Tag Archives: The Search for the Last Flower

Read & Win Giveaway! The Search for the Last Flower

9 Nov

Hello wonderful people! I’m excited to announce the winner of the Read & Win Giveaway today. And here it is . . . drumroll please . . . Hugh Roberts! Thank you Hugh for reading every installment of my short horror series, The Search for the Last Flower, and for your wonderful comments. Your support and feedback was invaluable to me and I appreciate you. 😀 Please leave your email address on my contact page, and I will make arrangements to send you your prizes. This was truly a lot of fun for me. I hope it was for you too.

Hugh Roberts

Author Hugh Roberts

 

Hugh Roberts has a blog called, Hugh’s Views & News. You should check it out, it’s a blast. He has short stories, poetry, photo challenges, and a page where his doggie Toby speaks his mind. Yeah, so hurry over there and enjoy.

Here’s a bit about Hugh in his own words . . .

Based in Hove, East Sussex, in the United Kingdom, I write about all kinds of everyday life and what it brings to us all. Nothing too serious, most of the time just about the little things in life and how important they can be to all of us. Some of my posts will be humorous, while others may bring a tear to the eye.

I have always enjoyed writing and the fact I suffer from a mild form of dyslexia has not stopped me. Yes, I get things wrong with my reading and writing, but I always find those mistakes humorous and always laugh about it. I have never let dyslexia get in my way. Now in my fifties, I thought it about time I let my writing become public and becoming a blogger seemed to be the perfect way for me to do this. I lead a very happy life and always try to stay positive. I share my life with my wonderful Civil Partner, John, and our Cardigan Welsh Corgi, Toby, who I both cherish with all my heart.

I write about life, because I find it so fascinating. I have many stories to tell, some of which I have started to put into a book. My life has been incredible and I want to share it with anybody that wants to listen. I am also a wonderful listener and I love to be interactive with other people. I guess you could say I am a people person.

I have only recently got interested in photography and my blog now includes some of the photos I have taken. You will also find some of my short stories and poetry on my blog and I hope you enjoy reading them.

I welcome any feedback on my blog (good or bad) and hope my readers will engage with me by leaving comments on my posts. I promise to try to respond to all of them. After all, if somebody has taken the time to read one of my posts and leaves me a comment, then it is only polite for me to respond to that comment and engage with my reader. I want you all to enjoy reading my blog and hopefully you press the follow button and join me on my journey. I would love to have you come along for the ride.

Toby

Toby

Click on Toby’s picture and it will take you to his posts.

Please don’t forget to congratulate Hugh on his win! Thanks!

The Search for the Last Flower – FINALE

7 Nov

Hello everyone! Happy Friday! Today is the last installment of my horror series, The Search for the Last Flower. I will be announcing the winner of the giveaway on Sunday. In the meantime please enjoy the finale.

 

Blue-Poppies_nearestneighbor-2

 

Caleb had to leave this place as soon as possible. Already yellow eyes glared in his direction. He would not be responsible for Armageddon. He could find the answers he needed in his lab. If he could find a cure, maybe all could be set right again. But how could anything be right again?

 

Caleb ran outside the hospital. The walking dead were all around him. They overran his car. They smelled Lolita’s blood. How would he get to his lab? He couldn’t make it on foot. Already there were so many of them. But he had to make it. He was the only one who could end this.

 

He spotted an ambulance and ran to it. The door was open and he jumped into it, closed the door and locked it. The keys were in the ignition. It was lucky for him but not so lucky for whoever had to leave the vehicle in such a hurry. He sighed deeply, turned the key and fled the hospital parking lot.

 

He drove as fast as he could, which was faster than he’d ever driven. He scrambled around the ambulance’s dashboard and found the switch to turn on the siren. He flew past red lights and stop signs on his way to the lab. He was high on adrenaline, and he was certain he could fix the problem he had started if only he could make it to the lab.

 

He made a sharp turn and heard a thump in the back of the ambulance. He focused his hearing while continuing to keep his eyes on the road. He heard a crash and a slam. His heart began to thump.

 

Something pounded on the small window between the back of the ambulance and the front seat. Caleb’s eyes opened wide. Part of him wanted to turn and look, but the other part just wanted to drive on. He turned his head. It was one of them.

 

A large man, judging by the size of his fists and neck, was pounding on the glass. A dark, triangular nasal cavity stood where his nose once did, and his lower lip, as well as the skin of his lower jaw was missing. His entire face was red with blood, which made his yellow eyes stand out even more.

 

Caleb faced the road again just in time to avoid crashing against a building. His mouth quivered and his hands shook, even while he gripped the steering wheel. He had to make it to the lab. If this malady spread to other states or countries, it would mean the end of everything. He stepped on the throttle.

 

All he had to do was cross the bridge and he would be a mere minute or two from his lab. He would work night and day until he came up with a solution to reverse the effects of the elixir.

 

The thing on the other side of the small window did not relent. He shook the vehicle every time his large fists pounded on the glass. Caleb glanced at the window and saw evidence that the glass could shatter at any moment. He slammed his foot on the throttle but the vehicle could not go any faster.

 

He finally reached the bridge. The dead man kept striking the window causing damage to the edge of the glass. It began to crack and the next hard impact caused it to shatter into pieces.

 

Caleb gasped when he saw the pieces of glass fall to the front seat, and heard the man’s growl. The man stuck his head through the opening and tried to squeeze his wide shoulders through. He snapped his teeth at Caleb like a rabid dog.

 

Caleb shifted away from the monster and pressed against his door. The man backed away from the window. Caleb panted and kept taking glimpses at the opening as he swerved through traffic. It grew quiet. Caleb’s thoughts were muddled. Where did the man go?

 

The man crashed into the opening sticking his head, left arm and shoulder through––reaching for Caleb.

 

Caleb kept pressing his body against the door, but that was not far enough from the man’s reach. His driving kept getting more and more erratic as he tried fending off the monster with one hand and driving with the other. He veered into the next lane and almost collided with another vehicle. His pulse raced. He was midway on the bridge. Would he make it?

 

As he watched the road, the man grabbed his arm, tore into the muscles of his forearm with his teeth, and pulled them away. Caleb howled as the man gnawed on his arm. He caught a glimpse of his ulnar and became lightheaded. His eyes were rolling in his head. He wailed and yanked his bloody arm away from the man.

 

He was bitten.

 

Caleb sobbed and shook his head. He groaned in pain, shock, but most of all at the knowledge that he would soon die and become one of them. He would no longer go to the lab. There was no time for him to find a cure for this affliction.

 

He looked to his right and then his left. The poison course through his body. He was dying.

 

He swerved the vehicle to an ongoing lane, onto the shoulder and then off the bridge. As he plummeted over two-hundred feet to his death in an icy river, Caleb cursed the day he went in search of the last flower.

 

Copyright © 2014 by Vashti Quiroz-Vega. All rights reserved.

Blue-Flowers-4532-B2011fw

 

I want to thank all my readers for their time. I hope this was a good ending for you. Let me know your thoughts in the comment section. 

The Search for the Last Flower – (Part 11)

5 Nov

Welcome to Part 11 of my horror series, The Search for the Last Flower. I appreciate all the comments, shares, and tweets. You guys rock! I’m glad you’re enjoying the story––it’s why I right. 😉 (Part 12 is the final installment and I will be posting it on Friday.)

