Part 16: Haunted
Kamui's out late.
That reminds me. Mieli! Yumil doesn't think flowers have meanings.
Well that's silly. Of course they do. What's wrong with you?
Okay. A florist got drunk, went through his inventory and wrote down whatever rubbish came into his head. If you two want to put stock in that, fine. I don't.
That's not how it happened.
It's exactly how it happened. It's a business ploy. That's it.
You're arguing with me about plants. Me.
...what about you?
I'm the spirit of the forest. Who are you, exactly?
The book? Not great, but I'm getting started.
Hm. Just wait for...middle. That's, that's hard. The middle. Hardest part.
You have to go.
Am I bothering you?
No. No. Have to go in the story.
Writing...at the start, know the ending. Have to go. Have to get there. Hardest part.
I did some more flowers if you want to see them.
Forest Drop. Symbolises joy.
Forest Drop. Joy.
Let me just say that I am not, nor have I ever met a drunk florist.
That was a fluke.
Keep going, then.
Pagoda. Naive charm.
Naive charm! Ooh, he's good.
He echoed Mieli's words as perfectly as if he'd heard them, identifying every flower without fail, besieging me with trivia about their habitats, life cycles, uses in herbalism. Not once did the smile leave his face, not once did he have to stop to gather his words. Keeping up was such a struggle, my scribbling was near illegible.
I think I may be in love.
Alright, I have to ask. Where do you get all these from?
The meanings. The flower meanings. Is there a book about them? Poems?
I know them. Pagoda, naive charm.
Okay, but how? Where did you learn them from?
I...look. Just look. See them. Forest Drop, joy. I know them.
What do you mean? You didn't read about them? Nobody told you? How can you just know?
Breathing...no book about breathing. Just breathing. Just know.
No book about flowers. Just flowers. Just know. Have to know first, then there's a book.
So were they all flukes, then?
Yeah, tell us the score, oh wise one.
Hey! We're trying to gloat here! Pay attention!
Are we going?
I'll be inside.
What are you doing out so late? You need to get home.
'Cause everyone's ignoring me still. I don't like them anymore.
They won't even tell me why. I must've done something really bad.
No. You didn't. You're a good girl.
Then why? Do you know?
I made a promise to you, didn't I? Do you remember?
Yeah, you did! You promised to show me your book!
If I do that, will you go home afterwards? You shouldn't be outside by yourself at night. Even if people are ignoring you.
Seeing her own page immediately brought back the bubbly, bouncing Meenya I preferred. She said she felt like she was famous now, because someone had written about her.
She wanted to see how it worked, so I scanned some nearby grass to demonstrate. In doing so, I doomed myself. The path to that dusty old house soon became the most well-documented location in all Kaleila as I was forced to smash the book on every rock, every weed, every tree, insect and piece of debris.
I know now, of course, that it wasn't her interest in loose paving stones keeping me tethered. It was her loneliness. She wanted to prolong the company of the one person in the world who still acknowledged her.
I can only be grateful I wasn't wise enough to see that at the time. When I insisted that I had to leave, watching her shuffle away with her head hung low was trial enough.
You should really think about telling her.
How am I supposed to tell a girl that age she's dead?
If she doesn't know already, she's not going to believe me. What do I do then? Do I show her the grave? She'll probably say it's a different Meenya, like you did. Then what? I suppose I'll dig up her corpse. How much do you want me to traumatise her, exactly?
Do you think knowing you're dead is better or worse than thinking everyone you love is pretending you don't exist?
I dunno. That's why I'm saying you need to think about it. It's your decision.
I wish it wasn't.
WHAT IS THIS
I AM SAD NOW