Voices of the Seeds
A freight train roared and swiftly passed invisibly in the dark night. A distant loud boiling sounded from its diesel engine. Samantha’s tinged eyelashes fluttered brightly open. She was completely aware of the muddy ground and surface tremors underneath her. The ground felt peculiarly freezing as she lay heedful next to a decorative fountain’s luminous artificial glow, a wheelbarrow weighted by summer’s sunflower seeds harvest.
She turned her head forward and glowered in anguish, straight at the sky and the pedestal star Venus. She felt the blood running horizontally down her forehead in her deep pain. Puzzled by it, she tried to sit up, the pain unfolding like a child’s plastic pool.
“Where am I?” Samantha asked, now peering at the soft light of the luminous fountain. Her sight stretched into the spiral of spectral sunflowers waved in annoyance into the breeze.
She opened her aching fists, her thin fingers touching a stony stalk at thirty bases tall. Oh, it’s giant! Samantha thought. She was spooked by the stinging hairs on its stems. And the tremendous judder of its leaves.
Underneath the bold bowl of the frozen moon, the ground thumped, churned, and swung when the freight train’s gears shifted and struck. Unsettling a mass of yellow garden spiders. Pairs of them crawled onto her legs as the freight train’s wheels continued rolling on the unoiled rails. The gears striking were not close but fraught the voices in her head to attack. “Murderer, come sip a specially made drink. Vulture’s eggs, cobra’s blood, and pig’s hearts!”
Samantha breathed in the sinister smoke rising, which surrounded the railroad tracks. Tasted the rancid fire and felt her bruises swell across her slender arms. In a panic, she closed her eyes.
The flower heads, which drooped as if expired, appeared like circus funhouse mirrors. Their numerous blazing ray florets, laden with fruit, sparkled bizarrely, covering the amber moonlight. The nearly hundreds of spectral sunflowers lurched and pressed.
Samantha tried to roll her body on her side. She became very dizzy. A hallucination, she thought. They had often come after the voices. Dreadfully stunning pain was overtaking her that the sky appeared so close, shedding its dull stars and igniting the golden seeds of the sunflowers.
She reached and clutched the handles at the side of the fountain. The large fake wheelbarrow for support. She was almost able to sit up but dropped to the compact ground. The voices had begun to torment her again. They impelled her last known memories.
Her drive into the open country, the FM stereo playing a Clint Black song. Her pickup truck entered a curvy turn, grimly too fast. Its high beams had caught a small ghostly shadow that uncannily resembled her dead ten-year-old daughter, Austria. The girl walked with an oddly familiar joyful smile right toward her on the darkened road.
In error, Samantha swerved. Never sighted the abandoned mini freezer on the opposite lane. Until she pounded right into it. The truck spun and rolled, taping gray streaks from the wide truck tires. Then the music went terribly silent. Samantha was thrown out of the front windshield into an expansive spiral of spectral sunflowers.
She yelled at all the voices, “I regret killing her. My lovely daughter. Don’t damn me!” Her voice was carried off by a strengthened wind that swirled outward, just like the pattern of the sunflowers, beyond some shortened cornrows that had also caught fire.
Samantha tried again to sit up and rise, except the spasms were too excruciating to permit. She gently slapped her palms on her aching forehead, hysterically sobbing. The freight train’s horn whistled as if, too, in belated mourning.
She absorbed all the nasty voices with the brushed shame that appalled her. The gruesome blood she scooped with her dry tongue and swallowed with a few stray sunflower seeds as self-punishment.
She was so aghast that she barely noticed the smell of toxic smoke from the pickup truck’s full-grain leather seats. Like slugs of demons, a tower of monstrous flames crept continuously toward her.
Samantha shuddered. The fire’s hot intensity was rapid, almost glutenous. It already consumed most numbers of the sunflower stalks. Eerily yielded around the luminous wheelbarrow and its tiny pool of water.
Some hellish flames jumped, guided by the bittersweet oil of disk florets laden with rich seeds. Samantha closed her eyes briefly again, and her faith dissolved. A dying sunflower crawling with weevils, ants, and beetles collapsed on top of her.
“Mother, Mother!” Samantha heard Austria’s haunted call just before the treacherous flames enclosed and strangled her.
The first fire engine sent was still ten miles away.