The Corpse Flower clutched its hidden treasure tightly, leaves interlocking in a steely grip. The flower would bloom in its own time. It would not be rushed or stopped in this biological imperative, any and all obstacles would be overcome. The evolution of hundreds of thousands of years had brought it this far, there would be no turning back.
This particular flower had not bloomed in over forty-seven years. Forty-seven summers had seen it closed off to the world, forty-seven seasons of a quiet, dormant existence. Life in all its thoughtless cruelty and euphoric joy danced around the Corpse Flower in ten thousand permutations, never once making any kind of impression upon it.
When it did bloom, it would be quite a spectacle, pent-up energy accumulated over a lifetime bursting into macabre fruition. The Corpse Flower would open, gloriously blood-red and rancid, the smell of rotting flesh and death emanating from its core. Seeds from its exultant debut would be quickly absorbed into the atmosphere, tiny imprints destined to grow into their own splendor, carried away like whispered prayers on a current of wind to take root and begin anew.
Upon reaching the end of its cycle, the Corpse Flower would dig deeper, entrenching itself even further and biding its time for another season of blooming. It would go on like this indefinitely, weathering any attack with the sheer, dogged persistence that marked its place in an imperfect world.
If by chance it should die, the Corpse Flower’s children would grow and flourish, carrying on its legacy until it became their time to bloom, the cycle beginning all over again. Relentless and resolute, the Corpse Flower would cling to life until there was absolutely no life left.
Only death would separate it from its gruesome task, but then death was its ultimate goal. For only in death would the Corpse Flower finally win the evolutionary battle, killing itself in the process in a blaze of futile, apocalyptic glory.
The Corpse Flower would be triumphant.
To my Family and Friends:
This is a status update I never believed in my wildest dreams I would have to write. It has been quite a battle, but sadly, I have come to the end of the road. The cancer that was in remission is back and has spread. There are no more options for me. As many of you know, I was first diagnosed five years ago and have fought the good fight. My hair is non-existent and I probably could light up like a Christmas tree from all the radiation and chemo, but with great effort, I did go into remission twice. Those days were quite a party, let me tell you (what happens at the remission party stays at the remission party–you know who you are!) However, when I went in for my latest checkup, they found a new tumor. God only knows when or how in the hell this one grew, but it is a big one, the size of a softball. It seems I have used up my lifetime supply of chemotherapy (who knew there was such a thing?) so now there is nothing to do but let nature take its course. The doc says I have a month, maybe more. I might make it to my 48th birthday, but who knows? Thanks to those who have stood by me through all of this, I couldn’t have made it this far without you. Stop by and see me anytime but make it quick! We can share a beer (or two or three or…) and talk about better days. Live every day like it is your last because, well you know. I hope one day cancer dies its own well-deserved death–never give up fellow warriors! Love to you all until we meet again in this life or the next…
Your battle-scarred, but eternally hopeful friend,
Banner Image: Corpse Flower – By KugelaP [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, from Wikimedia Commons
2 thoughts on “Corpse Flower by A. Elizabeth Herting”
Echoes of Poe’s The Conquerer Worm. Effective metaphor brought home hard by Steve’s heartfelt letter.
Hi A Elizabeth,
Dave has mentioned Poe and the first part really did feel that way.
To have two totally separate styles of writing but make them click together is so skilful and beautifully judged.
One of your best!!!