Wednesday, April 27, 2005


Nelson was out collecting butterflies. It must have been obvious because the girl in the bushes asked him just that. "Are you collecting butterflies?" her voice drifted to his ears, permeating his consciousness, leaving a sweet aftertaste like honey yet to be.

"Yes," he answered, his eyes lingering for an awkward moment of silence while the girl simply continued smiling at him. He nervously tugged at his net.

"The butterflies went that way," she said, pointing.

Another awkward silence ensued. Though she never stopped smiling, he felt he had been dismissed, so he turned to continue his hunt. "Bring one back for me," he heard her call after him from behind. She raised her voice slightly to add, "Please?"

Nelson could hardly concentrate on the butterflies. All the while he pondered the girl among the sweet azaleas, a girl whose smile induced a strange intoxication in his brain. He thought he saw her afterimage each time he blinked his eyes in the bright sunlight. The monarchs and the morning cloaks and the red admirals he had come to love appeared especially elusive today, always flitting away when he was ready to pounce. Finally, a vanessa cardui, that species known as the painted lady, fairly flew into his net, as if guided by intellect. Without hesitation he knew he would give it to the girl, certain that his token of chivalry would charm her over to him. And so he returned to her. In an instant the captured creature hopped from the net, arced, wings flapping, into the air. It lit in the girl's cupped hands. She brought it up close to her face and inhaled a deep, savoring breath. Her tongue extended as if to meet the passively waiting creature. Then she turned so he could not see what occurred, yet the slurping sound he perceived was quite distinct. A few moments later she released the butterfly into the air and turned to meet Nelson's horrified gaze.

"It's so nice to be pollinated," she said to him, but he couldn't respond. "You didn't know, did you?" she went on, her smile never waning. "I'm part of the flowers."

Story #205

Postscript (March 2, 2008):

The Danish artist Tabita has drawn a wonderful illustration for this story.

13 comments:

The Mushroom said...

Crust... why don't MY azalias look like that? I feed them, I water them, yet they don't produce such beauty. Or so many flowers, either.

Indeterminacy said...

So they're azalias! Thanks for telling me. I'm just not a flower guy. I like to look at them but I can't remember their names.

turboslut said...

Great story :)

Indeterminacy said...

Thank you turboslut!

alix said...

yes, they are azaleas, and BIG ones at that! i loved the story, but i AM partial to flower nymphs and all that. ever look at monet's nymphette du soir and see the floating chick?

mushroom, if you want them to look like that, ignore them. that's what i do...and they bloom in my neglect.

Indeterminacy said...

Alix: Wish I could give you a big bunch of Azaleas right now. Thanks for the compliment.

Jamie Dawn said...

This one kind of creeped me out! I didn't see that ending coming. The girl in the picture is such a cutie.
Here's my brother's blog address:
http://sottovocecormorant.blogspot.com/
My dad said you reqeusted it. Hopefully, dad will have time to blog tonight, but he's been working a lot and been plumb tuckered out.
Warning: my brother is just as warped as the rest of us. It runs in the family.

M.P. said...

Hi there.. Here you have the name of these flowers. They are Rhododendruns. We've got loads of different colours here!
And... apropos... Lovely story this you posted today! :)**

The Mushroom said...

Uh uh, MP. Look at the leaves. Those are azalias, not rhodies. Same family, both of which grow in my yard (azalias in crazy bloom in this part of the country, rhodies are opening up so give it a month), but definitely different in plant form and smaller in flower.

Alix: I've tried that, and they nearly died. :) So now I at least water and feed them so they don't get burned.

Indeterminacy said...

I'm glad they're not rhodo-dingies because I can't spell that and it just doesn't flow. It sounds like describing the sound of a machine gun and not flowers.

M.P. said...

Yes, you're right, the mushroom!! I've got the ones I said in a pic and these do very much look like the rhodies in the distance if we don't watch the pic attentively!(thx for the coloqualism.. it's really helpful as the word sounds like dr. Mabuse said!..LOL) which I'll post later in the day in my blog! :)

La delirante said...

"a girl whose smile induced a strange intoxication in his brain." I loved it :)

Wonderful story. The end was a total surprise!

Indeterminacy said...

Thank you La Delirante - you are very kind - and I think you are also part of the flowers.