 

thesearchforthelastflower

 

 

 

Caleb snatched his keys, opened the back door of his car, grabbed Lolita and shoved her in.

 

Lolita groaned and squirmed in pain.

 

“Stay with me, Lolita.” He got into the front seat and started the car. He pushed the pedal to the metal and sped away, just as Dr. Smith placed his face against his window.

 

“Talk to me, Lolita.” Caleb drove recklessly, weaving through traffic, ignoring stale green lights and stop signs, trying to get the girl to the hospital as soon as possible. Her wails and shrieks were making his head throb. He sobbed and pounded on the steering wheel.

 

By the time Caleb had reached the hospital, Lolita was quiet and still. He slammed on the brakes in front of the emergency entrance. He swung his door open and jumped out. It was hard to stomach what he saw when he opened the back door. Lolita lay sprawled on the back seat, naked, completely covered in her own blood and gore. How would he explain this? What the hell––he had to do the right thing. This woman needed medical attention. He grabbed her and carried her out of the car.

 

He rushed inside the hospital, leaving his car parked askew with the passenger side front and back doors wide open. His car could be stolen, but the only thing on his mind was to save the girl.

 

“Help me! This girl needs help!” He ran into the emergency room bellowing. “She’s dying! I need a doctor!”

 

Some people sitting around stared wide-eyed, others gasped, screamed, and some jumped out of their seats staggering backward in shock.

 

Several nurses ran to him, followed by paramedics pushing a stretcher. Caleb placed her limp, motionless body down on the stretcher. A young doctor came running while putting on his stethoscope’s ear tips. He tried to find a heartbeat. His brow knit tightly. He shook his head and grabbed her wrist to feel a pulse and then he auscultated her again. Nothing. “I-I’m sorry sir. The girl is dead.” The doctor looked at Caleb and pressed his lips together. He placed a hand on Caleb’s shoulder.

 

Caleb pushed his hand off. “No––no, check again! She can’t be dead!” The doctor opened his mouth to speak but Caleb yelled, “Check again! One more time––please.” The doctor stared at him with a pitying expression and auscultated her once more. He took longer than the last time. He looked up at Caleb, still maintaining the stethoscope’s diaphragm on her chest and shook his head.

 

Lolita’s eyes sprang open.

 

The nurses gasped and recoiled. The young doctor stared at the corpse. Caleb looked into her eyes. They were wild, cloudy and yellow. The doctor placed his hand over them to close them. Lolita reached and bit three of his fingers off with one bite. The doctor stared in shock at the stumps on his hand as blood jet out from them like geysers.

 

Lolita sat upright and grabbed the doctor from behind. She bit right through his lab coat and shirt into his upper back. The doctor howled in pain and pulled away from her. He stared at her with a confused expression.

 

A nurse ran to help the doctor. Lolita jumped off the stretcher and seized the nurse by the hair. She bit her on the neck. As the nurse screamed and struggled, Lolita continued to bite pieces off her until she lay still, and someone else got Lolita’s attention.

 

The emergency room was in an uproar. Nurses, paramedics, doctors, and patients were running, crying, screaming. Caleb backed into a corner of the room and watched––immobilized by fear and dread. Lolita moved differently from Dr. Smith. She was faster, stronger, and more agile. She grabbed one person, took a few bites and then grabbed another. At least eight or nine people were bit so far, and she showed no signs of slowing down.

 

She must be stopped. Every person she bit would eventually become like her. He knew that now. She must not leave this place––everyone she’d attacked must not leave this place. But it was too late. Many of the bitten had already left the building.

 

As Caleb watched Lolita chase several screaming people out of the emergency room, he became lightheaded. He slid down the wall. He hugged his knees, rocked, and held his head. This would never end now. It would spread until everyone in the city was a crazed––can someone dead be called crazed?

 

He knew he should not sit still. This was all his doing and he had to fix it. He could return to the lab and figure out how to stop this before it truly was too late. He was the only one who could do it. He had to find the strength.

 

Caleb made an attempt to rise, but his legs trembled, his knees faltered and he fell on his rump again. He looked at his hands. They trembled like leaves in a windstorm. He took a deep breath. He had to calm down and take ahold of himself. The longer he lingered, the more victims of his elixir there would be.

 

He rose and looked around the emergency room. There were two paramedics lifting the young doctor, who had attended Lolita, off the floor and onto a stretcher. One of the paramedics bent over to lift the stretcher, his head too close the doctor’s face.

 

“No––get away from him,” Caleb said under his breath as he ran toward them. The doctor opened his eyes and ripped the paramedic’s ear off with his teeth. The paramedic staggered away, howling in pain. His partner dropped the clipboard he was holding and went to help him.

 

“It’s too late for him!” Caleb yelled at the paramedic who was trying to help his friend. “Get away from him and leave this place or you, too, will end up like the doctor.” The paramedic looked at his friend, Caleb and then the doctor, who had already jumped off the stretcher. He left his friend and ran away as fast as he could. The other stood in shock, putting pressure on the hole that was his ear. The doctor launched at him, knocking him to the floor.

 

He pulled his shirt apart, buttons flew everywhere. He gnawed on the paramedic’s belly until he made his way inside and began to feast on his intestines, while the man still squirmed and squealed.

 

Caleb staggered backward, retching violently. He looked around. Others who had been bitten and died were beginning to rise, animated by the synthetic essence of the Brazilian tribe’s last flower.

 

This was his doing. Could this be undone?

 

Copyright © 2014 by Vashti Quiroz-Vega. All rights reserved.

 

zombies

 

Thank you for reading! Leave your thoughts in the comment section.

Don’t forget about the Giveaway! Read, comment, and win!

The Search for the Last Flower – (Part 10)

4 Nov

Hi everyone! Thank you for visiting my blog and for reading Part 10 of my horror series, The Search for the Last Flower. I hope you like it!

 

 

the search for the last flower

 

 

She froze when she saw Dr. Smith lying on his bed in his pajama bottoms. She stared at him wide-eyed and then she began to scream nonstop. Caleb grabbed her by the shoulders and tried to get her to calm down, but she continued to scream. He smacked her face and she stopped. She sobbed and turned to leave.

 

“Lolita,” Dr. Smith called. “Come to me, Lolita.” His voice was rough, breathy, and the scariest voice she had ever heard.

 

“Go to him,” Caleb told her. She shook her head. “I will pay you well for a small amount of your time.” She closed her eyes tightly, shook her head again and hurried out of the room.

 

“Wait.” Caleb hurried after her. She kept moving quickly toward the front door. “Look––I will pay you triple what he normally pays you!”

 

“There isn’t enough money in the world to make me have sex with that––that monster!”

 

“I don’t expect you to have sex with him. Just remove your clothes and let him touch you a little––that’s all.” Lolita shuddered at the thought. “Give an old man just a few minutes of your time before he dies.”

 

Lolita sighed deeply and looked at the floor. “I only have to remove my clothes and let him touch me a little, right?” Caleb nodded. “Alright, but I leave in ten minutes.” She made her way back to the bedroom. Caleb followed closely behind.

 

Dr. Smith’s eyes were closed. He seemed motionless.

