Fear seized the gathering. It did not ripple pass or cause any swaying in the crowd. The fear simply froze everyone.

Lily, Jasmine and Rose were all part of that harvest, all robust, brilliant and bright. All damned, all wished they were wrinkled and withered, or at least bruised. However, not many lived to be that old, not among their kind.

It made no difference what colour or even smell, they exuded. Of course, the sweet smelling among them were favoured and felled first.

The man moved down the row, pointing them out, so casually, so callously.

“This, that.”

“How about this one?” Another asked.

“Yes, that whole lot over there,” said the man with a sweep of his finger, with that same indifferent and even bored expression. “She loves colour.” He added as an after thought.

Jasmine and her group shrieked, as the second man came for them, literally plucking their lives.

Well, if it was any comfort, these men displayed no partiality to any particular group. In that sense, they were better than the racists in their midst.

Blades flashed in the sun light. Sharp weapons wielded in expert hands that slashed, cut and sawed. Then, there were the snips, huge and gruesome, how they snipped – yes, snipped off Rose and her body parts.

Violet gave over to her fate and sniffed softly as the blade came down on her, fondled her private parts. Her last vision was of her friend, Lily, wide-eyed in terror-filled death.

“Why are these men doing this to us?”

“These are ogres,” whispered a voice.

“They garland themselves and adorn their homes,” said another.

A sickening crunch and muffled cries rose and dropped a silence, on those who dared mention the unmentionable.

They watched the two men leave and a collective sigh escaped the survivors. However, they knew, the culling would continue the following day; it always did, never ended, will never end.

The man held up his gift and his wife, turning from the throes of washing approached him with a pleased smile. She wiped her hands on her apron and took his love offering.

She snipped off some offending leaves and thorns and carefully placed the flowers in a vase.

“There, they look lovely now, don’t they?”

“Glad you love them, Hon.”

************ Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2014 ************

39 comments

    1. Hello Indira,

      I never liked to pluck flowers but would rather enjoy them in live plants – potted or in the ground.

      It doesn’t mean I judge people who wear garlands or use flowers and so forth – to each his own, I reckon. After all, I eat meat and in some eyes, that’s worse than plucking flowers.

      By adding a human dimension, we get to ‘hear’ and empathise better – hence my story approach.

      Perhaps, next time I’ll write from a chicken, goat or fish’s point of view. Then, I might stop eating meat.

      Peace and blessings,
      Eric

  1. This is so good Eric. It made me sit up, pay attention and be VERY aware about what goes on in life that we take for granted.
    Love it!
    Thank you for bringing me to the edge of my seat … again 🙂

    1. Hello Val,

      Good to see you return 🙂

      As you know – all look and all see – but some see different from most – and this we need to share, even if labelled cynical, or mad 🙂

      Glad you enjoyed this post.

      All good wishes,
      Eric

    1. Oh dear,

      We actually use imitation flowers indoors 🙂 But our corridor outside our apartment is lined with flower pots – Lisa has green fingers.

      Peace,
      Eric

  2. Oh I love how this story pans out. True, flowers are cut and used as gifts. Various flowers hold various meanings upon presentation. But then, have we ever wondered if we were flowers … what would become of us? Would we love to be plucked and strewn on the floor or even trampled upon? Back then in primary school, my headmistress adored flowers. One day, she made a group of kids wash the toilets in the school because they destroyed the flowers planted by the main entrance. I thought the punishment was very harsh, but then she said that anyone who could destroy indiscriminately was a murderer. Did nature permit murder?

    1. Hello Uzo my friend,

      Perhaps your headmistress was ahead of her time – and I believe, that lesson stuck 🙂

      Did nature permit murder? Obviously, not. But there is another good intent behind this question, and perhaps, a better word would be – Did nature allow ‘killing’?

      Obviously, for food sustenance, we need to take life. Then, we go into what constitutes ‘life’? If plucking a plant is killing – what about plucking a fruit?

      This is neither the time or forum to discuss such weighty and profound topics, perhaps.

      Peace and blessings,
      Eric

  3. Such a fine piece of exploration, Eric, on the social perceptions in the macro and microcosms between plant and animal, worthy to be expanded upon further as alternate tales to coexistence.

    1. Hello Sean,

      Good to have you return.

      You are right, we live and do things mindlessly – aping that which is passed down, without question. Though much of what our forefathers discovered, said and practised remains valid – not all are applicable now.

      One can think of many practices but pruning and using flowers as decorative props is one example. Man have always been attracted to colourful items, be this beads, shells or flowers – the child trapped within finds expression in strange ways.

      I’m a firm believer that our ecosystem allows for coexistence but human greed, expedience and lethargy often gets in the way.

      All good wishes,
      Eric

      1. Hello Eric, yes, a world where mono-agriculture (which flowers have become a part of) has removed all the intrinsic corners, edges to our ecosystem. Sometimes the world feels too manufactured. We live in a world of natural colour, but we build walls to shut it out, to become observers rather than participants. Just random thoughts. Cheers, Sean

  4. Women go soft when they receive flowers while men feel it is a waste of money as they’ll soon wither and die. If everyone feels guilty after reading your post, all the florist will go bust…LOL.

    Perhaps Mother Nature has a reason for everything – short life span of flowers to be admired and adored, they are felled so they produce more and beautiful blooms, and feed for insects too. So Lily, Jasmine and Rose, you are not damned but there will be more of your likes sprouting.

