Nurturers & Destructors is a serialized novel, created during the 2021 A2Z Challenge hosted by Blogchatter
“I am not sure what happened, but I just touched this sky flower and then it… it… grew, died and grew a bud in a moment!”, Jill screamed in a high pitched voice pointing at an innocent looking sky flower plant that seemed to have just sprouted a solitary bud, a little late for spring. Her curls were all over the place, her face ashen and her forehead, beaded with sweat. Grandpa Mike beamed at her with pride before Aunt Emma scooped her up and left for home with a hurried round of “goodbye”s and “thank you”s.
Zacharia on the other hand, was quite unperturbed considering what had just happened and was instead looking at the plant with mild interest, apparently waiting for it to repeat the phenomenon again. “Well, looks like our work here is done”, said Mike with a smug smile at Jeremiah, and continued, “You have a bit of task at hand and I guess we will leave you to it.” Jeremiah just meekly nodded, while Deborah continued to clutch the edge of the table for support. Her usual cheery, almond shaped face was marred by panicking eyes that belied the calm that Jeremiah was trying to project.
Sending Deborah back downstairs, Jeremiah took a big breath and said, “I know this all might have been a little confusing for you and that you might have questions and want to understand what just happened. We realize that and we will be waiting downstairs, once you are ready.” Apparently pleased with his effort, Jeremiah gave himself a little nod and followed Deborah back down the stairs.
A wry smile broke across Zacharia’s face as he watched his parents’ retreating backs. Once he heard them pass the second last step on the staircase that creaked just enough for him to hear, he turned his attention back towards the plant. Jill had to touch the plant to… awaken it and make it grow. Keeping his gaze steady on the plant, he raised his hand and pointed at the flower.
There was a slight glow in his eyes as the sky flower’s bud bloomed a little more and started opening it’s petals.
Satisfied with how the flower looked now, he went down to hear the explanation of why this was such a big deal.
As Jeremiah heard Zacharia tumble down the stairs, he just held Deborah closer. As much as he would have liked not to have to do this, like Mike said, deep down in his heart, he knew it was coming, sooner or later. This just wasn’t the way he expected it to have happened.
Once Zacharia had settled in his bean bag chair in the corner, Jeremiah seemed content with peering at him, as though expecting to see him break into a little jig or a song. And as usual, Deborah knew that the onus was on her, to understand.
“So, what do you think, Zacharia?”, she ventured. Zacharia’s face was suddenly lit with mischief as he asked, “What do I think… about what? The party?” and he allowed himself a little grin, which quickly slid off his face as his mother pursed her lips and her eyes became little slits behind her glasses. She said, “You know what we are talking about. About Jill and the plant… Why do you think that happened?”
“Oh, I don’t know. But I do have a few possible explanations. Maybe she got her letter from Hogwarts already. Or I must have been hallucinating. But then we wouldn’t have this conversation… unless, we are all hallucinating. Or I must be still hallucinating. Or our house must be haunted. Did anyone die during the building of this house? Or perhaps when they were decorating my room? Or was it the Devil’s Snare?”, Zacharia went on. Jeremiah just shook his head as though to clear some cobwebs hanging around and asked, “What exactly do you mean by the Devil’s hair?”
“The Devil’s Snare, dad. The Devil’s Snare. It’s a magical potted plant that ensnares those who touch it, and like…” Zacharia explained. Still shaking his head, Jeremiah asked, “Am I right in assuming that this magical plant was featured in Harry Potter?”
Having had enough and rolling her eyes at the enthusiastically nodding Zacharia, Deborah replied, “Yes. So was the letter from Hogwarts. I told you then itself that we let him read Harry Potter way too early. Okay, so, no, that plant which is in your room is an innocent potted plant. It’s not the Devil’s Snare and it wasn’t ensnaring anyone.” Zacharia interrupted, “But it moved and grew when… ”
Deborah screamed, “LET. ME. FINISH.” and there was a sudden silence and a cold stillness in the small living room. Then she took a deep breath and continued with a strained voice, “There was no magic and that was no magical plant. Jill controlled the plant, but since her focus wasn’t steady, the plant couldn’t decide on it’s final form and hence kept metamorphosing. Do you understand?”
For a change, Zacharia was quiet. Hesitantly, Jeremiah said in a weak voice, “Umm, Debbie dear, I kind of know the big picture here, but when it comes to things like, uhh… meta-murphy… maybe you could make it a little more simpler so that even I can follow?”