 

“Is he still alive?” Lolita took a step back.

 

Caleb stared at him for a moment. He walked over and shook him.

 

“Andrew, Andrew––” Dr. Smith opened his eyes. Caleb avoided looking at him in the face. “He’s alive. The sooner you get started, the sooner you can get out of here.”

 

Lolita took off her clothes. Her skin was smooth and flawless, like cream. Her breasts were plump and perky. Caleb could not turn away.

 

“If you’re going to watch, it’ll cost five hundred dollars extra,” she told him.

 

She trembled as she approached Dr. Smith. She climbed on top of him, straddling over his pajama bottom. When she got close enough her hand flew to cover her nose and mouth. The stench, cloying and nauseating, irritated her nostrils. Her face twisted in disgust as Dr. Smith’s cold, slimy hands grabbed her by the waist.

 

He pulled her closer.

 

Caleb’s face pinched. Then he noticed Dr. Smith’s eyes. Caleb squinted. It couldn’t be. Dr. Smith’s irises were yellow, as yellow as the eyes of the boy in the fire in the jungle. Ice water seemed to flow in Caleb’s veins.

 

Dr. Smith pulled Lolita to him and bit her breast. Lolita screamed, but the doctor would not let go. She wailed and pounded on his head. He gnawed and shook his head until he tore off the breast. She fell back on the bed, and Dr. Smith grabbed her foot with half of one breast still in his mouth. She howled and pressed the remaining breast tissue against her chest. Her caught leg juddered and the other kicked, trying to get away from his clutches. When he was done with her breast, he began biting off and eating her toes one by one. More horrific screams.

 

Caleb gawped at the scene before him, too frightened to do anything. Dr. Smith had become whatever it was that boy in the jungle had become.

 

The young woman lost consciousness. Caleb watched his father gnaw on that poor woman’s foot as if it were barbecue ribs. He panted and scanned the room. He could not figure out what to do.

 

Dr. Smith tossed Lolita’s leg aside. She regained consciousness and as she opened her eyes immense pain gripped her. Once more she began to wail and howl in anguish. He grabbed her by the arms and yanked her to him with ample strength and agility, as if reborn. He bit into her upper arm and pulled skin, muscles, tendons . . . each tissue fighting to stay together. She shrieked and cringed.

 

Caleb could take no more. He picked up a metal lamp from on top of his father’s night table and clobbered his father over the head several times until he finally let go of the girl. The heavy metal lamp dented his skull and should have killed him, but instead it only seemed to make him momentarily groggy.

 

Caleb gasped, carried the girl off the bed, and hurried toward the front door. When he reached the front door, he heard a noise. He looked over his shoulder––Dr. Smith was coming after them.

 

Caleb moved as fast as he could toward his car. Lolita clung onto him and tried to walk, but Caleb carried most of her weight and dragged her along.

 

As he approached his car, he reached into his pocket and pulled out his keys. He looked over his shoulder again and saw that Dr. Smith was emerging from the door. Caleb fumbled with his keys, trying to balance Lolita’s weight while he found the car key.

 

“Miss, you’re going to have to lean against the car until I open it.” He let go. He looked back—Dr. Smith was approaching fast.

 

He searched through his keys but his hands trembled and he dropped them to the ground. He bent over to pick them up and Lolita groaned and swayed, about to fall. Caleb grabbed her and pushed her against his car again. She was losing a lot of blood. If he didn’t get her to a hospital soon, she would die. He tried once more to pick up his keys. The doctor’s horrid stench preceded him. Caleb turned his head and saw that he was a mere few feet away and reaching out to him.

 

Copyright © 2014 by Vashti Quiroz-Vega. All rights reserved.

 

zombie-Attack-the search for the last flower-blog

We’re almost to the end of the series. I’ve had a lot of fun writing it. I hope you’ve had as much fun reading it. Thanks so much for your time.  Don’t forget to leave a comment. 😀

The Search for the Last Flower – (Part 9)

2 Nov

 Hello! I hope everyone had a great weekend. This is part 9 of my horror series, The Search for the Last Flower.  Enjoy!

White_blood_cell_zombie_infection_the search for the last flower_story

 

“Your body has had some sort of reaction to the anti-aging elixir.”

 

Dr. Smith shook his head. “No––it can’t be.”

 

“Certain molecules from the synthetic solution have bonded to your white blood cells, reducing their ability to engulf and destroy bacteria.” Caleb’s voice was brittle.

 

“So my immune system is shutting down.” Dr. Smith pounded on his head with both fists. “Soon my body will be invaded by all sorts of bacteria, microbes, parasites . . . I’m already suffering the symptoms of bacterial, viral, and fungal infections.”

 

Caleb covered his eyes with his hands. He shook and convulsed in anguish. “This is my fault! I should have done more tests. I should––”

 

“Stop!” Dr. Smith groaned and went into a coughing fit. “You know you’re not to blame. I, and I alone, decided to take the elixir before the proper tests were done. The question is, what are you going to do to resolve this problem?”

 

“As soon as I saw the results of your blood tests, I made some phone calls. The anti-aging elixir is in the process of being recalled, and a notice will be sent out by the CDC to pharmacies and all patients in their database. I’ve already posted a notice on our website and social media accounts.” Caleb’s pulse was racing. “There’s also a television commercial that will run every half hour, asking everyone who had bought or used the elixir to go to designated areas in their state established by the CDC to get labs and tissue samples done. I think we can contain this, but––” Caleb broke down again. “There isn’t much we can do for those already showing symptoms of microorganism invasion.” He took his glasses off, cleaned the foggy lenses with his t-shirt, and put them back on.

 

“So I only have a few hours left. It won’t be much longer before the organisms completely dismantle my body and take it away until all that’s left is my skeleton.” Dr. Smith closed his eyes briefly and shook his head in disbelief. “I don’t want to wait for that to happen, but before I go, I want to feel the warmth of a woman’s body next to mine.”

 

Caleb’s face contorted in shock and revulsion. Microbes must have ravaged his father’s mind.

 

“Call somebody for me,” he pleaded. “It must be done quickly. I don’t know how much longer I will be lucid.”

 

“I don’t think you’re in your right mind any longer.” Anguish was etched on Caleb’s face.

 

Dr. Smith frowned. “You will not give a dying man his last wish?”

 

Caleb bit his lower lip.

 

“You don’t think I’m suffering enough? Dr. Smith cough and his lips became red with blood. “Bring me a woman while I can still see her!”

 

His large blue irises were now an opaque purplish hue with yellowing of the outer rims. The whites of his eyes were bright red due to the engorged blood vessels within. A cloudy film covered the eyes. His face was a purplish color with black dead patches marred by tears in the skin, which was shiny due to the oozing of infectious fluid, which mingled with the blood seeping from his mouth, nose, tear ducts, and ears.

 

Caleb stared at him, his stomach churned, and he retched again and again. He tried to contain his feelings of disgust. This was the only father he’d ever known. He vomited a little in his mouth and swallowing it back down only made him more nauseous. He ran to the toilet, put the seat up, fell to his knees and vomited his last meal.

 

He got to his feet feeling lightheaded, grabbed a wad of toilet paper and wiped his mouth. He walked back into his father’s bedroom. “I can call a dozen women, but what makes you think any woman would stay after taking one look at you?”

