The day the Dandelions come always starts with a pregnant silence that envelops the whole town. Nobody talks much, except for a few short exchanges between the Leaver and a Mourner. Everybody is a Mourner, since nobody wants to see the Leaver go and never come back, even if they don't know that person. It was always sad.
But today, nobody had even seen the Peter the Leaver. The town searched for him, everywhere but his hut. He was nowhere in sight. After a few second looks Clyde and some other villagers decided to look inside his home. And they were going there right then.
Clyde was within the group, toward the center. He was still exhausted from yesterday, but he didn't just want to sit back and not help, thoughts of his own sentence whirling in his head. He would want people to come looking for him, to give him company. To be surrounded by friends and the leftovers of his family. He wouldn't want to be left to grieve in the dark, no caring people around him. That was definitely not what he wanted when it was his turn.
Soon Peter's hut was right in front of them, all the windows in the hut had mud shoved into them, as if in a hurry. Large clumps stuck out in random directions, and some grass shoots were visible in the orange colored dirt. In one place it looked like it was caving in a little bit, and you could almost see through the area is you squinted your eyes.
One of the people in the front of the small group stepped forward and nudged at the door, it didn't even budge. With a grunt, him and two other people shoved it, and the door landed with a crash onto the floor of the hut.
An odd smell wafted out of the hut, but Clyde couldn't lay his finger on it. The whole interior was dim, omitting the stream of light that fell right over the door. The three who pushed the door open stepped into the studio first, two male, one female.
Almost the second they stepped in the girl screamed and backed out of the house, a look of horror on her face, and it drained of color; the guys merely stiffened up, letting a soft gasp hiss through their teeth as they did so. The other girl in the group rushed over, trying to sooth her and get what she saw out of her.
Clyde, the last of the group, stepped into the house cautiously, curiosity getting the best of him. Plus, what could be worse than having to go against the Plants?
He nearly retched at the sight that greeted him, hands going up as if to defend himself against what his mind was showing him. Eyes wide, he couldn't seem to look away from the four bodies lying on the couch, their forms covered in blood which stained the rough fabric and dripped to the dirt floor, making puddles of magenta. Now that he was inside the house he could make out the smell. The air was filled with the stench of decay and steaming flesh, with a tint of salty metallic. It hung over everyone like a weight, trying to suffocate them with its pressure.
Lucia had slept in that morning, on accident. When she woke up, there was a loud commotion just outside her hut, and the room was completely empty. The one other hard bed was empty, signaling that her one family member was outside, trying to figure out what was going on beyond the walls of their home.
Sitting up and stretching, she tried to get a glance outside through the hole in the wall. Bright orange beams streamed through, showing that it was just before noon. There weren't people standing within her line of vision, so she stood up and walked out, letting the sun's warmth seep into her skin. The voices came from the direction of the town square and, from where she was, she could see a few dark, fuzzy heads in the distance.
After a few heartbeats of standing she jogged over to the square, questions forming. The Leaving doesn't start until well after noon, not 'till evening, so why were there people already gathered? Did the Dandelions come sooner than usual? Did they find the paintings!? That thought nearly made her skid to a stop and run the other way, but she had to find out the answer. So she kept going, faster this time.
By the time Lucia arrived at the clearing, a deadly silence had fallen as the handful of people that lived in this small town stared at the collection of bodies on the ground. She walked around the circle of people to find an opening and, once she did, squeezed in to see for herself.
Her body froze, and a feeling of dread made its way into her heart. There were three toddlers lying next to Peter, their bodies laid out so that their hands were clutching one another. A few moments passed, and the tears that she had forced away for so long finally came bubbling up, flowing down her cheeks in rivers. Waterfalls of sorrow.
It wasn't until now that she realized how horrible it must feel to be sentenced. She didn't know it would make people mad enough kill themselves. And their children.
A small, child-like voice spoke, one that was slightly high pitched.
She looked down to see her little sister, Briana. The little girl was staring up at her, confusion clear on her innocent face.
"Why are they like that? The people. Why are they on the ground? Why don't get up?"
She was too young to understand death, she was only four.
How could those questions be answered, without scaring this little kid for life?
Lucia shook her head, so slowly. "They're asleep." That was all she could think of as she leaned down and pulled her little sister into a hug and didn't let go, salted liquid still running down from her eyes. "They'll be asleep for a long time," she added a while later, feeling her sister's small hands grip her shirt. Then she leaned her head down and let herself cry for the first time...
Sorry Peter, but you had to die. Though you did the right thing :'( I wouldn't want to live like that.