The Search for the Last Flower – Short Story Series

24 Oct

Hi everyone! Thank you for visiting my blog. I’ve been working on this story for a while now. I was supposed to post the first installment of this short series two weeks ago but the story took on a life of its own. It’s finally done and it’s a little longer than I had anticipated. So I will be posting three times a week until the end. I hope you will follow the series all the way through. I appreciate any feedback you leave in the comments below. Thank you and enjoy. 

 

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The Search for the Last Flower

by Vashti Q

 

 

“Something’s wrong.” All color drained from Clarice’s face.

 

Dylan, her assistant, stared at her wide-eyed.

 

“She’s in a lot of pain, her face is pallid, and her pulse is weak.” She waved her hand at him. “Get Dr. Johnson––hurry!” She had to yell over the woman’s screams of pain.

 

“Where is he?” Dylan gawped at her. She scowled and he gulped, nodded and ran out of the hut in search of the doctor.

 

The heat in the jungle was stifling. Clarice wiped the sweat off her brow and passed her hand over Flaviá’s head.

 

Flaviá gazed at her with imploring dark brown eyes and cried out in her native language, which was some sort of Portuguese dialect. Clarice did not understand a word. “Try to calm down.” She held the tribeswoman’s hand, but her own hand trembled. Flavía howled as the next wave of contractions assailed her body.

 

“Don’t push yet.” Clarice instructed her to do her breathing exercises, but she knew she was beyond that. “We must wait for Dr. Johnson. The baby may be breeched.”

 

It was Clarice’s first trip to the Amazon basin and her first time assisting in the birth of a tribal woman’s baby. This was an unknown tribe they had stumbled upon during a routine flight into Brazil. While taking a different route to fly around a storm, they had spotted the village in a clearing surrounded on all sides by jungle.

 

There was something peculiar about the tribespeople of this village. From what she had learned in the few weeks she’s been there, these people seemed to know little of pain or death. There was a sort of happy innocence about them, like they had been shielded from the dark side of life. But now they might experience a rude awakening, and she did not know what that spelled for her, Dylan, or the doctor. Things were not going well.

 

Moments later, Dr. Johnson hurried into the hut, trailed by Dylan. The doctor knelt by the pregnant woman and grabbed her wrist. “Her pulse is very weak. How long has she been in labor?”

 

“Two hours.” Clarice panted wiping her forehead again. “She was doing fine and then she began complaining of pain. She’s been screaming ever since, and has become ashen and frail.”

 

“What did you give her?” The doctor rummaged through his medical bag.

 

“What do you mean?” She stared at him.

 

“You are a nurse practitioner and midwife.” The doctor raised his voice, which made Dylan jump. “Must I tell you everything?”

 

Clarice felt heat rise to her face, and her cheeks turned a deep pink. She glanced at Dylan and then set her sights on the doctor. “Yes, Dr. Johnson, I am a nurse and midwife, but I am also a Christian missionary. These people do not condone the use of narcotics, especially during childbirth. They would rather die. I will not deceive them.”

 

Flaviá, who had been wailing in pain the entire time, abruptly became quiet. Dr. Johnson and Clarice stopped glowering at each other and looked her way. The woman began to shake and convulse. Clarice hurried to hold her down so that she wouldn’t hurt herself.

Dr. Johnson positioned himself between her legs. Blood was gushing from her. “There’s not much more we can do for her, she’s hemorrhaging and I can’t stop the bleeding.” Dr. Johnson pushed down on Flaviá’s belly, trying to guide the baby into the right position. “We may still be able to save the infant.”

 

Flaviá winced and groaned in pain, her dark eyes rolling back in her head. She became quiet.

 

“Flaviá, Flaviá!” Clarice cried into her hands. “Oh God, I think she’s dead.”

 

Dr. Johnson sucked his teeth. “Auscultate her and document the time of death!”

 

Clarice placed the cold diaphragm of her stethoscope on the woman’s chest and searched desperately for a heartbeat. “There’s no cardiac activity.”

 

“Of course not, because dead people don’t usually have heartbeats.” Dr. Johnson sucked his teeth again and huffed, looked at his watch and stated the time of death.

 

Clarice and Dylan stared at him with stunned faces.