 

“If you pay them enough, they’ll stay,” he said, each word a gasp.

 

Caleb narrowed his eyes. “You are infectious. You could make the woman sick.”

 

“I simply want to feel her close to me. Please grant me this final wish.” He went into another coughing fit.

 

Caleb winced and jumped back.

 

“In my iPhone, in the Notes app, under friends, you will find a list of women. Call any woman on the list and tell her to come now.” His croaky voice sounded creepier by the minute. His face had become as black as the iPhone he pointed to on his night table.

 

Caleb inched by him to pick up the phone. His father no longer smelled human. He smelled like a dumpster filled with dead flowers. Caleb cringed––his thoughts lit his face on fire and caused it to turn bright pink with embarassment. He picked up the phone and looked through it. He found the list of women––his father’s friends. Who would he subject to this horror?

 

“Mary Anderson, Patricia Jones, Elizabeth García, Barbara Thomas . . .” Caleb read under his breath. “I don’t know who to call.”

 

“Hurry!” Dr. Smith began to wheeze. Caleb touched a woman’s name, Lolita Jackson, and the phone dialed her number. When a dulcet voice answered, he almost dropped the phone.

 

“Dr. Smith?” she asked. “Is that you?”

 

“No––” He cleared his throat. “This is his son, Caleb.”

 

“Oh! He has spoken often of you. How can I be of service to you?”

 

“Me? No––no, not me. My father needs you.” His lips quivered. “Can you come over right away?”

 

“Yes, of course. Anything for Dr. Smith.”

 

Ten minutes later Lolita was knocking on Dr. Smith’s door. Caleb opened the door to find a petite blonde with large celery green eyes that looked like they had seen a lifetime, but could only have seen a fraction.

 

“Hello, my name is Lolita. You must be Caleb.”

 

“Yes, it’s nice to meet you.” Caleb swallowed hardt and pushed the rim of his glasses up the bridge of his nose. “Are you old enough to be doing this?”

 

Lolita laughed. “I get that a lot. Yes, I’m twenty-three years old and totally legal. Where’s your dad?”

 

“Um, before you go to him, I have to warn you––he’s a bit under the weather, and his appearance is a bit, um, ah––he doesn’t look like himself.”

 

Lolita giggled. “Who does he look like, then?” She waved her hand dismissingly and went to Dr. Smith’s bedroom.

 

Copyright © 2014 by Vashti Quiroz-Vega. All rights reserved.

The search for the Last Flower_Vashti Quiroz-Vega's Blog

Thank you for reading! 

The Search for the Last Flower – (Part 8)

1 Nov

 Hello! I hope everyone had a good Halloween. Welcome to the 8th installment of The Search for the Last Flower. There are only a few episodes left so I will not be posting one tomorrow, Sunday 11/02. I will post Part 9 on Monday 11/03 to allow some readers to catch up. Thank you for reading!

 

the search of the last flower_anti-aging elixir

 

*

 

Six months later, Dr. Caleb Wilson and Dr. Andrew Smith introduced to the world a miracle elixir that would not only stave off aging, but also turn back the hands of time. The news went viral on the web, and the two men were in all the newspapers.

 

‘The Geniuses Behind the Cure for Aging,’ the headlines read.

 

The sound of champagne corks popping, chattering and loud music, gave Caleb a headache. He walked out onto the balcony of the fancy hotel and took a deep breath.

 

Moments later, Dr. Smith joined him on the balcony. “What are you doing out here?”

 

“I needed some air,” Caleb said.

 

“Look, I know parties aren’t your thing, but this is your party. You should be in there, shaking people’s hands––mingling.”

 

“Andrew, this is our party. I think you do enough socializing for the two of us. Besides, I’m mad at you––remember?”

 

“Come on, Caleb. When are you going to let it go?”

 

“You drank the elixir without giving me a chance to test it properly! What if––”

 

“What if what? Yes, I may have jumped the gun, but it’s over now. Testing the elixir on primates would have taken too long!”

 

“Yes, it would have taken a while, but what you did was dangerous and irresponsible!”

 

“But look at me!” Dr. Smith spun around. “I’m a sixty-two-year-old man, and I don’t look a day over thirty. I feel great, too!” Caleb scowled at him. “Come on, you know the elixir worked just like I thought it would. You should be happy. I haven’t felt this good in years, and I feel better every day–– I owe it all to you! Your anti-aging elixir works!” Dr. Smith grabbed Caleb, lifted him and spun him around.

 

“Alright, alright. Let go!” Caleb laughed and straightened his glasses. “Are you sure we did right by putting the product out on the market without further testing?”

 

“Yes, yes. You’ve done all the tests needed. You’ve practically drained me of blood with all your testing. I am fine and benefitting from the anti-aging elixir. Now all you have to do is sit back and enjoy the rewards of your labor.

 

 

*

 

“Andrew, where are you?” Caleb said into his phone.

 

“I’m just a few minutes away. I’ve been feeling kind of sluggish, and it took me longer than usual to get ready,” Dr. Smith said in a hoarse voice.

 

“What’s wrong? You sound terrible. If you’re not feeling well, you could have told me. I would have understood.” Caleb sounded concerned.

 

“Nonsense, open the door. I’m parking the car as we speak.” Dr. Smith ended the call.

 

Caleb gasped when he greeted Dr. Smith at the door. “Have you looked at yourself in the mirror? You look like crap! Have you seen a doctor?”

 

“Aren’t you a doctor?”

 

“You know I’m not that kind of doctor,” Caleb said.

 

“It’s just a cold. No big deal.” Dr. Smith coughed.

 

“You’re pale and your eyes are bloodshot and cloudy. I could hardly see your blue irises. How’s your eyesight?”

 

My eyes are fine. I have a sore throat and a low-grade fever. That is all.”

 

“Nevertheless, let me draw some blood. I’ll get it analyzed right away.”

 

“What’s my blood going to tell you now that it hasn’t already told you?”

 

“I’m not sure, but obviously there’s something happening in your body.”

 

“Fine. Do you think we could have dinner first?”

 

“Of course,” Caleb said, embarrassed.

 

Caleb and Dr. Smith had dinner and watched a movie. Caleb observed Dr. Smith closely the entire time they were together. He drew his blood and drove the 30cc vial of blood to the lab to have it analyzed that night.

Caleb couldn’t sleep after seeing the results of his father’s blood tests. The next morning he called Dr. Smith with his findings.

 

*

Dr. Smith stared at himself in the mirror. He almost didn’t recognize the face he saw staring back. He looked worse than the night before, and he felt worse, too.

 

Overnight, red, painful lumps had grown all over his face. What was happening to him? He was fatigued, had body aches, dizziness, and he coughed, sneezed and continued to have a low-grade fever. He opened his mouth and examined his throat in the mirror. The back of his throat was white with pus. He grimaced with disgust.

 

He bent over the toilet and vomited what felt like sulfuric acid. He wailed in pain. When done, he grabbed a small towel and wiped his mouth. The towel was stained with his blood. He looked at his hands and arms, which were trembling uncontrollably––more red lumps. He was covered in these painful lesions. It seemed all manner of bacteria had invaded his body, but why––how? Dr. Smith’s knees faltered, and he collapsed. Too weak at the moment to stand, he curled up in a ball and cried like a child.

