With sickness dragging at my bones, my throat, and the pit of my stomach, I shambled through a flower market nestled in the heart of an unfamiliar region. As I was new to the area, I didn’t know where to find the plant I needed. That plus the language barrier meant this market was my last hope.
Hand on aching stomach, I peered into every stall with swollen eyes. None had the right herb. At least, I hoped I hadn’t just missed it because my eyes hurt so much.
But on the edge of the market, I came across a man selling dried flowers. They hung on a slim metal wrack, upside down in bunches of several kinds. Each bundle tied with a neat tag explaining their contents in that unfamiliar language. But it didn’t matter, because I spotted the very remedy I sought.
Pointing to the bunch I wanted, the seller and I exchanged money for dry, rustling flowers. The moment I had them, I popped a blue, star-shaped blossom into my mouth.
The seller gifted me a surprised look.
Powder puffed across my tongue, tasting like the sky and rainwater. I sighed with relief.
Miming eating and then throwing up, the seller said a strange word that I guessed meant ‘poisonous.’
“Oh, is it?” I asked, crunching down on another flower. “Huh.”
Recognizing my language, he said, “Make trouble?”
I shook my head, feeling so much better already. At least I could see him now without a blurry film over my eyes. “Not at all.”
Smiling tightly at me, the seller made a ‘stay there’ motion and walked off toward a nearby herbalist. I took the opportunity to slip away before someone decided to pump my stomach.
Besides, the flower had made me drowsy. I needed a nap.
A special thank-you to Jenette Baker for your support on Patreon! You are the best. Friend to all creators. Thank you so much, again and again.
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Little Blue Marble 2022: Warmer Worlds
Featuring “I Hope This Email Does Not Find You!”
The last eight years have been the warmest on record.
Little Blue Marble‘s anthology of speculative climate fiction and poetry from an international slate of authors mourns and hopes in equal measure for the fate of our world and its ecosystems.
May these visions of the future inspire collective action before climate chaos becomes irreversible.
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