Flower Power

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Dream POV

I was only 4 when they came to get me. The woman had a simple, lace, long, and unfamiliar style of dress. She had on a pair of black shades and no make-up. She was stunning and was with a man who was the same. He was wearing a simple outfit. He didn't seem to notice to children as they ran up to him, trying to get him to play with him. They both were walking towards the institution until they saw me. They smiled up at me and started to walk in quietness filled the building. All you could hear was the movement of the two people walking through the hallway. Their shoes clicked on the freshly polished hardwood floor.

Curiosity wrapped my brain. I got up from the window to see why these people were there. Some of the girls bumped me or pushed me as I tried to walk through the door. They didn't like me for what I was. It didn't bother me though, I was happy with who I was. Downstairs, there are screams and whispers between the people and the woman who ran the place. I listen further a loud eruption of bangs comes from the room. There is an explosion of screams around me, hot tears stream down my face as I try to run. I don't know where I'm going, but I have to hide before something happens. The other kids around me are crying, hugging each other.

I need to hide somewhere. As I'm running, I feel hands grab me and pick me up swiftly, "you are safe now, my child, going to serve a proper life and service to us."

I've had this dream for a couple of days but, I don't know what to make of it. Sometimes it's me standing outside the door, but others, it's me just in the window. It always ends up with one of the people grabbing and telling me the same thing. I shouldn't think about it too much. They developed back ever since my mother passed.

It's been eleven years since I got to see my real family. I was a stray. I don't remember who they are or where they could possibly be. I was a stray. Some people thought I was a monster, a mistake, or an abomination. A colorful group of people had taken me in as their own when I was about 5.

We aren't the nuclear family you would see on tv. We are more of a big community as well. Our leaders believe in an open marriage, having a creative family, and parenting skills. But to also love everyone as they are and who they are, no matter what.

I just turned fifteen. Turning fifteen is a new point in life for all of us. Once we turn fifteen, courting for marriage or explore my being with different people was our option. I wasn't ready to do that yet. I didn't want to be the person to experiment. I want to find the person to spend my life with and to start a family. Also, to share a plot with my future family with our souls, I don't judge those who experiment and have multiple families. I find it an extraordinary and spiritual awakening for them.

I lay in bed, not wanting to start the day. I lived by myself ever since my mother passed on. I've been very down ever since. I hadn't seen her since she went away for her illness. The only way to keep my spirits up was to stay out of the house to help distract me. I get out of my bed, go outside to the pump, and begin to pump water for my bath.

I can feel the bucket get heavy and head to the bathroom dumping the water in the tub. I take my night-gown off and sit in the cold water and start to bathe. I grab a rag and soap bar, which is the best part about bathing. Our soap is a craft with animal fats, oats, and our souls. I used the souls from my mother's flowers, and when she passed, we dug them up. Her flowers were daffodils. I mixed them with thyme ad mint with the petals for the soap. We also use our petals for candles. It was a very calming experience. I used them when I sit in my home and drink tea at night.

She wasn't my real mother, but she was the best anyone could ask for soon. We didn't get along the first time we were introduced to each other. I soon grew attached to her when I was six. I didn't want to sleep under the same roof as her, neither be touched nor spoken. That only lasted maybe ten days when a first storm hit.

The booming sounds of the thunder didn't help with the fact I was living with a stranger. I ran out of my room, bumping into her tears coming down my face. At that point, I didn't care if she was a stranger. The only thing I wanted at the moment was to feel safe and comforted. The next day I woke up to find her still asleep. When I woke up the next day, she wasn't there.

I panicked and cried, running into the room.

She picked me up. Mother whispered to me, "It's going to be ok, don't cry. I just went to make you a bath." I felt warmth and safety in her arms. I hugged onto her and calmed down.

That had been the day I was comfortable and had a real human connection and a mother. I snapped out of my memory and could feel a tear running down my cheek. I wiped it away and finished up in the tub, grabbing my clothes for the day I get dressed. It was going to be hot today. My hair was already starting to get frizzy. Picking up my brush, I began to comb and give myself two braids. My hair was very kinky and curly, wasn't difficult nor easy to take care of but, managing it is getting better.

Since breakfast was in just thirty minutes, I head out to the communal eating area. Everyone was just getting set up when I see our guru arrive at the table.

She takes a deep breath and smiles, "Good morning, flowers. Today we have newcomers set out to join us this afternoon." I smile and sit down next to some of the teens, "Gardeners need to set out to get the seeds ready so that they can choose the flowers they want." I felt excited. I can't believe new people are coming, but how many? We haven't had new faces since I arrived. When I arrived everyone, and everything was terrifying and overwhelming to me.