 

“From what I’ve gathered from speaking to the tribesmen, these people had not experienced a death in over a hundred years,” the doctor said matter-of-factly. “We don’t know how the tribe will react to the death of their elder’s wife.” Dylan gasped. Clarice swallowed hard. “Hopefully, they will be too busy celebrating the birth of a healthy––ah yes, baby boy—to care.” The doctor pulled the plump male infant out, causing the baby to begin crying.

 

Upon hearing the baby’s cry, the tribes’ elder, Flaviá’s husband, walked into the hut. His broad grin transformed into a horrified grimace when he saw his wife’s limp body sprawled in a pool of blood. He glared at Dr. Johnson and stormed out, yelling something even the doctor did not understand.

 

They heard a lot of activity outside the door. Dr. Johnson looked at Clarice, his brow knit tightly.

 

“What is happening?” Clarice’s chest heaved.

 

Dylan shrugged, shook his head, and bit his lower lip.

 

“Go see what’s going on,” Clarice told him. As he turned to go the doctor stopped him.

 

“No, stay.” He beckoned him to stand by his side. “Let the tribe mourn in their own way.”

 

Dylan glanced at Clarice with a confused expression. She gestured for him to come back. “It’s okay. Stay and help us clean and prepare Flaviá’s body.”

 

Dr. Johnson handed the crying infant to Clarice in a rough manner. She put the baby boy gently on the ground beside her and began the revolting task of cleaning the blood and preparing the woman for whatever death ritual this tribe had in mind. Dylan helped her, while the doctor sat back and watched.

 

Clarice propped the dead woman’s head on a small pillow. The doctor sucked his teeth and looked sideways. She ignored him and swore to herself that she would never again accompany him on a mission.

 

Dylan passed a wet rag over the dead woman’s face. Clarice glanced at his hands.

 

“Your hands are trembling. Here––let me have the cloth. She gently took the rag from him and decided to finish the job herself.

 

“How old do you think she is––was?” Dylan stared at the dead woman’s face with a grim expression.

 

Clarice regarded her. “I’m not sure because––”

 

Flaviá’s eyes snapped open. Clarice screamed and Dylan jumped back. The doctor frowned and moved closer to scrutinized her.

 

“It’s just a reflex.” He reached into his bag for a stethoscope and auscultated her. “There’s no cardiac activity. She is definitely dead.”

 

Flaviá’s hand began to twitch and her arm flexed. She sat upright, turned her head sluggishly toward Clarice, and stared.

 

Clarice gasped. “How is this possible?” She recoiled.

 

“I thought you said she was dead!” Dylan’s lips quivered as he dragged himself away.

 

“She had no heart beat––no pulse.” Dr. Johnson gaped at the woman.

 

Copyright © 2015 by Vashti Quiroz-Vega. All rights reserved.

 

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Photograph of uncontacted tribe in Brazil

 

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Thank you for reading the 1st installment of my series, The Search for the Last Flower. Check out the other installments and let me know how you like the story in the comments below.

45 Responses to “The Search for the Last Flower – Short Story Series”

  1. Hugh's Views and News October 24, 2014 at 10:44 am #

    I really liked reading this first part, Vashti. I’m on the edge of my seat wanting to know what is going to happen next. You’ve timed it very well in starting to publish this story, what with it being Halloween next week. It’s certainly got a scary feel to it now, with the ending of this first part.

    I’m looking forward to reading the next part tomorrow.

    Like

    • Vashti Quiroz-Vega October 24, 2014 at 11:12 am #

      Hi Hugh! That’s great! I’m so glad you enjoyed the 1st part. I was hoping to get started earlier in the month but the story just went on and on. I hope to keep your interest throughout the series. Thanks so much for reading and for your feedback. 😀

      Like

  2. olganm October 24, 2014 at 10:45 am #

    Very mysterious Vashti….

    Like

    • Vashti Quiroz-Vega October 24, 2014 at 11:07 am #

      Hi Olga! I’m glad you think so. I hope that means I’ve hooked you. 😉 xx

      Like

  3. Sunni Morris October 24, 2014 at 10:51 pm #

    Vashti, you’re becoming a master at suspence. I loved it!

    Like

  4. GiGi Eats Celebrities October 24, 2014 at 11:04 pm #

    Ha! I love the CLIFF HANGER 😉

    Like

  5. Yolanda Isabel Regueira Marin October 24, 2014 at 11:18 pm #

    Ooooh next instalment please

    Like

  6. mihrank October 25, 2014 at 12:39 am #

    wow – the post is very deep and detail, it makes the reader to explore and enjoy!

