The Curious Leaf: An Adventure in Wishing Part 4

The-Curious-Leaf-An-Adventure-in-Wishing-Curiosities-0-KindleCarefully, Kya bent down and retrieved a silver seed the size of her palm from out of the flowers that were all eyeing her with grave dislike.

Sheepishly, she backed away until she stood on the grass where she wasn’t in danger of trampling anyone else.

She held the seed up to her face, seeking for even the tiniest crack, but the edges were sealed completely. “Are you in there?”

Yes, Hearthorne sniffed. I’ll need you to plant me once you get settled on board. Don’t forget, you promised.

“Settled on board?” Kya gripped the seed with both hands as a desperate sort of wail built up in her brand new lungs. Plants changed slowly with the seasons, so all this rapid change was making her head spin.

Imagine, if you will, waking up one morning to find that you weren’t who you thought you’d been your entire life. Perhaps you’d sprouted feathers and wings or vines and leaves. But whatever the change, your name still burned brightly against your heart, so you knew you were, in fact, still yourself, even if you weren’t quite what you’d been up until now.

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The Curious Leaf: An Adventure in Wishing Part 3

The-Curious-Leaf-An-Adventure-in-Wishing-Curiosities-0-Kindle“You don’t have to change,” Hearthorne said lightly. “You can remain the same, so long as you are content to have traded the taste of freedom you had before with the safety this seed provides. The binding has been cast, the seal has been made, the promise given. What is done is done, and there can be no going back.”

“I didn’t ask to return to seed,” Kya didn’t quite wail. Her leaves had curled up and begun to wither away. She wouldn’t need them in here where there was no sun, but the loss of each leaf made it harder to hear what was left of the world about her.

“No,” Hearthorne agreed. “But you did ask for your dream. Tell me, are you only willing to reach for your dream if it falls upon you gently? You said you were willing to pay the price for the possibility of the dream, but did you really mean it where it counts?”

Kya pressed against the unrelenting sides of the seed again, fanning out her petals that withered and fell away each time she pushed, digging down with her roots until it felt as though they’d been dipped in fire.

Her first seed had known when it was time to release her. She’d grown strong with its nutrients, strong enough to press through the first tiny crack that had appeared. Her new stem had been strong, but flexible. This seed expected her to be of Walnut, and while her stem was stronger than it had been before, she would break herself against the sides of the seed before it yielded. Her strength had become brittle and would not allow for her to pass.

“I can’t,” Kya said, sorrow and resignation roughening her voice. “I am not strong enough.”

Hearthorne was silent for a long time before she spoke again. “Strength is not a single color. It does not have to be black nor white. Strength can be one of those, but it can also be any of a thousand shades in between. You want to be flower-strong in a place where no flowers grow.”

“I am not of Walnut!” Kya closed her eyes against the sound of her breaking heart.

“Then you will die here,” the faerie said simply. “And I will die with you as I have already woven our fates together, back when you believed you could one day find a pair of wings and fly.”

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The Curious Leaf: An Adventure in Wishing Part 2

The-Curious-Leaf-An-Adventure-in-Wishing-Curiosities-0-Kindle

“I want to fly,” the flower said, hardly daring to feel the hope pulsing in a quiet shadow of her heart. “I want to explore. Discover. Become.”

“Ah,” the faerie said, turning her dark eyes bright with moonshine to the flower. “Wishes are dangerous things. They nibble at you, gently at first, until all you can feel is their hunger.”

The flower turned her gaze to the stars in silent rebellion. It didn’t matter if wishes had sharp edges and prickly corners. Didn’t matter if they started with warm smiles until they became all teeth. They were what they were, and once they’d lodged themselves in her heart, she had become part of the wish too.

To lose her wish would be to lose herself.

“I’ve a mind to grant your wish,” the faerie said, and her dark eyes flashed with a wish of her own. She placed a hand against the pot. “It must be nice being tucked in the earth and feasting on wind and rain and sunlight. Having someone care if you grow rough and ragged around the edges, and gathering you in against the chill of the frost and the burning of the sun.”

That had all been true before the flower had turned her eyes skyward and the wish had fallen into her heart.

“What will it cost?” the flower whispered.

The faerie frowned before answering. “Everything.”

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The Curious Leaf: An Adventure in Wishing Part 1

The-Curious-Leaf-An-Adventure-in-Wishing-Curiosities-0-KindleOnce upon a time there was a flower who wanted to do more than stare out the window and stand reliably in her comfortable pot.

She wanted to fly.

Oh! To have wings she could stretch and unfurl! Wings that could take her wherever she wanted to go.

She would finally be able to see what waited beyond the path that curved round the hill. With wings she could explore the forest that loomed quietly to the west or talk to the fish that swam in lazy circles in the pond to the east.

As a wingéd flower, she would have a chance to find her fortune rather than waiting passively for the seasons to change, her stem to grow brittle, and her petals to fall one by one until all that was left of her was a few withered leaves and a crumpled face that had once been bright yellow.

Some flowers, you see, are remarkable creatures that die every few seasons, only to be born anew once more. Bigger. Stronger. Budding life on their previous lives and accumulating a sort of verdure venerability.

But our flower is a young flower who has only lived a total of two seasons. Three, if you are inclined to generosity and count the current season. Still, the drumbeat of the autumn pulsed up through her roots, into her stem, and rattled against each of her petals. Our flower knew, as all greenlife knows, that one’s own life was subject to the capricious whims of mortals, the ravenous appetites of birds, the occasional cat whose curiosity outweighs its good sense, and the rather flighty nature of the wind.

Just because one might live and die and live again, doesn’t mean one will.

More and more the little flower’s heart turned to the sky that hung prettily as the northern frame for the world.

“Wings,” she sighed. “All the world to find, if only I had a pair of wings!”

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Secrets of the UnderWhere Officially Launches

SotUcoverWelcome!

Mark your calendars. Every Thursday we’ll be venturing to the depths of the UnderWhere where monsters and nightmares and all sorts of shadowy creatures are real.

In general, UnderWherians tend to avoid the UpThere and the OverWhere like the plague. After all, those two Wheres are notorious places to find things like mortals and *whispers* grimmer things like *shudders* children.

But late one night, in the middle of the Grand Mayor’s speech, the Prince of UnderWhere arrives in all the Pomp and Ceremony an UnderWherian of his stature deserves. He has come with an impossible task, and no is never really an option–not if you want to keep your head about you.

But once the prince leaves and the crowd clears, a singular creature is left behind. A creature that looks remarkably like a small, grubby, human child . . .

New secrets of the UnderWhere will be posted every Thursday beginning on 21 May 2015. (barring the occasional dragon problem). If you’d like to keep up to date, subscribe to this blog (top, right column) and get the updates delivered to your in box.

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