"Everyone must wear their ceremony attire and make sure to be at the hall this evening. We need volunteers to decorate the hall." Everyone smiled and cheered, and a few hands went up. Our speaker takes down the names and nods, "Thank you, everyone, this is going to be a spiritual and wholesome day. Enjoy breakfast and have a spiritual day." Everyone responded, "Have a spiritual day."

As she walked away, everyone closed their eyes and raised their hands. I joined, raising my hands, "With our minds and our souls ready to feast, we open our hearts and our souls to you of true spirits." When prayers finish, we hum in harmony. We all grab our forks, looking at my food. The food smelt incredibly exquisite, egg whites with a slice of bread and a bowl of fruits.

Taking a bite, I look up to see Star walking towards the tables, of course, late as always. Star was two years older than me. She was an older sister to me. I didn't say much, but she was very welcoming and talkative. Actually, besides my mother, she was the only person I talked to, also got along with when I first arrived.

Star was the only person I spoke to when my mother died, the only one time. I opened up to her stayed with me after my mother died. Staying up when I had nightmares, crying, and even when I would sit and do nothing the whole time. She didn't mind or care at all. We sat there together in complete comfortable silence.

Star waved and sat down in front of me, "Good day, Dream. What did I miss?" I swallowed my breakfast, "Well, we have new people coming to the community. People to volunteer to decorate the hall are needed. We have to get the seeds ready and picked out. We also must have a spiritual day," I smile, taking a bite out of a strawberry. Star sat straight up, chuckling with a big smile on her face.

She picks up her fork, "That means new and fresh faces. I wonder what kind of people are coming this time?" Most of the teens here had been married or single and exploring their beings and bodies. Star wanted to explore her being but with one person and even start a family. She didn't want to do it with just anyone here. He didn't like most of the boys or girls here. "Don't get distracted. I'm going to need you to help me with everything. Half of the gardeners are helping with the hall and cooking."

She looked up and took a deep breath out, "That means it will take all day to get everything harvested and ready, which gives us little time to get set and looking glorious for the newcomers." I rolled my eyes at her dramatic attitude. "Well, let's hurry up breakfast and set out for the gardens. We can get it all picked and then get ready. Does that sound good to you princess," she smiles with a pout, "Well, let's eat and go work."

We worked for three hours, only five of us working today. The rest were setting up and cleaning for the new arrivals. It's east mid-afternoon, we were all making good time. Which meant we could be done within an hour and get enough time to get ready and help with the finishing touches for the ceremony.

"Do you think that one of us will get the chance of living with one of them? If we do, I want to live with a cute boy. Maybe even a girl to play with." One of the younger workers had lived with her brother and dad. "That is a very great observation. They will probably set them up with people who have room and someone who needs it the most. You are a very caring and polite girl, Sunshine." She smiles and continues to work.

As we finished, we all said goodbye and dropped off our products at the kitchens. Star and I agreed that I would go to her place so that we could both get ready. I just had to grab an outfit, which will be very hard for me. I had a dress my mother and I made for this exact ceremony. It was a simple, lightweight dress. The dress went to my ankles with a spaghetti strap.

It was the color of indigo purple and slightly see-through. I wanted my mother to see me in the dress e had fun making this dress. We worked on this dress until the day she was taken away for her illness.

Reaching my house, I see someone waiting for me. It's Stemtress, the community spiritual guide. She planned the wedding rituals and the ceremonies, just like this one. "Good spirits Dream. Might I speak with you one moment?" I nod, leading her into my home, sitting across from her. "Well, everyone at the council has been discussing who should welcome their homes to the new arrivals, and we thought you would be the perfect person." I smiled.

All I could do was smile. I remember precisely, people who came here are set up with anyone lonely or had the room. Did that mean I was lonely or that I had space? I couldn't have looked too lonely. I tried not to show that side of myself. I shook the thought away, "Oh, I didn't think I would have gotten the honor of sharing my home?" I didn't think of it as anything terrible I just wasn't ready to live with anyone or share my life with another person.

"Well, Dream, we think it could be a healing experience and a spiritual one as well. We all thought it would be even more exciting to introduce you to them with the others tonight." I felt worried, "Do I have to bring more than one person or just the one? I don't want to sound rude." I didn't want to expose myself to someone new and share my feelings with anyone new. Maybe I would enjoy it, would I, though? Her face softened into a worried expression.

"Litt;e petal, we know how hard it's been without your mother. We wanted to have you stay with someone who could help you. Besides, you are now fifteen. Courting is something you should focus on." I didn't know how to feel about this. It sounded like a great idea now that she explained it. That didn't mean I needed that right about now. It would be fun, hopefully.

The Stemtress and I shared our farewells. She reminded me to stop by her office for the seeds. I went to my room and grabbed my clothes and shoes. Why would I need another person in the house? I need to hurry up and head over to Stars' place. She's going to be so shocked to hear the news. I hope whoever is living with me I can relate to or someone that I can mentor.