    Like

  7. Darlene Nemeth (@DarleneBNemeth) October 25, 2014 at 1:17 am #

    Hi Vashti, I am not a patient person when it comes to reading the next part especially when I am enjoying the story. I’m the kind of person who reads until the book is done.When are you posting part 2?

    Like

    • Vashti Quiroz-Vega October 25, 2014 at 1:26 am #

      Hi Darlene! Ha,ha! You sound like me. I get impatient doing these series. 😉 I’m posting part 2 tomorrow and part 3 on Sunday. I’m glad you’re enjoying it. Thank you for reading. 😀

      Like

  8. Rat October 25, 2014 at 1:36 am #

    very interesting plot. looking forward to the next episode.. 🙂

    Like

  9. marethabotha2013 October 25, 2014 at 10:25 am #

    You had me guessing about things almost from the beginning. I liked the tension between Clarice and the doctor – whom I managed to dislike almost immediately. I wonder what you have in stall for us next time?

    Like

    • Vashti Quiroz-Vega October 25, 2014 at 11:21 am #

      Hello! I’m happy I was able to intrigue you from the start. Oh good, I wasn’t sure if I had pulled that off. Thank you so much for reading and for the feedback. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. peternoahthomas October 27, 2014 at 3:59 am #

    Whew! I finally got to read part 1 and you have me hooked with yet another amazing story. Very mysterious and as usually the dialogue draws me in. I will read parts 2 and 3 later today. I look forward to the rest!

    Like

    • Vashti Quiroz-Vega October 27, 2014 at 11:30 pm #

      Hi Peter! It’s so great to hear from you. I’m glad you’re enjoying the story so far. Thank you for reading. 🙂

      Like

  11. Carrie Page October 28, 2014 at 1:14 pm #

    I’m hooked! Lucky for me, there are 3 more parts to catch up on today!

    Like

  12. Teagan Kearney October 28, 2014 at 1:33 pm #

    Your episodes are a perfect length for a blog post, Vashti. And like Carrie, I’m hooked and off to read the rest of the story!

    Like

    • Vashti Quiroz-Vega October 28, 2014 at 3:27 pm #

      Hi Teag! Thank you. I hope I can continue to reel you in. 😉 I do try to keep the episodes within a certain number of words but it can be difficult at times.

      Like

  13. JESS44903 October 29, 2014 at 3:43 pm #

    Such a neat story! 🙂

    Thanks for joining the Link Up this week!

    Like

  14. Vanessa Curtidor October 30, 2014 at 11:37 pm #

    Ooohh Tia that was so good I was completely into the story. Going to read part 2 right now! =]

    Like

  15. Chantelle Hazelden (@MamaMummyMum) November 4, 2014 at 12:36 pm #

    Cleverly mysterious 🙂 thanks for linking with #readwithme x

    Like

    • Vashti Quiroz-Vega November 4, 2014 at 1:08 pm #

      I’m glad you enjoyed the first episode, Chantelle. It was my pleasure linking up to ‘Read With Me’. 🙂

      Like

  16. Cody McCullough November 7, 2014 at 1:07 am #

    You definitely have me hooked, and left me wanting more. Good work!

    Like

  17. Michelle Stanley November 11, 2014 at 12:42 pm #

    Wow! Awesome part 1 Vashti! I’m really curious to discover what’s coming next, and although I’m behind, and have lots of catching up to do, I don’t care. You’re a terrific story teller!

    Like

    • Vashti Quiroz-Vega November 11, 2014 at 8:45 pm #

      Thank you so much, Michelle. I don’t care if you’re behind I’m just so happy you’re reading it. 😀 xx

      Like

  18. Chantelle Hazelden (@MamaMummyMum) April 12, 2016 at 2:52 am #

    Well that’s an ending to keep you reading!! Great build up. Thanks for sharing with #ReadWithMe

    Like

    • Vashti Quiroz-Vega April 12, 2016 at 1:38 pm #

      Thank you Chantelle! All the episodes are under the category ‘Short Story’ if you want to keep reading. 😉 It was a pleasure to share it on Read With Me.

      Like

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