Monday, August 13, 2012

Bloom Chapter 11

Welcome to Tighty Writie.  I hope you have been following along with the blogvel titled Bloom.  It's been great fun to write chapter 11.  Last weeks chapter can be found at Demeter Diaries and next week's chapter 12 can be found at the ever lovely Suzanne Payne's blog.  For a full list of the chapters, please check out Michelle Simkins blog.

And here we go....

Chapter 11
“What are you waiting for?” Jamie’s mom yelled at them.  “Wanda, I need you over here now!”
Jamie’s head swiveled toward Wanda, his mouth hanging open in stupefaction. “You know my mom?” he asked in a whisper, dropping his hand from hers.
“We might have met a couple of years ago before I started working at TS Labs,” Wanda muttered.  “We really don’t have time for this now.  I need to help your mom, and you need to make a decision.  Are you going to protect the plants, or protect people?  The decision you make really does determine if you are an Evil Genius, or just a Genius.”
Jamie’s mom turned back toward the shrubs that were moving closer to the Hummer.  She had the spray nozzle set and the pump was primed.  The two shrubs advanced on the vehicle and Jamie’s mom sprayed them with the chemical.  There was a hissing noise and the leaves that had been contacted by the spray began to shrivel and turned from green to a brown color.  “It’s working Jane, you’re doing great.” whooped Wanda as she jumped from the roof of the Jeep to the hood and then to the ground.  “Are there more packs in your car?”
“Yes, I think I have five with plenty of refill canisters with me.  John has more but he’s on the other side of town making sure they haven’t multiplied too quickly and surrounded the town.”  Wanda ran to the Hummers back door and grabbed a canister set.   She strapped it on her back and started priming the pump.  Jamie was still standing gawk-eyed at his mother.  “You mean dad’s here too?”
“Of course your father’s here, Jamie.” His mother yelled over the hissing of the chemical spray connecting with the shrubs.  She continued to spray the shrubs while trying to explain but it took a lot of effort. “We left to protect you, but obviously that didn’t work.  You must have already been adjusted before we left.  We didn’t realize it.  It was only later that we realized the adjustment wouldn’t show its effects until people became adults.  By then we had already left and you guys were doing so well with Gran.  We thought we had gotten away in time and that you guys weren’t affected.  We stayed away to keep you safe.”
Wanda climbed on top of the Hummer and joined Jane in the chemical spray fight.  The hedges were trying to regroup and figure out another way around the car to get toward town.  More hedges were coming out of the forest and were starting to converge on the Hummer.  Jamie glanced down at the road and saw that the back door of the Jeep was open.  Jessica is no longer in the car, Jamie thought with panic.  Had the hedges gotten to her and turned her again?  He felt panic in his heart as he glanced all over to find his sister.  He finally saw her at the back of the Hummer.  She was strapping on a canister set and was pumping the handle.  She looked weak but determined.  A surge of fondness and pride leapt in Jamie’s heart and he realized that he couldn’t have it both ways.  The plants were wonderful, scientific, and amazing, but they were killing people.  They had tried and were trying to kill people he loved.  He had to make a decision.
Jamie jumped from the jeep and ran to the Hummer to grab a pack.  He strapped it on as he was running and skirted around to the back of the hedges.  He had seen that Jessica had gone this way and it made perfect strategic sense to him.  Surround the hedges, and hit them with the chemicals from all sides.  He joined his sister and started spraying the hedges.  Jessica glanced at him and threw him a quick smile.  Maybe in time she would forgive him for hurting her.  The hissing continued for quite awhile until the hedges had been subdued and turned into shriveled brown leaves.  Jane went to the back of the Hummer and grabbed a leaf blower with a large bag attached.  “This actually vacuums up the leaves so we can haul them away and incinerate them properly,” said Jane.  She made quick work of bagging the leaves and Jamie and Wanda put the bags in the back of the Hummer. 
“Okay, this is probably the first time that I’ve ever said this, but, here it goes.  I don’t understand what’s going on Mom,” Jamie said with chagrin.
“Oh Jamie, it’s such a long story and of course you don’t understand.  All this time, you thought you were an Evil Genius and it was your destiny to experiment with the plants.  But it’s not true.  You were adjusted to believe that.  How do I explain this?  It’s like you were programmed.  Yes, that’s a good analogy.   You were programmed.  Did you ever notice your interest in plants was very sudden?”
“Well, I hadn’t thought of it that way, but yeah.  I guess so.  I just got this idea one day in high school that I should start looking at the biological properties of plants and see if I can make improvements to them.  I always thought it was because Gran wanted something to keep her garden healthy.”
“You’re a good boy Jamie,” Jane said.  Both Wanda and Jessica turned to Jamie with smirks on their faces.  “You just wanted to please Gran, but you were not really in control of these impulses.  Come on, we need to get moving and get into town to see if there’s any damage there.”
“But I need more explanation.  What was it that programmed me?  Why me?”
Jane put her arm around Jamie’s shoulder and started toward the car.  “Why don’t you ride with me in the Hummer and Wanda and Jessica will follow in the jeep.  I’ll fill you in and Wanda will fill in Jess.  Wanda, grab a couple of refill canisters in case you have to stop along the way to deal with some of our botanical friends.”
