A/N: yes it’s still a very short story… and getting shorter
In the days after, I wondered if I had eaten a seed at all.
I had not grown roots, there was no moss clinging to my skin and no leaves growing out of my ears. I was still mobile and very much human. To every one else it was another Tuesday but with every step I took I felt like the world underneath me would crack and I would soon be consumed by the truth.
And while I waited for my impending doom, I hid more parts of myself. I made excuses for my withdrawn and reserved nature and avoided long conversations and deep gazes. I couldn’t deal with everyone treating me like I was normal when I wasn’t. I wasn’t what they thought I was and I wasn’t anything like my reflection in the mirror. At night I sat alone in my closet counting my breaths, scared because one of them would soon be my last.
I avoided Linda’s garden after that. I didn’t have to force myself really, I just had to. My breath hitched in my throat and my heart dropped every time I even thought of it. I spent weeks pushing it out of my mind and all other thoughts of fruit. That’s another thing, I couldn’t eat fruit after that day. I choked on vegetables as I swallowed down my mother’s cooking, praying she wouldn’t ask me why I refused to try her smoothies or fruit salads.
Fruit made me break out in a sweat. I was sure that if I ate another one, everyone would know. Somehow they would all find out that I swallowed a seed.
Or maybe I didn’t, who could honestly say?
It was a comforting thought that morning as I pulled my hair away from my face and splashed the cold water against my skin. I had learned new things about children who swallow seeds in the days that passed. I learned that you start to develop an excessive taste for fruit and it’s easy to find yourself lost in very strange thoughts. I learned that you start lying more and hiding things and it all feels unnecessary and ridiculous but important at the same time. I feel like I’m holding Pandora’s box but every one around me just shrugs and carries on.
Also I don’t sound the same.
No-one has noticed for some reason, but my voice definitely broke and it has taken on a new timbre. I don’t recognise myself when I’m compelled to speak, but everyone… does? I don’t like this, it feels too fragile. It keeps me up at night, the fear that when I let my guard down everything will come apart.
That morning, I got dressed. The sky was crystal clear and the sun felt warm as it streamed in through my window. The air was light and a fragrant smell captivated me from the kitchen. It was the safest I had felt in months. I went downstairs expecting to be swept up in the chaos of my household, but there was nothing. No shrills or screams, no nagging or fighting or loud laughing held back through mouths stuffed with food. The living room was empty and the floors were clean, the kind of clean that is usually unsettling. In the dining room there was a selection of breakfast foods; croissants, cereal, devilled eggs, oatmeal and in the middle a great big dish of fruit. A colourful display that was too impeccable to look away.
Did I mention the house was empty? I had no reason to take comfort in this for any reason but I wasn’t thinking about that when I approached the bowl and peeked. I just peeked.
I don’t even remember anything after that. But I must admit that I do remember hastily washing off multiple streaks of pigment from my cheeks and hands and the bowl was mysteriously empty. I wonder about that still, because they couldn’t have been gone that long. There was so much fruit in there… I couldn’t have eaten it all. More importantly, there were no seeds to be found, not in the bowl, not on the floor, and not in the trash. I wonder about that still.
And after, there really wasn’t much to say. There were leaves falling out of my hair when I scratched my scalp, sticky sap in my tissues instead of snot when I blew my nose and a strange rigidness in my joints. I had a limited number of days to figure out what my next move would be, but even some things can’t be ascertained.
And my days fizzled out when they found me, sleepy-eyed and half-delirious, lying in a bed of leaves, branches and twigs.