 

The phone rang. Dr. Smith took a deep breath and clambered to his feet. He tottered past the mirror and glanced at his reflection. He jolted and almost collapsed again, but he held onto the sink. He rose and braved another look. It had been less then an hour since he last looked at his reflection. The red lumps had become large bruise-like areas. The center of some of these areas had become black––dead tissue. The skin in some of these black areas had broken and now oozed a greenish-yellowish fluid. Dr. Smith howled.

 

The phone had long stopped ringing. He stood frozen, holding onto the sink, afraid to move. There was a thudding on the door. He tried to take a step, but his legs were wobbly, and he couldn’t let go of the sink long enough to move forward.

 

“Open the door, Andrew!” Caleb pounded on the door.

 

“I can’t––” Dr. Smith thought he had said, but only a hoarse, whistling sound emerged.

 

“Open the door, or I will break it down!” Caleb banged on the door a few more times and then began to ram it with his body until he was able to crash through it and into the house.

 

He ran from room to room looking for Dr. Smith. “Andrew, where are you?” His heart throbbed. When Caleb finally entered the master bathroom, he froze. He turned pale and stared at the doctor. He couldn’t find the words he so desperately needed to say.

 

Dr. Smith groaned and extended a weak, fragile arm toward him. This caused Caleb to run to him. He lifted his father and helped him to his bed.

 

“You’re not well, Andrew,” Caleb told him.

 

Dr. Smith forced a chuckle. “I’ve already figured that out for myself.” His voice was weak and raspy. “What is happening to me?”

 

Copyright © 2014 by Vashti Quiroz-Vega. All rights reserved.

 

zombie_face_by_brucethebandit-d3iqj0z

Zombie Face by Christian Peña (brucethebandit on deviantART)

 

Don’t forget to leave a comment to qualify for the ‘Giveaway’. I’d love to hear from you.

The Search for the Last Flower – (Part 7)

31 Oct

Happy Halloween!

Welcome to my blog and to Part 7 of my series, The Search for the Last Flower. I hope everyone has fun plans for All Hallows’ Eve. I’m taking my dogs, Cocoa and Scribbles to a doggie masquerade ball. He, he. I’ll post pictures later. 😉 Anyway, I told you on my last post that I plan on having a Giveaway at the end of this series to show appreciation to my wonderful readers. Few things make me happier than people reading my stories. It’s why I write. People commenting on my blog about my short stories, articles, and books are right up there on my What Makes Vashti Happy list. To qualify to win some cool prizes all you have to do is read this series, The Search for the Last Flower, and leave me a comment. There’s no obligation to say you love the story if you actually hate it. Really––I won’t hold it against you. So here are the prizes you’ll receive if you win:

A signed copy of my novel The Basement

A custom designed book mark

A $30.00 Visa giftcard

and a few other surprises

Good luck!

***Don’t forget to read the previous installments if you haven’t already done so. 

 

FIREFACE_by_hart3uk

FIREFACE by Rodney Hart (hart3uk on deviantART)

*

 

Caleb couldn’t believe his eyes when he arrived at the laboratory paid for by Dr. Smith’s sponsors. The lab was huge, and anything he needed or wanted was at hands’ reach. Caleb walked around, gawking at everything.

 

Dr. Smith laughed. “You look like a chimp that’s never been outside his cage.”

 

Caleb combed his fingers through his blond hair. “I’ve never worked in such a large and well-equipped laboratory.”

 

“Well, get used to it. This is what a scientist of your caliber should be used to.

 

“What if . . . what if I can’t replicate the effects the flowers had on the Amazon tribe?” Caleb felt the pressure, and his hands shook. “I have only one flower. What if there isn’t enough essence in that one bloom for me to work with?”

 

“Caleb, both you and I know that one flower isn’t enough for us to make a tonic.” Dr. Smith walked over to Caleb and placed his arm around him. “What you are going to do is figure out which of this flower’s properties enabled the tribesmen to live longer, healthier lives––what properties kept them young. Once you have discovered that key element, you will then develop a synthetic version of it, and that will be our elixir.”

 

Caleb pulled away from him. “You can’t possibly know if that will work!”

 

“Of course it will work. Why wouldn’t it? Caleb, you’re a doctor and a skillful scientist. One of the best I’ve ever known.”

 

“You’ve never told me that.” Caleb looked at him askance.

 

“I’m telling you now. Look, you have everything you need at your disposal. I’ll get you all the assistants and equipment you need, but time is of the essence. You can do this. I have faith in you. The world is relying on you!”

 

Caleb coughed, and his legs wobbled. Dr. Smith put his arm around him again and walked him to a nearby chair. Caleb sat and took a deep breath.

 

“I know this may seem like a lot of pressure,” Dr. Smith said.

 

Caleb whisked his head and stared at him, openmouthed.

 

“Alright, it is a lot of pressure. But, Caleb, I’m telling you –– you can do this. If anyone can, you can.”

 

“I don’t know. I’m still thinking of Clarice. It isn’t like her to be gone so long without calling me and––”

 

“Stop! I didn’t want to tell you this now because I didn’t want this to interfere with your work. Clarice was cheating on you.” Dr. Smith’s eyes shifted down and to the left.

 

“That’s a lie!” Caleb yelled.

 

Dr. Smith gave him a sympathetic look. “Do you think me capable of telling such a lie?” Caleb looked shamefaced. “I saw her with my own eyes with that doctor fellow she’s off in the jungle with.”

 

“Dr. Johnson? She can’t stand him!”

 

Dr. Smith laughed. “I’m sorry Caleb, but it was all an act. She looked very cozy when I saw them together. He had his hands all over her, and she was enjoying it and even initiated a kiss.”

 

Caleb swallowed hard, and his face burned red.

 

“That woman never loved you. She was simply using you––as soon as she found someone else she thought could take her further in her career, she dumped you and took off with him. That’s what happened. Meanwhile, here you are about to throw away the chance of a lifetime––because of her.”

 

Caleb shook his head. “I can’t believe she could do this to me. I thought she loved me.” He laid his face on his hands and wept. Dr. Smith patted him on the back while rolling his eyes.

 

“I don’t think I can do this,” Caleb cried.

 

“So she wins then? She cheats on you and leaves you, but still you’re willing to give up everything for her. Is that it?”

 

“No! I hope she rots in that jungle alongside her lover. Two rotting corpses embracing in the middle of the Amazon Basin!” Caleb continued to weep into his hands.

 

Dr. Smith chuckled, but quickly became serious when Caleb looked up at him.

 

“Caleb you’re just making excuses because you’re afraid you can’t do what is asked of you. Do you think I would put this task in your hands if I thought you couldn’t do it?” Caleb shook his head. “You’re damn right I wouldn’t! Forget that women. She was never interested in you in the first place. Don’t allow her to steal your future and our fortune, alright?” Caleb nodded. “If you’re successful, and I’m sure you will be––you will never be forgotten.”

 

Caleb’s face lit up. He got to his feet and took a deep breath.

 

“Look at you! You actually look like a brilliant scientist with your new wardrobe.”

 

“Yeah, a wardrobe you chose for me.” Caleb shifted his tie.

 

“What’s wrong with it?”

 

“Khakis, loafers, white shirt and tie?”

