Author: Kelian Quinn
It certainly was some kind of plant. Maybe.
I’d gone out to water the small garden my apartment complex had allowed me to have, hoping that I would find something other than dandelions this morning. Even if I didn’t, any moment away from my roommate was a moment I cherished.
It sat at the edge of the dirt patch I’d tried to get flowers to sprout out of. Even if I didn’t have a green thumb, Dan drunkenly rolling in them one night definitely hadn’t helped.
I thought it was a fake plant at first. It was green, like most plants, but a shade that was… wrong. A little too saturated, a little too glowy. There were blooms of sorts, but they weren’t so much petals as giant, mushroom-like bulbs that flayed out in inconsistent ways, some rounded, some spiked.
It wasn’t in the ground, and it wasn’t in a pot. And most significantly of all, it was moving.
The tentacle-like tendrils beneath it writhed slowly. It shifted in place, as if this was its idle animation.
Just in case it was poisonous, I put on my gloves before grabbing a bucket. I then did my best to shove it into said bucket, wondering too late if I also should have put a mask on in case it released dangerous spores.
I carried what I was sure was an alien plant inside, freaking out the entire time. I set the bucket down in my room, adjusting my desk lamp over it. The plant-creature shied away from the light, trying to climb up the side of the bucket. I noticed for the first time it had eyes on its stalk, about eight, like a spider.
There was a pounding at my door. The plant shuddered, petals folding in.
“What is it, Dan?” I shouted back.
“Can I borrow your car?”
“No, you can’t borrow my car! What happened to yours?”
“There’s this weird plant growth coming out of the engine! Wriggly vine things! It’s freaky, man!”
“For real!” My door burst open, Dan tromping in with his muddy boots he refused to take off in the house. “They’re all over the goddamn complex, except for your car, for some reason! Maybe it’s because you drive an electric, and they’re after gas.”
“Dan, that’s about the smartest thing you’ve ever said.” I stood up, going into my closet. I removed the container of gasoline I kept in case I decided to snap and burn the place down, bringing it over to my plant friend. I started to pour some in.
The plant blossom immediately popped open, a tongue-like appendage darting out to rapidly lap up the gasoline.
“Check this out,” I said, tilting the bucket toward Dan.
He squinted, leaning in. “I don’t have my contacts in, I can’t—”
The plant creature let out a horrible, shrill sound, launching itself at Dan’s face.
I watched as Dan collapsed on the ground, screaming as the creature jabbed several tendrils into his eyes and neck. His body started to shrivel, and I realized the plant was sucking the blood out of him.
After about thirty seconds, Dan stopped moving. I got up, hitting his shoulder with my foot. I was no doctor, but if I had to guess, he was gone.
I turned to the plant, which blinked innocently at me with its eight eyes.
I smiled at it. “Well, you’re one plant I think I can take care of just fine!”