    I’m just viewing the brighter side of your posting. Cheers.

    1. Hello Jasey dearest,

      The florists can always switch to artificial flowers – these look so real and maintenance free too 🙂

      Life when run the full cycle is nature – life plucked and cut short, I wonder how much is nature. Kismet, perhaps.

      Yes, the bright part is – as what Arnold’s Terminator said – “I’ll be back” 🙂

      Luv and hugz,
      Eric

  5. Aaaand, this is why I don’t like to get fresh flowers. I get sad when they die (and of course, they always do.) At first I didn’t realize they were flowers, until I paid closer attention to the names… still, the actions can be taken as quite barbaric 🙂

    1. Hello Janna dear,

      We would all be overwhelmed with horror if we witnessed an ogre walking around with a garland made of human organs. But most of us do the same with flowers which are essentially reproductive organs of plant life.

      This is one reason why, I’m amused when my historical fiction posts draw reactions based on ‘modern norms’ 🙂

      You’re right – wherein lies barbarism and wherein the norm.

      Peace and blessings for the weekend,
      Eric

    1. Hello Juliana,

      Yes, I’m sure like all living things, if plants have feelings – these must run a gamut of emotions.

      Right away, I can think of plants that prey on other plants – parasites that graft themselves onto tree trunks and branches, for example.

      Peace and blessings,
      Eric

  6. I prefer to view the array of flowers in the garden or even wild flowers by the roadside. They are beautiful in their full bloom but when wrinkled and dried, they make gorgeous perfume essence. Maybe the flowers have to appreciate that they are felled to evolve and serve a higher purpose – to leave their lingering and tempting essence to fill this earth.

    1. Hello Windy,

      You are so very right of course. Even in death, animals and plants become compost and help rejuvenate the earth.

      Instead of fearing it as macabre, we can marvel at the cycle of life.

      Peace and blessings,
      Eric

    1. Good to have you return with a comment.

      Some stories have no endings – leaving it to the readers to draw their own conclusions, perhaps. Like you, this technique does not sit well with me.

      I too love closure.

      All good wishes,
      Eric

  7. Wish I could forward this to Prince Charles! He’d appreciate it as he is known to speak to his flowers, and believe they do feel pain and have emotions. Fantastic piece.

    1. Hello Doctor,

      It’s always a pleasure to have you visit and comment.

      Science has proven that when we talk to plants, they respond and flourish. Having said that, I wonder what the good Prince says to his plants.

      I like to convey messages via stories rather than bland pronouncements. Glad that this approach touches some. Then again, these ‘some’ are already spiritually evolved and therefore, the credit is their’s and certainly not mine.

      Thank you for your kind words,
      Eric

  8. I never cut flowers. They look so much better when they’re growing, spreading and reproducing. I wouldn’t have the cat stuffed and put on the mantlepiece either.

    1. Hello Jane,

      I love what you say.

      Although married 33 years, I gave Lisa flowers only once – decades ago – and on a spur of the moment. Have not done so and don’t intend to. She fully agrees and supports my decision. On our wedding day, we used no flowers.

      As you can well gather, this is not an idle post to fill my “schedule” – it is something we’ve been living almost all our lives.

      I don’t own cats – never did. But I can’t imagine stuffing my pet dogs (I’ve had two) or my gold fishes (I’ve had dozens).

      Peace and blessings,
      Eric

      1. It’s maybe part of the ownership diesease—people wanting to own everything they find attractive. They don’t care about anything but their own fleeting fancies.

  9. Oh Eric, this is distressing especially with the ‘girl’ names and all we have seen lately. Wonderfully done, it causes pause which i am sure you knew would happen.

    1. Oh dear, Val,

      Yes, this is a dark post, made worse that many flowers are named after girls – or, is it the other way around. I hope it does not ruin anyone’s weekend or love of flower displays.

      We empathise readily with mammals, and working our way down – to insects and cold blooded creatures. But when it comes to plant life – somehow we embrace different views. It’s one thing to pluck and eat – of course, we need to eat to draw sustenance – but to pluck for display or adornment…

      Reproductive organs in a glass vase on a living room table verses hunted heads hanging on the wall of a mountain cabin – who draws the line, I wonder.

      I don’t have the answers —

      Peace and blessings,
      Eric

  10. “She snipped off some offending leaves and thorns and carefully placed the flowers in a vase.”
    Even if the flower cutter had done the job perfectly that little ritual would have to be carried out by any woman.lol

    1. LOL! You caught on to that one, I see, Ian 🙂

      I simply could not resist that observation – exhibited by many bosses out there, I reckon. But all in good fun, hey!

      Glad that you saw the small sliver of quip there and not drown in what is essentially a dark post.

      All good wishes,
      Eric

    1. I’m with you, Patricia

      Tempting as it is, we don’t do cut flowers, but prefer to admire them in their natural habitat – or in large flower pots we line along the corridor outside our apartment – great sunlight and all.

      Cheers,
      Eric

  11. As a child, I wondered it plants hurt when we cut them…I once saw a show where they used some kind of equipment to prove that plant life screams when we cut them, just at pitch we can’t hear with the human ear… Now that would be a creepy book…
    Diana xo

    1. Hello Diane,

      Yes, plants do feel distress – perhaps not the way animals do, but I’m sure they do (literally) silently endure.

      It would be a creepy story, I agree.

      Have a great weekend,
      Eric

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