"What's this one?" Kevin asked the florist. She took the leafy potted plant and set it on the counter. Its blossoms and bulbs swung 'round to face him and he took his first good look the plant.

"This one's just in from South America," she said, "It's a new kind of plant created from crossbreedings between roses, daisies, and tomato plants."

Sure enough, the florist was right. The green vines that sprouted from the soil contained the blossoms of both types of flowers plus some small rainbow-colored bulbs.

"So these tomato-looking things, they're edible?"

"Well, I guess but I don't think you'd want to eat one. The plant looks beautiful on the outside thanks to its multicolored petals and pleasant scent, but on the inside the bulbs are soggy and mushy. I cut one open myself to see."

"So, no sandwiches?"

"No sandwiches," she said. "I should warn you, it doesn't play well with other plants."

"What do you mean? Does it go all Little Shop of Horrors on other flowers?"

"Not actively, but its pollen seems to be poisonous to any other plants in the surrounding area. In fact, I was just about to take it out back and burn it. It's killing my other products."

"What? This is just what I need to brighten up my place and I don't have any other plants. How much?"

"Just take it. Like I said, I was going to burn it to get it out of here."

Kevin took a scrap of paper from the counter and scribbled down his phone number. "If you find out anything else about it, call me."

After thanking the florist Kevin took the little plant home to his apartment, setting it on the counter by the window and then giving it some water. He took a big whiff of the fragrant blossoms, eager to get a noseful of the sweet scent. His eyes shot open; he felt like he had enough energy to battle an army barehanded and possibly win. "Wow," he exclaimed, feeling more alive than ever before. He also found that he felt hungrier than ever before, so he took some leftover cake from the fridge and grabbed a knife to cut off a slice. Still full of vigor, he took the knife and practiced some fake stabs in the air, winging the knife all around with amazing precision. During one maneuver he accidentially came a little too close to his face and felt the blade slice right against his cheek. He screamed in pain, but the realized there was no pain to scream about. "Holy shit," he said as he looked at the knife: the blade had no blood on it, but it did look like someone had beaten the hell out of it. Little nicks and imperfections now graced the blade. Catching his reflection in the mirror he saw there was no wound on his face, no blood gushing down his neck. In the battle of man versus knife, the knife had lost.

Kevin took another knife from the drawer and tentitavely scratched at his thumb. Once again the knife bent first in the battle of wills and dulled as he dragged it across his finger. He smiled wildly as he went through knife after knife, each time trying to cut his hand and failing to cause any damage to anything but the blades. After ruining nearly all the knives, Kevin's attention turned back to the plant. If a whiff of the pollen can make me invulnerable to little knives, what would eating a bulb do? he wondered, and before long he was chomping into one of the little fruits from the plant. "Blegh," he spat while chewing. It tasted horribly bitter and sour, but if it would grant him greater invincibility then he would have eaten a full meal composed of the little growths. Swallowing the last vile bite, Kevin took the meat cleaver from the drawer and stood in front of the mirror, wanting to watch his impervious skin in action this time. He held the blade to his neck and did a few practice swings, each time stopping the cleaver before it made contact with his neck. Finally, just as the phone began to ring, he took a mighty swing, shouted "I'm invincible!", and slammed the blade against his neck as hard as he could swing it.

The phone rang once.... twice.... three times before the answering machine picked up. After the recorded greeting came the message: "Hello, this is Mary from Blossoms & Bulbs Flower Shop. I found out some more information about that plant. It's called the primula dendranthema lycopersicon and it contains high levels of Pasithean. It turns out that it's pollen and bulbs are powerful narcotics. It causes strong hallucinations and deadens nerves in the hands and face. If you bring it back to the store, I'll destroy it for you; you really don't want to keep it around. Please call as soon as you get this message."




Written for The Blood is the Life: A Frightful Halloween Quest.

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