to the first person he thought might be able to help and that was the closest of his frog neighbors, Ms. Steph. Steph belonged to a group of many frogs who took it upon themselves to keep the pond’s flora healthy.

Ms. Steph was of course willing to come inspect the Lily pad’s wilting that had Erwin in such a teezy. As they made their way back to the Erwin’s home she tried many angles to make him feel better. “You know, or course, that nothing is meant to live forever. Perhaps it’s just its time. Maybe it’s a simple fix, Erwin. We’ll have this lily pad of yours right as rain in no time at all.” On and on she went, but Erwin held his stoic expression and hopped along at a pace Steph found difficult to keep up with, but at last they stood inside Erwin’s shrine and Steph couldn’t keep herself from expressing wonder at the Lily’s beauty but she soon remembered her reason for being there and investigated the source of Erwin’s distress.

“Oh, Erwin,” she smiled. “Good news. Your Lily is merely a little sick. It has fallen ill to something many do. It’s a very simple fix but it could prove difficult.”

“No,” Erwin scoffed. “This Lily is special. It isn’t sick because of something any other pad could catch.”

“How are you so sure?” Ms. Steph wondered. “It’s lovely, but it is afterall just a Lily pad. Here, take these orbs, they are plant medicine I make myself and all you have to do is swim down and bury them into the marsh at the base of the pad’s stem. I’m sure-”

“Go away,” Erwin cut her off. “I won’t listen to your ignorance.”

Ms. Steph sighed but she knew not to argue with grumpy old Erwin and she left the room quickly, but she did leave the bag of orbs in the door arch. As she was leaving she heard Erwin begin his croaked lament.

Erwin stayed where he was, singing his sad tune until he became too tired to continue. He then slowly crawled onto the small area of the pad that remained unaffected by the plight. Again his dreams were of dying alone in the black waters deep below and when he woke he had already made up his mind that he was going to try to use Ms. Steph’s orbs even if he was dubious to their likelihood of being effective. As soon as he opened his eyes he leaped towards the bag she had left and then he leaped into the water.

He followed the stem down but it went much deeper than what he thought should be possible and the water around him became too dim to see through. Something far larger than himself darted past and fate would have it that he became disoriented and lost sight of the stem that he had been trying so hard to track. Frantically, he tried to hide himself from whatever had posed a threats to him. Unfortunately, his surroundings were empty of any possible hiding places and he was left to float helplessly, wondering if he was doomed to die having never cured his Lily. After several minutes of silence that was filled only with his staring into the gloomy abyss around him he decided to carry on downwards and hope to locate his Lily’s stem. The water was quickly becoming black as could be and he couldn’t help but wonder if he was even in the pond anymore. , he thought, I’ve been taken into a mythical place where only the Lily and I exist. No, that’s just fanciful thinking, Erwin. You’ve become foolish with age.

“That’s not all you’ve become, Erwin.” A clear, sweet voice drifted past Erwin and he stopped dead but the voice didn’t come again. Time became meaningless but at last he shook himself out of his stupor and reminded himself that though he could stay underwater an awfully long time, he couldn’t be here forever and besides that he knew in his heart that his Lily didn’t have forever either. He continued downwards until he couldn’t see his hands and it was then that he became fearful for his own life and not just the Lily’s. How will I ever find the stem’s roots in this darkness? I might as well turn back. As if in answer to his thoughts the same style of music that had enchanted him when the Lily had sprung forth so long ago began to creep into his hearing. The notes were melancholy this time though and it reminded him of how his life had become so lonely ever since he had discovered the Lily. In the darkness, he tried to swim towards the music but he felt as if he had lost all sense of direction.

“Maybe it’s for the best that you do not find me.” The voice whispered again but this time it was so sad and it made Erwin want desperately to make whatever it was that spoke be cheerful like it had been before. The music that he had been following began to decrescendo. Erwin was forced to stop once more because without the music he had no idea where he needed to go.

I’m alone again. I’m never going to find the stem and I was probably never meant to. His speculations were cut short when a shadow, the same as the one before and even blacker than the darkness around him, flew past again but this time it came back. Again and again the dark creature created currents around Erwin and it got closer with each past. Erwin, try as he might, could not get away from it. Finally, he gave up, accepting his fate he went still and the beast crashed into Erwin. Erwin’s bundle of orbs that he had so carefully kept during his dreary journey was knocked out of his hand and went flying into the darkness. Just as quickly as the monstrosity had appeared it was gone. Leaving Erwin stricken and alone. After the attack, if it could be called that, Erwin knew that he had little breath left and would need to surface as soon as he could. With the orbs gone he also knew that he couldn’t help his Lily even if he could somehow find its stem. He oriented himself and began to swim up. On his way he came to terms with many things. Such as the fact that he truly didn’t want to be alone in the world, the darkness had taught him that. He also discovered that listening to others was something he had forgotten how to do since he hadn’t needed to in so long, As the water’s lightened around him he sighed in relief. No longer did he need to fear the lonely darkness below because above him lay his pond, his friends, his home.

~~~

Far below, in a forgotten place, a small creature with many magnificent fins of all different colors and sizes swam swiftly through the dark. Even the best can fall prey to the common infliction, it thought sadly. It took the familiar path back to it’s home at the Roots of Beauty. In one of its fins it held three small orbs and once it had found the center of its home it slid the orbs side by side, deep into the marl and whispered its song to them.


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