 

“You look sleek and stylish for once.”

 

“There’s nothing wrong with this outfit. It’s just not me. If I’m going to do this, I need to be comfortable. I need to be myself.”

 

“Very well, you can strip down to your underthings if it will make you feel better. We need to begin.”

 

Caleb wrestled with his tie until he finally removed it. He unbuttoned the first couple of buttons on his shirt, and he kicked off the shoes. Dr. Smith looked at him, shook his head and walked away.

 

“Wait!” Caleb yelled. Dr. Smith stopped and turned to face him.

 

“What is it now, Caleb?”

 

“I saw something . . .”

 

“What are you talking about?”

 

“That night––at the field. I saw something strange in the fire.”

 

“Caleb, you were unconscious when I got to you. You had inhaled a lot of smoke. Of course you saw things . . . you hallucinated.”

 

Caleb shook his head. “No, I’m talking about the bonfire the tribesmen had started. They were burning the boy––the boy you shot.” Caleb felt sick; he bent over and held onto his knees. He retched several times.

 

“What’s wrong? What did you see?”

 

“He was alive!” Caleb’s face twisted in fear.

 

“Who was alive? You’re not making any sense!”

 

“I know it makes no sense, but the boy in the fire, the one you shot––he was still alive. They were burning him alive and he looked so––” Caleb’s eyes rolled to the back of his head, and he collapsed.

 

“Caleb!” Dr. Smith knelt by his side. “Caleb, wake up!”

 

Caleb opened his eyes and stared at Dr. Smith. “The boy was alive.”

 

“Nonsense!”

 

“I checked his pulse myself and he was dead, yet he struggled in the fire. He growled, squirmed, and flailed his arms even while the fire consumed him. It’s impossible, I know—but this is what I saw.”

 

“Listen, the lack of oxygen to your brain due to the smoke inhalation caused you to have temporary hallucinations. There was no struggling boy in the fire.”

 

“Maybe you’re right. It seemed so real—and those eyes––I can’t forget those yellow eyes.”

 

“Forget about our last day in the Amazon. Most likely it was not as you remember it. I’m sure your mind’s version of what happened in that field is completely erroneous. I think the best thing for you to do is to immerse yourself in your work. Get in your zone. It’s where you love to be anyway.”

 

“That’s what I’ll do. I won’t think of anything but my work.”

 

“Good man.”

 

As soon as Dr. Smith was out of the lab, he took his phone out of his jacket pocket and called Caleb’s assistant. “Listen carefully. If that woman, Clarice, calls for Caleb, tell her he is unavailable––better yet, tell her he is no longer interested in speaking to her. Don’t allow any calls from her or her assistant . . . um, what’s his name––oh yes, Dylan, to come through to Caleb. You are not even to communicate the fact that Clarice or her assistant called him. Do you understand?”

 

“Yes, Doctor,” Caleb’s assistant responded.

 

“Fine. It’s for his own good, you know. That woman is bad news. Thank you.” Dr. Smith hung up and walked away with a sinister grin on his face. Now there would be no more distractions.

 

Copyright © 2014 by Vashti Quiroz-Vega. All rights reserved.

 

Cool-blonde-hair-men-Dr. Caleb Wilson-the serch for the last flower-blog scientist-in-lab-the search for the last flower-blog The_Search_for_the_Last_Flower_Vashti_Quiroz-Vega_Blog

The Search for the Last Flower – (Part 6)

30 Oct

The Search for the Last Flower, part 6 is now posted. I hope everyone is enjoying the series up to this point. I have to warn those who are seeing this post for the first time. This is a Horror/Sci-fi about zombies. If you’re a fan of the show The Walking Dead, or if you enjoy movies like World War Z, 28 Days Later, Resident Evil, Dawn of the Dead, or Night of the Living Dead, you are definitely a fan of horror and zombies. But if the scariest movie you’ve ever seen is Beetlejuice––brace yourself. 😉

Don’t forget to read the previous installments if you haven’t done so already.   PART1 PART2 PART3 PART4 PART5

fire_low_search for the last flower_Vashti Quiroz-Vega_blog

 

 

A strong set of hands hoisted Caleb off the ground. He opened his eyes and shrieked when he saw, through his smoky glasses, what held him. He fainted.

 

Dr. Smith sucked his teeth and rolled his eyes behind the mask he wore. Even wearing the fire retardant suit, the heat was intense. He smacked Caleb a couple of times, but he was out cold.

 

“I should have known if I wanted something done right, I’d have to do it myself.” He took Caleb’s glasses off and tossed them aside, so that he could place an extra mask on his face. He dressed Caleb in a fire suit, put him back on the ground, and picked up the metal box. He looked at the flower; it was already showing signs of withering from the intense heat.

 

Dr. Smith picked the flower. Even in the smoked-filled air, it emanated a calming, lovely fragrance. Dr. Smith thought he heard the tiniest whimper when he severed the stem, but quickly dismissed the thought. He placed the bloom in the box and sealed it. He looked at Caleb still lying on the ground. He grabbed him by the shoulders and shook him. “Caleb, wake up! We have to get going!”

 

Finally Caleb began to shift around. When he opened his eyes he cried out again, waving his hands in front of him.

 

Dr. Smith slapped him on the head. “It’s me, you idiot! We have to go now!” Dr. Smith grabbed Caleb by the arm, yanked him to his feet, and they rushed through the flames.

 

“My glasses!” Caleb yelled.

 

“You can buy a dozen new pairs when we get back home,” Dr. Smith grumbled.

 

When they reached the other side of the firewall, they both collapsed on the ground, flames still clinging to their fire suits. The rest of the team rushed over and snuffed the fire out.

 

Caleb wiggled out of the fire suit and tore the mask off his face. He inhaled deeply and coughed a few times. Panting, he saw that the tribesmen were still there and were surrounding a bonfire they had started. He got to his feet and walked toward them.

 

“Where are you going, Caleb?” Dr. Smith huffed while removing his fire suit.

 

“I’m going to give my condolences.”

 

Dr. Smith sucked his teeth and rolled his eyes. “Well, hurry! We’re leaving soon.”

 

Caleb approached the elder and placed a hand on his shoulder, but before he was able to pronounce a word, the elder turned and yelled at him to leave. Caleb apologized and tried to offer his condolences, but the elder kept pushing him away, telling him to go at once.

 

Caleb looked into the fire the tribesmen surrounded. The young man, whom Dr. Smith had shot dead, lay in the middle of the fire pit, face up. His eyes were wide open and were a vivid yellow, even in the fire. The boy growled, wore an enraged expression, and struggled to leave the fire even as the skin on his body charred and melted.

 

Several strong tribesmen held him down in the fire with large tree branches while tears streamed from their eyes. When the elder noticed that Caleb was still there, he became very agitated and shouted a command to two of his men. The men grabbed Caleb by the arms and dragged him away. Caleb didn’t struggle. His face was pale, his teeth clattered, and his entire body trembled.

 

When the tribesmen approached Dr. Smith and the others, the armed men pointed their guns at them. Without flinching, the tribesmen let Caleb plop to the ground and returned to their burning ceremony.

 

Dr. Smith ran to his son and looked into his wide eyes. “Caleb––Caleb, what’s the matter. What happened?”

