As I mentioned in my post yesterday – for those who missed it – the Chuck Wendig weekly flash fiction challenge was another story to be written from a randomly generated title. The words I ended up with for my title were orichalcum and orchid. So here it is, my story Orichalcum Orchid:
“I first saw one depicted on the Ara Pacis in Rome.”
“You saw what?”
“That is not the kind of orchid we’re looking for you simpleton.” Reesus shook his head at the ignorance of his companion. How had he been so cursed as to end up chaperoning this idiot?
“Really, because they are a beautiful plant.” Simon continued on with his thoughts.
“Yes, really. What we’re looking for is far more beautiful than any mere plant.”
Reesus trudged slowly beside the towering marble pillars forming the grand portal. Lush green vines cascaded in waves from atop and around the ancient columns. Hanging down to touch the tops of their heads, the vines were a nuisance and Reesus moved his muscled arm in a wide sweeping motion to push them from view and clear a path. He turned to glance momentarily at Simon who shuffled even slower while trying to take in the fragrant and overgrown flora surrounding their every step upon the forbidden land.
“Would you hurry up please?” Reesus could take no more delays. This trek had already taken too long. Days had passed quickly as their progress had been slowed by unforeseen storms sweeping violently across the barren plains. They had been forced to seek shelter in the nearby caves at the foot of the mountains. Snow had then fallen too heavily preventing their movement from the caves for several more days. He had begun to feel almost as if someone or something was deliberately trying to prevent their crossing.
“It’s just… ,” Simon paused, “I’ve never seen anything like it. The aroma, the vivid colors… the… life… here, it’s so unexpected.”
“Of course you’ve never seen anything like it. No human has. These lands are forbidden for a reason. If people knew they were real, knew they were more than just rumors… then these lands would cease to exist. People are monsters. It was humans that destroyed this planet, annihilated all life except themselves and now it seems even they are becoming extinct.
Isn’t that why you’re here? Aren’t you one of the last humans? Isn’t that why I’m guiding you through this hidden territory? You seek the orchid? That is what you told Nestar, that you seek the orchid?” Reesus was growing frustrated with the young man’s seeming lack of focus. It was one thing to escort an idiot but he could not in good conscience lead anyone lacking in purpose to the orchid.
“You know, you’re a real asshole,” Simon couldn’t ignore the anger brewing beneath the surface of Reesus’s statements about humankind. He had overlooked it until now but enough was enough, “Excuse me if I need a minute to take in the grandeur of nature surrounding me. I’m sorry I’ve never seen it before. I’m sorry I was born into the race that decimated this planet. I’m sorry you had to guide me to the orchid but guess what? I didn’t ask for this. I wasn’t the one who destroyed life on this planet. I was born well after that time period. I didn’t make the decisions that led to the extinction of humankind. I was born after that had begun as well. I didn’t even ask to take this journey. This path to the orchid, this pursuit, was forced upon me. It is my destiny. I cannot escape it. And it is your destiny to take me to the orchid so how about you do us both a favor and shut the hell up, quit your whining and just help me find the orchid so we can both get back to our lives.”
“What makes you think it is my destiny to lead you to the orchid?”
“Because you are the only one who knows where to find the Orichalcum Orchid and it is my destiny to find it and use it to save this world. Thus I conclude that it is your destiny to take me to it.”
“The Orichalcum Orchid is not an it. The Orchid is a she and it is she who chooses whether she wishes to be found, whether your cause is just and whether or not she will help. Even if you find her, you may still fail. Perhaps this world is not meant to be saved.”
Reesus looked ahead as he finished his words and saw the familiar shimmering golden light in the distance. Bathed in the warm golden glow, he led Simon toward the beautiful feminine form to determine the fate of their world.