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3.11.2003 by Rosemary, every Tuesday.

This story is... flowery, in a lot of ways. I don't use this style much any more but I figured this kind of story was a good idea in these cold, snowy, cloudy times. I hope you like it.

Also, I'm not at all sure that anyone will respond, but I'd love to have a graphic up for this story, a nice, rich, maybe inside-a-flower picture. Do any of you wonderful graphically-inclined people want to give it a shot?

Khristoph was interested in flowers. He lived in a small town called Viennes in the Canopic countryside, where several species of plant bloomed at different times, so that there were flowers year-round in an ever-shifting display of colour. Khristoph also had a wife, a red-haired woman who was more interested in the morph and blend of sun and shadows on the hillsides than in the slower changes of the flowers. Her name was Vikka.

Vikka recalled the first few years of her marriage to Khristoph as "practical bliss". It was seamless partnership with sparkling romantic twists and a healthy independence. Vikka was a dreamer and Khristoph more of a mathematical leaning, yet they enjoyed enough gentle mornings and soft whispers to keep the woman's sense of magic alive. Then, one spring, Khristoph set himself to cleaning the cabin's root cellar, where he encoutered an ancient book left by the previous occupant. It was called Y Flours.

The book detailed a magical process which would result in the conversion of Khristoph's favourite flower, Supervious gracilis var. pendrickii, into a year-round bloomer. Furthermore, the process would allegedly result in blossoms that changed colour, generating hues that shifted like rich shadows across the wide soft petals.

Khristoph set himself to the task with a superhuman will. Almost overnight he became an altered man - his every thought, his every move involved Supervious. On the mantle, vials of pollen replaced the seashells Vikka had collected during their honeymoon to Camargne. Khristoph built a greenhouse and began sleeping in it so that he could keep careful tabs on the plants in the early morning. It took Vikka two months to teach herself to sleep alone again as she had in her idealistic, shivering teenage years.

One morning at breakfast Khristoph announced, without looking up from his coffee, that he would be spending the next month sequestered in the greenhouse. The instructions demanded it, he said. The ensuing silence forced him to raise his eyes and scan the room; it was then that he noticed Vikka had left minutes before to take the milk from the doorstep.

The next morning began Khristoph's month in exile. Vikka decided to keep her mind off a strange growing, bleeding sadness by cleaning out the root cellar once more. It was there that she discovered a second magical book, this one called Y Vikke. It also contained somewhat detailed and demanding instructions. Vikke thought hard for five days and five nights before finding herself resolute enough to follow them.

When Khristoph finally emerged from the greenhouse, he was vaguely triumphant, but troubled by an unplaceable sense of loss. The Supervious were indeed flowering in shifting colours of an astonishing beauty, but Khristoph was neither settled nor content. "Vikka," he called wearily, expecting to find her in the living room. It was empty. The bedroom, too, was empty, the bath, the kitchen. Worried now, Khristoph went out the front door and searched around towards the back yard. There was no Vikka, but something had changed: a new plant had sprung up in the West corner of the yard.

It was a splendid tree, taller than the tallest bush of Supervious in the greenhouse. Each jade leaf was a heart-shaped perfection, each compound blossom a doorway to ingenious hidden worlds. And shockingly, although not Supervious, every flower on this tree was a canvas for changing colours, all the subtle and varied gold, green, and violet shades of a hillside in sun and shadow.

Khristoph was aghast, then vaguely frustrated with the energy he had thrust into his month-long effort - all a waste, since this new tree was more than the sum of his efforts. He forgot Vikka as he returned to his house to search for a camera. He hunted through the drawers in each room of the house with remarkable speed; his heart was racing with the hope that he could frame the particular light striking the tree at that particular time, and capture it for himself.

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