 

Caleb shifted his eyes slowly toward him. “Let’s leave this place,” he said in a low, hoarse voice. “Let’s leave now.”

 

Dr. Smith helped him up, and they walked away. His men trailed after them. Caleb stared forward, sightless, his mind unable to wrap around what he had seen in the fire.

 

Copyright © 2014 by Vashti Quiroz-Vega. All rights reserved.

 

the_walking_dead___zombie__hannah____wood_burning_by_brandojones-d5l4108

Wood Burning Artist – BrandoJones (Brandon) on deviantART

 

Thank you for stopping by and reading today! I am very grateful to my readers and as a way to say “thanks” I will be having a Giveaway at the end of this series. I will announce the prizes on . . . wait for it . . . Halloween, of course! All you have to do to qualify to be a winner is to read my series, The Search for the Last Flower, and leave feedback in the comment section. 😀

 

 

search for the last flower_vashtiquiroz-vega_blogfreezer box_the search for the last flower_vashtiquiroz-vegaShangri-LaFireZombie-thesearchforthelastfire-vashtiquiroz-vega-blog

The Search for the Last Flower – (Part 5)

29 Oct

Hello! Thank you for visiting and reading my short series, The Search for the Last Flower. This is Part 5, if you haven’t read the other installments, it would be best for your overall experience to do so prior to reading this one. ( Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 )

the search for the last flower

 

 

Caleb stared at him, looking despondent.

 

“Come––stay in front with me.” Dr. Smith took his arm again. “Don’t worry about your team, they will be closely guarded by my men.”

 

He addressed the group. “We’re about to start on a quest––a quest for a species of flower that will save humanity. Look around you . . . these are the people that will go down in history with you.”

 

Caleb glowered at him.

 

When they arrived at the field where the flowers grew, the tribesmen were already there. They had ignited a fire around the periphery of the field. The elder and his men looked at Dr. Smith and his gun-wielding ruffians, but didn’t seem alarmed or surprised.

 

It was midnight, and the flowers should have been in bloom. Dr. Smith looked around the field. His jaw dropped and his eyes widened. He moved to one side, then the other, his blue eyes reflecting the flames that were growing by the second around the field.

 

“Why are you burning the field? Dr. Smith yelled at the elder. “Where are the flowers?” The elder stared at him with vacant eyes. Dr. Smith shook Caleb. He placed Caleb in front of the elder. “Ask him––ask him the whereabouts of the flowers. Have they already harvested them?”

 

Caleb did what Andrew ordered. The elder remained calm and with a mild expression, explained all to him. Dr. Smith gripped Caleb’s arm tighter. “What did he say, Caleb? I see but one flower in the middle of the field. Where are the others? Tell him he must talk!”

 

The elder looked at him and frowned.

 

Caleb pointed to the lone flower. “The elder said that the flower you see in the middle of the field is the last of its kind. There are no more.”

 

“He’s lying!” Andrew wore a crazed look on his face. “I will shoot one of his men if he doesn’t tell me where the other blooms are––tell him!”

 

Caleb jolted and then communicated what he had said to the elder, who gaped at Dr. Smith.

 

“The elder said this particular flower couldn’t be picked without causing damage to it. It only blossoms once a year, at midnight, and dies before dawn. It will only last a few hours after being picked, and will not make it out of this jungle.”

 

Dr. Smith groaned, hurried to one of his men and grabbed his rifle from him. When he returned, he pointed the weapon at a young native standing next to the elder.

 

“No!” Caleb yelled. “Please, stop! The elder speaks the truth.”

 

The gun went off. The young man gripped his chest. He looked at Caleb, at the bloody hole in his chest, and then at the elder, his father, before falling to the ground, dead. The elder fell to his knees and wept over his son. Soon the other tribesmen gathered around the elder and his son, and they, too, wept.

 

Large drops fell from Caleb’s eyes as he stared at Dr. Smith, astonished. He shook his head, unwilling to believe that this was his father. “How could you do this? Don’t you understand? Once the flower is picked the plant dies. All the flowers have been picked, except for the one that remains in the field.”

 

“He lies,” Dr. Smith said.

 

“These people don’t know how to lie!” Caleb yelled. “Only one flower remains. Take it and go.”

 

Dr. Smith pointed the gun at him. “You’re leaving with me, but first, go get me that flower!”

 

“I can’t––I won’t.” Caleb grimaced with fear and repulsion. “The field is on fire!”

 

“Oh, don’t be so dramatic. It’s a small fire on the periphery. You can jump over it and run.” Dr. Smith showed him how with his fingers running and jumping on his palm.

 

Caleb narrowed his eyes and his mouth fell open in disbelief.

 

“Go pick the flower already before the fire gets bigger!”

 

“You wouldn’t shoot me.”

 

“Maybe not, but I would easily shoot another one of them.” He pointed to the tribesmen.

 

“You understand the flower will not live to dawn,” Caleb told him with a lump in his throat.

 

Dr. Smith grinned. “I didn’t get where I am today by being unprepared.” He gestured to one of his men. “The box, please.” The man handed him a small, metal box.

 

Caleb creased his brow.

 

“Pick the flower and place it immediately into this box,” Dr. Smith ordered Caleb. “It will instantly freeze the flower so that none of its properties will be lost.”

 

Acknowledgement flourished on Caleb’s face.

 

Dr. Smith cackled. “Go now, don’t waste any more time.” He handed him the metal box. “The longer you wait, the riskier it will be to escape the flames.”

 

Caleb gazed at the fire, which crept over the field toward the flower. How was he going to do this without burning alive? Caleb spotted an area where the fire was low and had not spread as far. He hurried, jumped over the low flames, and ran to the flower.

 

Once he reached the flower, he was mesmerized. It was exquisite, just as he had imagined. It was approximately ten inches in diameter. The large petals were the color of a summer sky. In the middle of the flower were long red stigmas, and its stamens were vibrant yellow like a sun shower. The stem was just as described by the tribesmen, a lively lime green. The small leaves were colored in the same lime green and had turquoise stripes.

 

Caleb had never seen anything like it. It was such a shame to pick it, knowing the plant would die and no one else would ever set eyes on it again.

 

The heat became intense. Caleb looked around him and saw flames. There was no escape. It seemed the flower would not be the only one to perish. A wall of smoke surrounded him. He began to cough and wheeze. He dropped the box. He fell to his knees and continued to cough. He lay as close to the ground as possible and waited for the end to come. He hoped he would lose consciousness before the flames engulfed him. He closed his eyes.

 

Copyright © 2014 by Vashti Quiroz-Vega. All rights reserved.

Man-on-fire-search-for-the-last-flower

I will be posting Part 6 on Thursday the 30th. I’d love to get some feedback from you. Tell me how you like the series so far in the comment section below. Thank you!

The Search for the Last Flower – (Part 4)

28 Oct

Welcome to the 4th episode of The Search for the Last Flower. I want to thank everyone who’s taken time from their busy schedules to read my series. I appreciate you. ♥ 

* Please be sure to read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 before reading this installment.

 

the-search-for-the-last-flower-art-flower-petals-sparkles-neon-blue-wide

 

 

Dr. Smith’s eyes gleamed with excitement.

 

“During the ceremony, the elder presents a flower. This flower is passed around, and the leaders of each family sniff it and pass it gently over their wives’ faces. It’s almost as if these people worship the flower.”