Jessica glanced with envy at Jane’s arm around Jamie, but she silently agreed that she should ride with Wanda.  If Wanda was willing to stab her repeatedly with straight forward jabs, she wouldn’t hold any punches on telling her what was going on either.  And Jessica needed to know.
“So spill it,” Jessica said as they strapped themselves into the front seat of the Jeep.  “What is the story, and don’t hold anything back.  I need to understand what’s going on.”
Wanda peered at Jessica out of the corner of her eye, nodded, and looked back at the road.  “You’ve changed.  I don’t mean into a plant or anything.  I mean, I can see that you’ve grown up in the last couple of hours.  Having nearly been turned into a plant and then fighting for your life can speed up the process to adulthood a little bit, I guess.”
“So tell me then.  I’m ready,” Jessica said heatedly.
Wanda proceeded to tell the story of how she was a bored college whiz kid in New Mexico and met Jane and John at a science museum.  They hadn’t even noticed her at first.  They were in a heated debate while standing over an exhibit of lush plants and descriptions of their genus.  They started talking about escaping just in time from the director of TS Labs.  Apparently, the director had tried to convince them to work on a secret plant project and they left before he could force them to work on it. 
But they were worried about their kids they had left behind.  One of them had apparently started to work with plants and that was just too suspicious to them.  They couldn’t decide if it was safer for the kids for them to stay away or to come back.  Wanda had jumped into their conversation and said that she could help.  They didn’t want to do it, but she was bored and threatened to expose this situation if they didn’t include her in their plans.  Jessica was impressed by the audacity a young Wanda must have displayed.
“So my parents were aware that Jamie was starting to work on the plants?” Jessica asked. 
“Yep, they kept up with you guys from a distance.” Wanda agreed.  “And they realized that the director had programmed Jamie when he had visited to convince them to work on the plants.  I guess he had given Jamie a piece of candy and that’s how they think he put the program virus in him.  They thought it would be helpful if I went to the same college and started to work at TS Labs.  I was bored and it sounded like a cool secret mission, so I agreed.  It was easy since I had such good grades.  The school and the lab were both excited to have me.  Let’s be honest, Jamie was excited to have me too,” Wanda finished with a gleam in her eye.
“So dating my brother is just part of your mission?  To stay close?” Jessica asked in anger for the brother that stabbed her a couple of hours ago.  She rolled her eyes at her own loyalty.
“Well, at first.  But then I realized how awesome he was.  He really is so smart and he’s fun.  I wasn’t bored anymore.  And he thought of me as more than a pretty face.  He actually liked my brain.  He wasn’t intimidated.  So it became even more important for me to watch him.  His plants were his side passion but I knew he was actually being influenced by the director of the lab.  He wanted Jamie to create these plants to be bio-weapons.  They could remove a ‘person of interest’ so to speak if they were getting in the way of the directors political agenda.”
“By removing a person, you do mean assassinate, correct?” asked Jessica. 
“That’s the term your parents use, yes,” Wanda responded.  “It’s really a pretty fascinating method for removing your enemies.  No one would guess a thing and everyone would have an alibi.  It would be like the person just disappeared.  But there would be no suspects. And it wouldn’t appear to be foul play.  It’s genius really.  It’s Evil Genius.”
“But why did it start here?  Why my little town?”
“Well, that was a mistake, I think.  The director didn’t realize that Jamie had moved his experiments outside of the lab.  They were still in the infancy stages and weren’t ready for a trial.  But Jamie knew he’d had success in your Gran’s garden and even in the woods when he was in high school and thought this was a great place to see how the plants thrived.  He didn’t know they were going to be a weapon.  He thought they were going to work toward reducing global warming and the effects on the environment caused by people.  He was trying to save the world.  What better place to try it than where he had people that he loved.  He just liked calling himself an Evil Genius because he was manipulating natural organisms.”
“If that’s the truth, why was he so resistant to killing them earlier.  He wanted to save them!  Even when he knew they had killed people.” Jessica quickly wiped her eyes and glanced out the front window at the Hummer in front of them.  Wanda had been telling her story but not meeting her eye.  She had been intent on evaluating the woods on the sides of the road for any possible moving plants. 
“Well, a mother loves her child even when he does something wrong, you know?  I think he was just feeling responsible for these plants and thinking he still had a way to control them and turn them for good.  I’m sure that now that he’s heard your mom’s story about the director, he’s going to feel very differently towards his babies.  They won’t be his babies anymore.”  The brakes on the Jeep screeched and the car slid sideways as Wanda crested a hill and saw that they Hummer was stopped by more hedges and a few trees in the road.
“Let’s go prune some shrubs, Jessica!” Wanda yelled as she exited the Jeep and slung her chemical pack on her back.

7 comments:

Jennifer Merritt said...

That was great fun, Kellie!

J. Lea Lopez said...

Great job! I can see things starting to come together, but there's definitely still some room for twists and turns through the end.

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