Canto Thirty-Four – The Main Flower Garden
The five tadpoles and two Earther primate adults with the bodies of children were all together again, with a very concerned lizard-girl genius in the center of the circle lost in thought.
“I can’t answer for what the plant did,” Sizzahl said, shaking her head. “It should not have done what it did.”
Brekka was being held tightly between Tanith and Menolly, the slime was almost gone from her bare green skin, wiped off by a concerned George and an even more concerned Davalon.
“You mean it shouldn’t have eaten anybody?” asked Tanith.
“No. It shouldn’t have spit Brekka out.”
The tadpoles all glared, either at the plant, which was happily munching on the scabby it was eating, or at Sizzahl.
“What do you mean?” asked Gracie Morrell.
“It is an alien life form brought here by the wise ones and left behind when they returned to their home systems. It has never let anyone live before. It ate my father and the Great General Gohmurt as they fought over the fate of this very Bio-Dome. It has eaten every naked scabby that found its way in here, including the intruder tonight. I have never known it to spit anybody out.”
“How is that a problem?” asked Alden Morrell. “We have Brekka back safe and alive.”
“Well, yes… that is a very good thing. But it means we don’t know everything about what it will do next. Can it move about and eat us at will? Who will it eat, and who will it not eat? And can we learn why?”
“I can tell you that,” said Brekka.
“Really?” Sizzahl looked skeptical.
“Yes. It can speak inside my head now that its saliva has penetrated my skin.”
“What? Perhaps you are having a delusion caused by the trauma of nearly being eaten!”
“No, it’s true. He says that in the language of the people who put out the I Love Lucy television broadcasts he is named Lester. His other two blossoms are Thing One and Thing Two.”
Gracie bent over Brekka and put a concerned hand on her cheek. She looked into Brekka’s eyes. “Are you sure you weren’t dreaming?”
“It’s true. I can prove it. Lester, make Thing Two waggle its leaves.”
The blossom that was not munching the scabby wiggled all eight of its leaves in a way that reminded Davalon of how Earth people wave at one another. Everyone but Brekka gasped a tiny bit.
“Tell me more,” insisted Sizzahl. “Why didn’t Lester eat you?”
“Well, it’s kinda because I don’t taste very good.”
Menolly and George giggled at that, then both looked embarrassed.
“I mean,” said Brekka, “Tellerons are more amphibian in nature and not as warm blooded as Galtorrians and Earth people. He could happily eat Sizzahl and the Morrells, but Tellerons have a body-chemistry that could make him very sick. And besides… he’s been wanting to be able to communicate with Sizzahl for a very long time, and I gave him a way to do that… or, maybe, gave her a way to do that… I guess Lester is both a boy and a girl plant at the same time.”
“Me?” said Sizzahl. “Why did he want to talk to me?”
Brekka looked up at the blossom that had engulfed her. “He says he’s sorry that he ate your father. When he ate your father, he absorbed all of your father’s thoughts and feelings… as well as the General’s thoughts and feelings. He says he knows that your father was one of the good guys… not evil like Gohmurt.”
Sizzahl began to cry. Davalon had not been certain before that moment, but now he knew that Galtorrians could feel love and have emotions just like Tellerons… and Earthers. She was not the self-sufficient little super-genius she always seemed to be. She was an orphan who missed her parents.
“Will he eat me or the Morrells now?” Sizzahl asked.
“He’s determined not to,” said Brekka, “but don’t get too close and cause temptation. His blossoms get very hungry waiting for the next scabby to wander in.”
“Is he willing to help us in trying to save this planet?” asked Sizzahl, the tears drying up.
“Of course he will,” said Brekka. “He likes the plans your father had to re-make this world into a better place for all sorts of people. And he hates plant-destroyers like Gohmurt. He promises to eat all the scabbies he can in order to help you make your father’s dream come true.”