 

“What flower is it?” Dr. Smith’s pulse raced as he thought of the possibilities.

 

“I don’t quite know. I’ve seen drawings of it done by the tribe’s artists. It’s unlike any blossom I’ve ever seen before…” Caleb’s words drifted, and he seemed in a daze.

 

“Well, what does it look like?” Dr. Smith talked fast and walked in circles at a speedy pace.

 

Caleb was jolted from his stupor. “Oh . . . yes. From what I’ve gathered by looking at the drawings and listening to the people’s descriptions, the flower is large with blue petals. It has a yellow middle and the stem is long, thick and light green. The leaves are striated and small in proportion to the bloom.”

 

“I don’t recall ever having seen a flower such as you described.”

 

“No, you wouldn’t. According to the tribesmen, they are the only ones who have ever seen it. The flower only grows here. Only a few bloom at a time once a year.”

 

“So––I don’t understand. What has this flower to do with these people’s immortality?”

 

“During the ceremony, the flowers are passed around and then the blooms are crushed and consumed.”

 

“So you believe this flower’s properties are what slow down the rate at which these people age?”

 

“Yes, I believe so.”

 

“That has to be it!” Dr. Smith clapped and stared at Caleb, wild-eyed. A few of the natives stopped in their tracks and stared at him.

 

“Shhh! You’re acting like a crazy old man. Do you want to scare them?”

 

“Aren’t you excited? We’re at the threshold of a thrilling discovery. You should be excited.”

 

“I can’t get excited yet. I’m not even sure we’ll be invited to the celebration.”

 

“What?” Dr. Smith frowned. “These flowers are an incredible gift to the world. It’s the cure for aging. This tribe has been selfishly enjoying it for too long. It’s time the world benefitted from such a miracle.”

 

Caleb got to his feet and looked at him, brooding. “And you’re going to be the one to introduce this miracle to the world. Am I right?”

 

Dr. Smith shook his head. “You and I will harvest the properties of this flower and introduce its miraculous benefits to the world––together.”

 

“Listen Andrew, I understand you mean well, but it isn’t going to be that easy.”

 

“Of course, I mean well. Why should the cure for aging stay here in the middle of the Amazon with some jungle tribe?  No one wants to grow old, get sick and die. We can give people eternal youth.” Dr. Smith’s eyes glazed over as he stared sightlessly into the jungle.

 

“Alright, even if we get invited to the celebration, it doesn’t mean they’ll allow us to participate. As a matter of fact, I don’t think it’s very likely that we’ll get anywhere near those flowers.”

 

“I don’t care!” Dr. Smith pounded the palm of his hand with his fist.

 

Caleb gasped and looked around. A few of the tribesmen were staring askance at them. Caleb smiled and waved at them, and they went about their business.

 

“Stop yelling, Andrew. I mean it. You’re going to get us kicked out of this village.”

 

“Alright. But listen––we need to find out where the flowers grow. We need to collect enough of them to create an elixir. An anti-aging tonic that will blow the market sky high.”

 

Caleb stared at him with a disappointed expression.

 

“What? We’re not allowed to make a profit?” Dr. Smith picked up a rock and threw it hard to the ground. Caleb shrugged and looked down. “We’ve been in this stinking jungle for weeks. We’re introducing something magnificent to the world, and we’re going to make a little money in the process. So what? We’re entitled to making a living, aren’t we?”

 

Caleb nodded reluctantly.

 

They gathered as much information as possible from the tribesmen as to the whereabouts of the flowers. The people of this tribe were honest and naïve, and they trusted too much, too quickly. Before long, Caleb knew where the flowers grew.

 

It was nearing the end of the year, and the tribal people were preparing for the harvest and celebration.

 

“So when will these flowers be in bloom?” Dr. Smith asked Caleb.

 

“I have heard the natives mention that the moon will tell them when the flower will bloom.” He breathed on his glasses, creating a film of moisture on the glass, and then wiped the lenses with his t-shirt.

 

“What nonsense is this?”

 

“It isn’t nonsense. They said that on the next full moon the flowers would bloom.”

 

“When is the next full moon?”

 

“Tomorrow night,” Caleb responded with a brittle voice.

 

“What’s the matter with you?” Dr. Smith rolled his eyes, annoyed by Caleb’s demeanor. “We’re so close to accomplishing something amazing, something no one else has been able to achieve in the history of mankind, and you’re pouting!”

 

“This doesn’t feel right, somehow. It feels too much like stealing. These people have welcomed us into their home with open arms, and now we’re going to take their most valuable asset.”

 

“Nonsense!” Dr. Smith opened his blue eyes wide. “These flowers don’t belong to them. They’ve had them for generations. The time has come for the rest of the world to benefit from the flowers’ properties.”

 

“Fine, but everyone should have access, not just the rich.” Caleb stared at Andrew directly in the eye. “I mean it! If I’m to be a part of this, then I want everyone, rich and poor, to benefit from the product we create. Understood?”

 

“I completely agree.” Dr. Smith cocked his head to one side and put his hand over his lips. Caleb narrowed his eyes.

 

The following evening, Dr. Smith met Caleb at the designated rendezvous point. Dr. Andrew Smith brought with him several men carrying powerful guns. A few of the men were carrying 12-gauge semi-automatic shotguns and 45mm assault rifles.

 

Caleb stumbled and gaped at Dr. Smith and his men. He pushed the rim of his glasses up the bridge of his nose. “What’s all this? Are we going to war, or are we going to pick flowers?” The armed men chuckled.

 

Dr. Smith scowled at him. “Do you think these people are just going to hand over these flowers? No––they are not. We need to be prepared for anything. I intend on making my anti-aging elixir, and if I have to wipe out the entire village, then that’s what I’ll do!” Dr. Smith kicked a rock lying near his feet.

 

Caleb combed his fingers through his messy hair and inhaled deeply. “These are a peaceful people.”

 

“Enough, Caleb! You have always lacked the resolve to take the necessary steps to get what you want. You’re weak! I have tried to strengthen and make a man out of you, but you continue to disappoint me!”

 

Caleb felt like his heart was on fire as he listened to the words coming from the man he loved as a father––that for all practical purposes was his father. He stared at Dr. Smith with glistening eyes. “Well, we’ll see how far you get without me and my team.” He turned to leave.

 

Dr. Smith stepped forward and grabbed his arm. “You know I can’t make the elixir without you. Please don’t do this.”

 

“No––you will never be able to extract the properties from this flower to make your precious elixir without me. So I guess there will be no anti-aging tonic for you to make millions from, will there?” Caleb shook his arm free and walked away from him.

 

Dr. Smith gestured to his men and they all pointed their guns at Caleb, who heard the click of multiple guns. He turned and stared at them with a bewildered expression. All color drained from his face.

 

“I’m sorry, my son, but this is too important. This is more vital than you or me. Think of all we could do with the essence of these flowers.”

 

Copyright © 2014 by Vashti Quiroz-Vega. All rights reserved.

tearsofthesun_thesearchofthelastflower_vashtiquiroz-vega

Be sure to stop by tomorrow for the next installment of The Search for the Last Flower.

What did you think of today’s episode? Please let me know in the comment section below.