Dandelion Crowns and Paper Butterflies

Paper Butterflies

That night, Winston is lying on the floor, in the Homestead, in his sleeping bag, next to the bed where Flore is lying on.

She is still unconscious, just like when Minho carried her through the South Door, into the Glade. She was lying in the Runner's arms, her red hair like a waving flag. She had looked even smaller than usual.

Winston remembers the worry and fear he felt then very well. He had literally dropped everything he was doing and had sprinted towards her.

He had expected her to be covered in blood, but she was unharmed, apart from the Griever stings and a ripped-apart tank top. She looked rather peaceful, as if she was just sleeping, but it still feels like Winston's stomach is filled with nervous butterflies.

Not 'just' nervous butterflies; paper butterflies, and they are making tiny paper cuts inside his body.

He turns to lie on his side.

After that, they had walked towards the Homestead. A lot of Gladers had come to look, and their talking had echoed over the Glade.

"What happened?"

"It's that stupid girl again. She got stung."

"How? She isn't even supposed to be in the Maze!"

"Maybe she went into it."

"Why would you go into the Maze on purpose?"

"I have no shucking idea."

And when Tim started to freak out by seeing Flore's limp body, Winston had yelled that they all had to shut up. The loud talking annoyed him; he just wanted some silence, and time to worry.

Which he didn't get until now, for he refused to leave Flore's side.

He was there while the Med-Jacks were checking on her – Jeff said that she was going to be perfectly fine – and when some Gladers came visiting. Flore didn't get many visitors – not many Gladers knew her personally, for she had only been there for five days – but Newt came, and Minho, and some curious shanks who were chased away by Winston soon after they came into the room.

Winston smiles a little in the darkness. Flore surely would have liked to see that. Winston had sprinted after the curious Gladers, who were a little younger than most of the others. They had squeaked like little girls. Winston had to chase them all the way out of the Homestead, because the three boys kept coming back.

And Newt... Newt looked even more worried than Winston. Winston had to ensure him that Flore was going to be all right, but he feels like he didn't do quite a good job. Flore would've done it much better.

Winston wonders what she has said to Newt to make him forget that she has talked about Lauren on her first day. She has probably told him something amazing. Everything about Flore is amazing, and Winston is really happy that she is alive and all right.

With that happy feeling, he closes his eyes and falls asleep.

Flore is standing in a white hallway. Each wall is lined with grey-painted doors.

This is the WICKED Headquarters, she thinks, though she doesn't know how she knows that.

She doesn't have time to figure that out; someone walks past her. A redheaded, slender and small girl, who Flore immediately recognizes as Florilene, her own younger version. She is a little older, now, though; twelve, maybe thirteen years old.

The younger girl walks past Flore, quietly humming a song, and Flore feels like she has to follow her, so she does. Florilene turns around a corner, and then she suddenly stands still. Flore nearly bumps into her, though she knows that that isn't even possible.

She looks over the head of the shorter girl.

The door at the end of the corridor is standing open. Flore can see the back of a woman with grey-blond hair in a chignon.

Miss Paige.

A black-haired, small figure is crouched next to the door, out of Miss Paige's sight. She feels her eyes grow huge as she sees the knife in the boy's hand.

Wait a minute, Flore's brain says. That's...

She thinks it at the moment that Florilene sprints towards him.

"Winston!" she hisses. "What are you doing?"

The boy turns around to her. It is indeed Winston, and he doesn't look very happy.

"Leave me alone, Florilene," he snaps, quiet enough for Miss Paige not to hear it. "I have to do this on my own."

Florilene gasps as she realizes it. "You're not gonna kill her, are you?"

"Shh!" Winston hisses, bending forward; he is about to throw the knife at Miss Paige.

Wait a minute, Flore's brain screams. That can't be Winston. He would never do something like that.

"Winston! Don't!" Florilene whispers, pulling at the older boy's arm. "I know Miss Paige's a bitch, but you can't just kill her!"

Winston pulls himself loose.

"I said: leave me alone!" he hisses, starting to lose his patience. "I have to do this, before they can put us in the Maze!"

"But..." Florilene protests, and that is the last straw. Winston finally loses his temper.

A low growl escapes from his gritted teeth, and he slashes the knife across Florilene's ribs. The cut isn't deep, but Flore can see on her younger version's face that Winston has done something unforgiveable.

While blood stains the rip in her jumper, Florilene turns around. No word or even sound leaves her throat as she walks away.

The vision stays long enough for Flore to see that Winston throws the knife at Miss Paige, and misses.

Then the memory disappears, leaving Flore alone in the endless darkness.

Continue Reading Next Chapter

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.