Last year I had a blast participating in the ever-talented and fun-loving Michelle Simkins’ traveling blog novel, SKELETON KEY. This year, Michelle has put together another lineup of writers to help her pen BLOOM. You may recognize some names from last year’s blogvel and others from SPRING FEVERS, the anthology.
Today, it’s my honor to add Chapter 6 to BLOOM, a fantasy-ish story. If you haven’t kept up from the beginning, you may want to consider it now. Just click on the first chapter and blog hop your way back here. If you’ve been following along, you’ll know that last week ended with a Report from a Fugitive, while Kay Elam Writes chapter 7 next Monday. I hope you discover a new writer or two whose words you can’t live without.
BLOOM: CHAPTER SIX
Of course the hedges were changing. Gold, he could deal with. Green? Living, breathing green? And they thought he was the evil one.
“Wanda, go to the meat market on First Street. Hijack a cold suit and hang out in the freezer. I’ll get you when this is over.”
“No way. I hate to be cold.”
“So do plants. Henceforth the suit.”
Whether Wanda said more or not, he would never know. A tendril of ivy trailed across the chapel floor and yanked his phone from his hand. Or was it a Hooligan vine? Damn his childhood penchant for The Great Green Turkey Creek Monster.
He rubbed his temples and tried to remember what had stopped the Turkey Creek vine in his favorite picture book. Music. Like the mice in that play. But louder. A trombone.
Maybe his trombone would work to tame the plant things staring him down. If only he played the trombone. Or any instrument for that matter. Instead, he’d asked for science kits for his birthdays. Kits he mixed and matched and created with in the meadow where Mom couldn’t see.
It took a long time to grow an evil genius.
“What do you want?” Jamie surprised himself with the strength of his voice. No quivering to match the roiling in his guts. At least he had that part of super villain down.
But they didn’t answer. Plants never do. Unless…
Jamie placed his hand on his sister’s back. Gold she may be, yet she still breathed. She should be safe until he returned. If he returned. He waved to the plant creatures. “Follow me.”
They did. A little too closely. The mom-thing dropped a branch across his shoulders. To keep him from running? Likely. A leaf–supple and sensual–caressed his neck.
Bile rose in his throat. “Knock it off, Mom.”
The tree-things shook. Leaves tinkled to the ground. They were laughing. At him. “So, you’re not Mom?”
More rustling. The branch arm snaked around his waist. Holy crap. He’d attracted a plant. Wanda he could deal with. A tree crush? No way.
It was a long walk back to the clearing where Jessica first found the flowers. Made longer under the weight of his new tree-girl’s arm. The softly stroking leaves against his body.
He didn’t think she’d contaminate him. Rather, didn’t think she could. Evil or not, he was–on some level–responsible for the rapid growth of the living gold spreading throughout the local plants. And, as the scientist who created the plants, he was afforded a certain amount of safety.
As long as he didn’t tick them off. Testing his hold on her, he brushed a finger across a leaf. It turned bright red before settling into a pinkish green. Perfect.
Now to get her to talk.
They passed through the clearing to the little creek gurgling in the background. In their younger days, Jessica and he had called it the Pactolus in honor of the King Midas myth. They would spend hours “panning” for gold along the muddy banks.
His first real scientific success had been squeezing one tiny nugget of gold out of his chemicals for his sister to find. Did she still sleep with it under her pillow each night or had she tossed it away like she had him when he went to college?
He shook his head. Didn’t matter now. He had a new girl-tree to talk to and her hulking bodyguard to manipulate.
On the banks of the Pactolus, the reeds whispered in the wind. Jamie scratched at a stem. A layer of green slime collected under his manicured fingernail. The real deal. No gold to lie to him.
His second success. The truth reeds. He’d made it impossible for Jessica to get away with telling a fib. He also learned the trick to getting plants to talk. The spot where the wind blew just right and rubbed the leaves the wrong way. They couldn’t resist.
He sat. His tree-girl followed with a graceful whump to the ground. A small landslide ensued, muddying the water. The truth reeds groaned into the breeze. They had a bit of OCD if he remembered correctly.
“What’s your name…er, genus?”
“Abutilon theophrasti Medik.” Her words swirled around him on a puff of wind.
Keep her talking. He turned on the charm. Lounged back with his feet crossed at the ankles. Let his knee gently nudge hers. A white flower bloomed under his touch and the tree-girl quivered. Her leaves tinkling. “Sounds sweet, but I’ve never been good with foreign languages.”
She trailed a leaf across his cheek and grinned. Can trees grin? “You can call me Velvet.”
The truth weeds rustled in disagreement.
Velvetleaf. The plant that engulfed Gran’s vegetable garden each year. He pushed Velvet’s branches away. “You’re a tree not a weed. Try again.”
Velvet stiffened indignantly. “I’m a weed.”
The reeds bowed to her truth. Which made sense. Invasive. Murdering. Weedy. Sucking the life from the countryside around it. Again he cursed his love for the Turkey Creek plant monster.
The bodyguard shifted heavily behind him. It’s leg-branch pushed on Jamie’s spine. Unlike Velvet’s more supple bulk, the bodyguard had leaves of steel. Impenetrable. Like the bleeding heart he manipulated for Gran so the dog wouldn’t break the fragile stalks.
What had he done with it–scratch that–to it? Crossed it with teflon. Created a bullet-proof plant.
Jamie groaned. What other childhood fancies would get in his way?
Beside him, Velvet shook gently. As if to pull him from his funk. Her leaves blossomed red, then pink and back to green. Flirting. ”I know.”
Holy crap! She could read his mind.
Please tune in to Kay Elam’s blog next week for the next chapter!
Readers, what do you think about blog novels? Does the week speed by because you have something to look forward to, or does the anticipation of a new chapter make it drag on forever?
Writers, how do you incorporate someone else’s voice, plot twists, characters and genre into your own style while maintaining the integrity of the story?
Curious minds want to know!
BloomTable of Contents
Click on the Chapter Number to be taken directly to the chapter you want!
- Chapter 1–Greenwoman
- Chapter 2–The Creativity Rebellion
- Chapter 3–Writer, Writer, Pants on Fire
- Chapter 4–Jello World
- Chapter 5–Report from a Fugitive
- Chapter 6–Words from the Woods
- Chapter 7–Kay Elam Writes
- Chapter 8–Kacey Vanderkarr
- Chapter 9–Inner Owlet
- Chapter 10–The Demeter Diaries
- Chapter 11–Tighty Writie
- Chapter 12–Suzanne Payne
- Chapter 13–Verbose Veracity
- Chapter 14–Jack-a-Dreams
- Chapter 15–Word by Word
- Chapter 16–In the Jungle
- Chapter 17–Greenwoman