Mina Entry 11

5th Mo.—4th D.

I didn't mean to! Droidy, I was just looking for the guy and then all of a sudden I'm standing in a surreal paradise world and he's there behind me with a presence that could scare ancient spirits out of their high security tombs and he's angry again and probably won't ever speak to me and it's like nothing I ever do is right!

How can I even… Where do I start? This is so horrible. My heart's thumping like an incessant prog-drum, making the rest of me quiver. Breathe. Breathe slowly, Mina. Snippets and sausage, snippets and sausage....

Okay.

I was idling again so I called on PAM to locate Payne for me. She fritzed, then spewed some nonsense about being busy or my request being riddled with errors. She's never done that before, so I went to find Payne myself and tell him PAM is broken and the only useful thing she's ever done is now obsolete. Starting from the last place I'd scoped him from, I worked my way up.

The tower wasn't locked.

Don't ask me what led me to check it. Maybe subconsciously I was heading towards the scary old square room to look at the piecey digits again and took a wrong turn. Maybe I connected PAM's spazzing to the only place in the castle that's totally off limits.

Maybe I just have a knack for doing the worst things imaginable with the most innocent of intentions.

I jumped when the door shushed open.

My foot pressed on something not so solid and a lot squishy. I brought it back, stunned at the sight of grass growing all around the disc shaped floor. An outer border two feet wide was filled with soil. Expensive park soil, to be exact. The flowering bushes sprouting from the border choked out coherent thought with the blatant fact of their existence. And the smell! Oh, the smell! Heavenly! Not thick or drowsy like sticky summer heat, but the fresh clean essence of a spring with plenty of showers.

Sunshine spilled from a dome skylight above. The room was so warm, the sensation of it heightened from the cold without. I would have taken off some extra clothing to bathe my arms in the happy glow, but I had nowhere to put my wrap. The elements all worked together to make the most peaceful place I'd ever been in, or even visualized. But I wasn't in a dreamy, restful state. I was bristling with excitement!

And the most miraculous things of all were the roses.

Roses are endangered. They've almost totally disappeared. After The Naming, gardeners and botanists alike were distraught to find them so rare. Giving someone a rose is the highest form of showing affection, and in the scheme of roses, "affection" sounds like a cheap word. One rose often takes months to track down, and once you've found a seller, good luck working to afford it. Roses aren't a flower a girl gets from a casual seeking. A rose means much more. So much that they've become another language in and of themselves. I don't even know why I'm trying to explain the value and worth of them. It's incomprehensible. But there is no lack of them in the tower.

They're everywhere. A scattering of tiny buds here, a grouping of matured blossoms there; sturdy green leaflets with delicate looking veins running under and over the remarkable flowers, threatening to engulf the invisible lattices to make them true to their name, almost concealing even the dirt they grew from.

The center of the disc floor is an opening, circling downward; a spiral stairway to more discs of similar wonder. My ears were blessed by the tinkling of a perfect sing-song rainfall as water runs ceaselessly down the walls from spouts near the top.

The hollow glass pillar between the circle of steps has a tree growing out of it. Must be tree and roots and soil straight down to the bottom. I know that tree from a course on plant life and one of that age is never shorter than two stories high.

For obvious reasons, I had never seen a rose in park or garden, alive and so heartbreakingly near me; near enough to smell, even to touch if I wanted! They deserve every bit of praise all those poets heap upon them. The petals enfold one another like joined hands, cupping each new one tighter and tighter until they all squeeze close into a fisted center. Some are puffs, almost symmetrical in design, while others reject such patterns and burst in shapes that spike or swirl in mad, chaotic elegance.

The multitude of colors was astounding, like the whiteness of the castle forced the tower to overcompensate, vacuuming all the color to its roses. Dapper yellow, melted cream, lusty pink, silly peach, glaring white, cumbersome orange, opera red, screaming magenta, and every one nestled in varying greens—you could fill a whole room with lists upon lists of colors to be named.

I had to know what they felt like. One of the purple ones was too brilliant to be real. I knelt a bit and brushed the outer part of a petal with my thumb. Not satisfied, I pinched another petal, rubbing it between my fingers.

They're soft as new skin but unexpectedly sturdy. Delicate, but strong. No comparison to everlasting bloomers; flimsy little things on lifeless stems. I was so well basking in the rose that I didn't register the gasp from behind until in two blinks more I was being dragged backwards by my arm.

"GET OUT! What are you doing!?"

He put himself in front of the roses, reached out to them, twisted around and held his arms out like he was trying to protect the flowers with as much of his body as was possible.

"Did you touch anything? What did you touch?" He was straddling the border of stuff-throwing and angst-sobbing. Charish looked just that way after Shae slapped her once.

"Nothing! Just the rose there. I had to know…" He went to look over every inch of the room. Of course he wouldn't take my word for it.

"It is a rose, isn't it? A real rose...

"I didn't touch anything except the purple one. I didn't hurt or upset a thing, I promise!"

"You upset me! You're always upsetting me! Not a day goes by when you're not ruining my day by some newly devised nonsense. The noise and the pestering I can handle up to a point, but this is absolutely the last link. I said you could explore to stay out of my way, but it's evident you're not clever enough to pick up on that and leave me alone.

"Get out. Now."

There was nothing I could do that wouldn't make things worse, so I did what he said as swiftly and silently as possible.

I'm so sorry, Payne. I'm so sorry…

I'm such a plank brain.

I feel like a criminal. There's no way I'll stop punishing myself until he forgives me.


A/N: This looks short. It felt so much longer when I was writing it. It may be expanded in the future, but for now I feel no need to force myself to write extras that aren't inspired. No, I'm not telling anyone what "The Naming" is yet. You'll have to stick around.

I could have sworn "piecey" was a word, but maybe it's been coined from frequent attempts to describe how I want my bangs cut to the hairdressers. I'm not too worried about it. This whole story is full of coinage.

...I've also noticed that I can never keep my Author's Notes in the same format. :P Oh well.

Are you all DYING for the next Payne chapter!??! (Never mind, you don't have to lie. xP)