A story I’ve had on my mind for a while, hopefully will be able to close it out before next week!
Day 58: The Wishing Flower Part 1
“Time is running out for your sister. I’m afraid all we can do now for her is pray for her to pass into the next life painlessly.”
No… I cannot believe this. I can’t lose someone else. Not again, not so soon. What kind of God would allow for a fate so cruel…
As I want to well-up in tears and my body begins to shake, I take every fiber of my being to hold this wave of emotions back. I can’t cry in front of Aiyanna, it would make her lose hope too. And I don’t want to give up… but I don’t know what to do either.
This plague, this illness, they call it the Entombing. A grey spot on the back of the victim’s neck take root, and slowly starts to expand across the body. The grey tones turn the skin there to stone, and slowly but surely works it way across the body and within. There is no known cure for this epidemic, and no clear reason why it even forms in the first place. Eventually the weight of the stone becomes too much to bear, and the victim slowly suffocates to death.
The Sister noticed my lock-up on the spot, and proceeded to stroke my hair in an attempt to comfort me.
“I know you must be feeling a great multitude of things, Kurasa. But death, like many things, is one of the great truths that must pass for all. I’m sorry you had to be the next recipient, but have faith in our Lord’s plan. He knows what’s best.”
—— As my mind is in a complete haze, I try my best to focus on the daily tasks at hand. Walking back from the market with today’s groceries in hand, I again pick the ingredients to form one of Aiyanna’s favorite meals. These ingredients cost quite the coin, but with almost nothing I can do to ease Aiyanna’s suffering, I focus my efforts on what I can do. Today I walk especially slow back to the monastery we call home; my dad left us shortly after the birth of Aiyanna for another floozy, and my mom worked herself to death to try and raise us on her own. We were lucky to even have someone take us in so young. A lot of other kids have nowhere to turn to when they lose their parents.
As I gaze purposelessly at the sky, my ears perk up.
“I’m telling yous, it’s real! I’ve seent it with me own eyes! The Amate tree, it’s down in the valley where Sakura blossoms flower!”
My jaw drops. The Amate tree of legend? I rush over to the man speaking without a second thought.
“I told yalls, I was taking the scenic route back from working the mountains, and there it was! Glowin’ in the morning light, I had ter get closer to inspect. And boy howdy, it sure was the Amate tree!”
The group of men he was addressing look unamused. One spoke up:
“So… you saw the Amate tree, and you didn’t get your wish granted? Are you sure you got everything working upstairs?”
“Ya’lls knows dem risks. You touch the flower with yer dirty mitts, and ya loose ur soul! I tried my upmost to get even one of dem pretties with me extra shirt, but juuuust as I turned to get up, there he was!!!”
A silence fills the air.
The man stares back blankly, then cuts back to reality.
“Oh, yems. The diablo himself! Ain’t yall knows that the devil is in dem trees! Miracles come at a price yous knows. And I suree do like living, I tell you hwat. So I drop muh pickings and scurried on back to town to tell yalls to NOT go into the valley. Ya hear?”
The leading questionnaire just shakes his head dismissively, and soon the group disperses. Everyone leaves but me and the original man in question.
“Glad yous here, missy! You can go and tell the priest that the valley is off limits, he’ll be sure to tell his peoples, too!”
This is it. My only chance. I barely believe in fables, but I do believe in my sister. So I press the question:
“S-Sir, thank you for the warning, but I’m actually part of the exorcism team at the monastery. They told me to address issues as soon as I hear them, because it might be too late if I run to go and tell the priest. C-can you tell me which the Amate tree is?”
I couldn’t believe the words coming out of my mouth. I hardly ever talked to strangers because I so afraid to do, yet here I was, claiming to be part of some special spirit team tasked with eliminating the enemies of God in this world. The Amate tree of legend appears once per year, in a random location with no rhyme or reason, and would soon disappear as the clock strikes midnight. It was already late afternoon, and I was running short on time if I were even to believe in this ludicrous legend.
“Oh, yous is one of dem ex-or-teeths, Missy? By gawd, I’d never dink they’d train a fraidy-cat like you. But if you saids yous is one of dems, sure. Just take the path up the mountain behind me, and you’ll see the valley before a jackrabbit jumps to the moon!”
Completely ignoring the last nonsensical sentence uttered by the man, I nodded in gratitude and ran. I dropped the groceries that spent me weeks to save up and purchase, and ran up the mountain like there wasn’t going to be a tomorrow. I wasn’t the most athletic villager, but between my panting for breath, I kept going. I ignored every fiber of my body screaming for me to stop, because I knew if I did, I would never make it to the Amate tree in time.
The late afternoon sky quietly turned from orange to purple, and soon the moon began to shine in the cool night air.
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