I have a special treat for you today, a short-story written by Louise Findlay. If you would like to know more about Louise and her work, I featured her on my author blog during the Fantasy Solstice Tour. For further details, click here.
Vicious Vines by Louise Findlay
I so hated this world. The clogging smell of petrol and dust. I could feel the air on my skin, all contaminated like a stain on my soul. I wasn’t wasteful like the humans. Clothes weren’t a necessity for me. I could just weave vines into makeshift garments, to stave off the cold. It was a waste making clothes from cloth and linen. It harmed plants and if they suffered, I suffered.
I always thought my unusual green eyes were a mark of my connection to the environment. The plants thought so. Their piercing shade certainly stood out from my auburn hair.
I was scared that my skin was taking on a greenish hue. I didn’t think I would change, but I didn’t really know what was happening to me; that was the worrying thing. The plants were happy though. As I accessed my powers I was becoming more like them by the day.
Everything hurt more and more, and I could hear the plants’ cries in my head. It was agonising; the constant screaming plaguing my mind. Humans destroyed everything they touched. They were responsible for the death and destruction of all this wildlife. I didn’t count myself among their number.
I made a last ditch attempt to free myself from this burden. Humans didn’t listen to reason, they only cared about what benefited them. They would pay for laying waste to the forests. They would pay for driving animals out of their homes. They would pay for uprooting plants from their habitat.
It was all the humans fault. Their industrial revolution; building things at the expense of others. It would come back to haunt them. I would make sure of it.
I didn’t have full control over my plant powers, but I knew I could rely on them to do what I wanted. To bring vengeance down upon the human menace.
I might have been content to leave them alone if I didn’t hear the constant screaming inside my head day and night; in my every waking moment and in my dreams as well. It was like having a drill constantly mining away at my brain.
CRACK! It was an agonising shift in my fingers whenever I called the vines to me. Every time I felt the change grow stronger. I didn’t know how to both keep my power, and halt the change. Part of me welcomed it, though the other part just wanted to stay the same.
I would do to the humans what was slowly happening to me. Yes, poetic justice. I’d infect them with plant genes. Then I would watch them trying to survive in their urban metropolis. It would take a lot of strength, but it would be worth it. I forced myself to create balls of swirling energy. The downside was that it was a bit too obvious. Humans ran and fought against anything they didn’t understand. They might escape my curse. Just as my muscles were about to give out, I condensed the energy to vapour. That would do. A swirling mist to encase and infect them.
Hahahaha. I walked for miles to the nearest town and watched the chaos unfold. It worked better than I’d ever imagined. I heard them crying out as they struggled to walk, could hear the conversion in my mind. Their thoughts were being simplified into matters which only concerned plants: food, water, sunlight and procreation. The newly converted plants were weak willed. I knew I could control them if I so desired. Why was I doing this? It was part vengeance; I felt the plants’ pain and wanted the cause of it to pay. But it was also to stop the pain. I couldn’t live with it any longer. It was slowly killing me.
Damn. I was going to kill whoever cursed me to this existence. No one harmed me and got away with it. No one harmed Kathryx without consequences. I had survived unspeakable torments.
As soon as I saw the eerie green mist I knew it was malevolent. I knew my body was changing. I could feel the crippling pain that accompanied it. Arrgh. It was like my body was being torn in two, and only half of me wanted to resist. But the other part, the part which was already damned, did not. I would find whoever did this, and they would pay. On my life they would pay.
The sunlight. It was like a blinding inferno of heavenly day. It nourished the vines that were slowly creeping up my face, but it burned my eyes. I was torn between sacred night and heavenly fire. As a vampire, daylight was my enemy. As a plant, it was quickly becoming my friend.
I suppose my vampiric nature was the reason I wasn’t like the humans. It didn’t matter now anyway. I was dead, whether man or woman or vampire. Plants didn’t bleed. My entire food source had been wiped out in one fell swoop. I had no desire to turn into a piece of shrubbery, but my wishes were of no concern. My body was fighting the battle for me. No sword or spear or arrow could fix this; no weapon could. But rendering the person who did this limb from limb, would make me the happiest creature alive.
I tried to resist the overwhelming urge to claw the vines off my face. They would only grow back again. I had tried that already, which resulted in a mauled face. All I could smell was the infestation of plants. When this was all over, if I was still myself, I was going to set fire to them all. Then I spotted it. Food. Human food. If the person wasn’t greenified yet it meant they had something to do with this.
Everything was slowing down. My feet were dragging. I just couldn’t maintain my speed. Once I was but a blip in the eyes of humans, and now I was struggling to walk. I had to find this person before I became rooted to the spot.
There she was. The red haired menace who started all this. I could see it in her eyes. That spark of violence I saw so often in my own kind. Oh, she was going to the feel the wrath of the last vampire alive.
I had my throwing knives out and began to slice the vines off her body as I charged straight at her with red in my eyes. The vines grew back as soon as I severed them.
“Stop it, please. You’re hurting them,” the menace pleaded.
Hurt plants? Oh, I’d show her hurt. She didn’t even know the meaning of pain. Try being left to starve underground, and trying to claw your way to the surface after having acid thrown on your decaying body.
“You change me back now before I decide your corpse is more useful to me,” I commanded.
She was scared. I could see the tears rolling down her face and hear the palpitations of her heart. This little snip of a girl thought she could destroy everything on the planet and not suffer the consequences? Naïve.
I suppose I should have been worried when I saw that glint in her eyes. But what could a human teenager do to me a vampire? Really?
Ugh. The vines were constricting around my body. I could feel the pressure round my neck. I held my breath, but I knew I didn’t have long before suffocation became a real concern.
“Look who’s in control now,” the human taunted.
No human was going to best me. I was the predator, not the prey. I just had to move my arms. The vines. If I ripped them off I might have enough time to kill her before they regrew. It would hurt though; tear my face. The regrowth would take a decade, even with my healing abilities. Disfigurement was better than death by strangulation, and by a human no less.
I tore my razor sharp nails across my face, screaming even as I took one of my knives from the floor and plunged it into her chest.
Instantly, the vines released me. As I stood panting, the human was breathing her last breath. I could feel the infection slowly retract from my body. The plant life began to wither as I watched her pained struggles.
I was free though. Free at last. Before I collapsed from the strain, I heard the human’s last words.
“Vira. My name is Vira” she said, and then promptly died.
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