Dandelion Crowns and Paper Butterflies

The Bright Side

Two hours later, Flore is lying on her mattress, in the attic of the farm. Winston had apologized for not getting her a sleeping bag, but she told him that he didn't mind sleeping here, and that he didn't have to get her a sleeping bag. They had wished each other goodnight and had gone to sleep.

Flore pulls her knees up to her chest, nestling herself on the comfortable mattress.

She has survived her first day in the Glade, and it was exactly the way Winston had said it: a hell of a first day.

She has heard about people dying in the Maze and nearly witnessed it with her own eyes.

She has made a fantastic – that is a sarcastic thought – first impression on Newt, and maybe Josiah, too.

But, at that moment, she learns something about herself; she is Flore, and she is used to looking on the bright side of things.

Come on, Flore, a little voice inside her head says. It wasn't that bad, was it?

She smiles.

Of course it wasn't that bad. She has learned a lot today, thanks to Alby – even though he probably wanted to do something else than leading her around.

She has talked a lot to Winston and Tim, making her think that maybe, even after only one day, she has made some new friends.

It is a good start.

Yawning, she closes her eyes.

Maybe, when I've gotten used to being here, she thinks, this place won't be so bad after all.

Her dream begins with a woman and a young girl, facing each other as they sit around a table.

The girl has red hair in a ponytail – Flore realizes that it must be herself, a couple of years younger. This must be a memory.

Her ten-years-old self looks at the woman, and Flore involuntarily follows her look.

The woman's grey-blond hair is tied back in a tight chignon at the back of her head. It looks like it pulls her face flat; Flore can't see any wrinkles, though she knows that the woman is fifty years old. The woman's face is so fascinating that Flore only realizes that the woman has said something when her thin lips move.

"Did you hear me, Florilene?" she asks.

Wait. Florilene? That's not my name, Flore thinks, but she doesn't say anything.

The younger Flore – Florilene? – nods.

"Yes, Miss Paige," she says politely, her voice even higher than it is now. "I did hear you. You said that I had to listen closely, because this'll be shown to my older self when my memory has been wiped."

Flore frowns.

That's just weird.

The woman – Miss Paige, as Florilene had called her – nods.

"That is right, Florilene," she says. "You will get a couple of missions, when you are fourteen years old, in the Maze. You will have to fulfil them."

"And what if I don't?" Florilene asks, her hands fidgeting at the sleeves of her shirt.

Miss Paige smiles, as if she expected her to ask that question.

"Then we will make something bad happen to you, or to someone you love."

That sentence scares Flore. "Then we will make something bad happen to you, or to someone you love." She doesn't know who 'we' is, but she feels like she doesn't want to know that.

Florilene looks down, and Flore feels a sting of pity for the younger girl, even though she knows that she is looking at herself.

"Okay," the younger girl says, quieter than first. "What is the first mission I'll have to fulfil?"

Miss Paige smiles.

"We will start with an easy one," she says, and Flore feels like she has to pay even more attention, now. "Your first mission is to become a Slicer. You will have to be good with a knife if you want to fulfill all missions."

Flore wonders what that's supposed to mean, but the dream already starts to fade, and it doesn't take long before black sleep takes over her mind.

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