Today you get something a little different. I'm participating in a Round Robin Blogvel which is the brainchild of my buddy Michelle over at Greenwoman. My lot fell to Chapter Three. If you'd like to read Chapter One and Chapter Two (which you probably should or you'll be lost) click on the links.
BLOOM - Chapter Three
I woke to the sound of windchimes. My first thought was to be thankful for the breeze, my second was that we didn't have any windchimes anymore because my brother tore them down to fight off his recurring migraines.
I opened my eyes and instantly regretted it. My room had become a pinball machine for sunlight, and it bounced off of everything, searing my vision and leaving crazy patterns on the backs of my eyelids. I shaded my eyes before opening them again. Grandma always said being prepared was half the battle.
My closet door hung open. Metallic vines had pushed their way out, then snaked up the walls and intertwined on the ceiling while I slept. Copper and silver petals dangled against each other with the breeze from my window in a song that I would've found gorgeous if it weren't so terrifying.
I jumped out of bed, racing downstairs with the childish hope that if I found an adult and told them everything would be better. "Gran!" I yelled, busting through the downstairs rooms one at a time. "Gran!" The last place I looked was the sunroom, where Grandma started her seeds in the spring.
The ceiling was a mass of metal roots that had punched through the floor of my closet. They inched their way down the wall as I watched, so stunned I seemed to have grown roots of my own. When they reached a vase and curled around it, smashing the crystal into a thousand shards it broke my paralysis.
"Gran!" I screamed as I blew out the backdoor and down to the stream. "Gran, where are you?" There was no answer, and I sprinted down the path away from the house, back to where I had found the flowers, as if there might be some answer there for me. I don't know if I wash hoping for some kind of corrosive metal version of Roundup, but what I found took what little breath I had left in my lungs right out of them.
The massive oak that the flowers had been going under was almost impossible to look at. The vein I'd noticed the night before sneaking up the trunk had taken over the entire living system. Where the sun broke through the canopy and dappled it's trunk, tiny explosions of light shimmered. The ground around the base was littered with branches and leaves, too heavy to hold their own weight now that they flowers had infected them.
I dropped to my knees beside one branch and plucked a leaf away. It came away with a metallic snick that reminded me of clipping wires with Jamie when he showed me how to steal the nearest neighbor's cable. But the leaf in my hand was much heavier than any cord I'd ever held, my hand bowed under it's weight and it fell, hitting my sandaled feet and making my toes curl up in response.
It was gold. Solid gold. The entire oak that I'd spent so much of my childhood under spinning dreams and fairy tales had just turned into one of its own. I gathered up as many leaves as I could carry and shuffled back home under their weight. Wherever Grandma had gone, once she got home I'd have a lot of explaining to do, but the fact that I was now carrying more money than her house was worth might make the explanation go down a little easier.
"Gran," I called as I pushed through the back door. "Are you home?"
"In here, child," came her voice, sounding much weaker than usual. I went into the sunroom to find her in a rocker, deflated and half the size I usually thought her to be, staring at the ceiling.
"Gran?" I said softly. "I need to tell you something."
She sighed. "No, no you don't. What I see in front of me tells me all there is to know." She finally looked at me, the resignation in her eyes so dead that not even the glittering spots from the gold leaves I carried were reflected there.
She reached for my hand. "But what is this?"
"Gold, gran. The old oak in the woods it's - "
"No, girl," she said, turning my hand over and snaking her finger along the molten line that trailed from the leaf cut. "What is this?"
Check out J. Lea Lopez's blog, Jello World next week for Chapter Four.