I wave to the people I see, hoping I didn't look crazy. I reached Stars', heading into her house, "Star, I'm here with some important news to tell you!" I didn't hear anything, but there was singing coming from her room. Of course, she was singing. I sneak into her room, quickly walking up, it doesn't work. "Ha, so funny, you are terrible at trying to sneak around. There's bath water ready for you."

I roll my eyes and head into the bathroom, "Whatever, you won't even guess what happened to me." She came in behind me, "What happened? Di you that two-foot rabbit again?" I undress and laugh, "Hey, that was real, I swear to the gardens of life. But that's not the point the Stemtress said that I have to house someone." I step into the tub and start to scrub my body.

Star runs into the bathroom, "That's good to hear. Maybe they'll pair me with someone older than me or maybe my age and a man." I need to find someone older than me or maybe my age and a man." I need to find someone to start courting with," I rolled my eyes, "I don't know why this is a good thing to you. I don't think I'm ready for someone to move in with me." Star throws a towel at me, "Don't get upset, don't start questioning the decisions.

"Dream, you need this. I can't be the only person you talk to." I look down because I know she's right I don't want to feel like this forever. I'm pretty sure Star doesn't want to hear me vent to her all the time.

I finished up ad got out. Star offered to do my hair, which was going to be fun. Besides my mother and me, Star was great at controlling my hair. Sitting in front of her mirror, she picks up all of my hair. She smiles, "I love when you wear your hair down. You want it up for tonight?" I nod, "It's going to hot tonight. I don't want to be sweating too much." When she starts to do my hair, thoughts about my mother came into my mind.

The first time she ever did my hair, she was frustrated, and I, of course, was very cranky. Mother would go to this lady to learn how to do my hair. I didn't want to think about that. I had to be happy and ready for my new housemate, "So, Dream, do you think a boy will live with you or maybe a girl?"

"Well, a girl wouldn't be that bad. She could never be like you and could never replace you, which means we can have little parties at my place." I thought about it, "I wouldn't have time to think about boys. I'm not ready for that." Star finished with my hair, putting her hands on my shoulders, "You are going to look stunning." I smiled, didn't know what tonight was going to bring.

We go to her room to dress. Stars' dress had been a mixture of colors. It was a long-sleeved dress. The length was to her knees, a very creative dress, as our crafting teacher said. As I put the dress on, a whiff of my mom breezes my nostrils. I drop the dress and sit down. Her scent punched my face. Star noticed me and rushed to my side, "Are you ok?" I nod and stand up. I can't focus on her right now. Getting dressed is what I need to do right now.

I pull my dress over my head, pull it on quickly, stepping over to the mirror. I realized Star hadn't seen the dress. She was in awe. "That dress looks wondrous. Your mother would be so happy to see you in this." I was proud of the dress myself and happy to be wearing it, "Let's grab our things and head out. I don't want to be late."

We both walked in silence until we reached the hall. All the candles glowed, making the room radiant with vines and flowers. Everyone was moving around chairs for the newcomers. Star went to help out. I head to the Stemtress's office. I walk down the hallway when I stop at one of the voices. It's the council.

"Joaquin hasn't been taking care of his flowers. They must be taken and moved. If they stop taking care of their flowers, their souls will live in excruciating pain and torture." What? Why was Joaquin not taking care of his flower? Everyone started to talk over each other, arguing on what to do, "Petals, please calm down. We must not bicker about this now. I have spoken with Joaquin a couple of times, he has shown no remorse, regret, or fear. He must be taken away." What is she talking about? He was a very hard worker in the community, ever since our last storm hit.

Joaquin has been busy with the houses ever since the storm hit us last month. Maybe he skipped our weekly flower ceremonies a couple of weeks. Maybe two months' worth. I didn't think anyone would really notice. It was foremost to take care of them because they are our souls. They're the souls we are given and tied to for life. We spend 30 minutes tending to our flowers each Saturday. I never really spoke to Joaquin, only three times. I only talked with him when he fixed my windows and talked to me about my mother's passing.

"We all agree, during the ceremony, we must take him to the room and calibrate his behavior and plant new flowers."

A wave of fear washed all over me as it came quickly. It went away as the door swung open quickly. People came out of the room. I turn and swiftly start to walk. I went to look for Star. No one ever got into any severe trouble or was punished for it. There was an argument here and there but, it wasn't anything that led to punishment. What did she mean by 'taken to the room'?

My mother was taken to a room when she was sick. I never got to see her when she passed. I need to find Star. I couldn't find her. Walking around, a hand landed on my shoulder, "Hello Dream I was just looking for you. Are you looking for the seeds?" Jumping, I turned to be face-to-face with the Stemtress.



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