Your parents have always been protective of you for as long as you could remember. The entire house was padded even when you grew out of your toddler years. You were homeschooled and someone was always hovering to make sure you didn’t trip or hurt yourself. You thought this was them being irrationally overprotective until one winter day, your hands were so dry that your skin broke. A drop of blood fell to the ground and almost instantly, red flowers bloomed from where it landed.
If there was a word for obsessively overprotective it would describe my parents to a tee. For as long as I could remember they’ve been crazy about my safety. First off, I was never alone. Which one might say isn’t too bad, but I really do mean never. I had a constant shadow. Right now it was an ox of a man called Brutis. I scowled at him as I made my way down the street. I shouldn’t be mad at him. It’s not his fault, but I just wanted to take a quiet walk to get out of the house.
Secondly, I’m home schooled. I have no friends and rarely interact with the outside world. I live like a prisoner locked up in my own home. I experience life through others on YouTube or other social media sites. I’ve made a few virtual friends but I’ve never met them in real life. It’s a lonely existence, especially because my parents work two jobs to be able to pay for the tutors and the bodyguards, so I don’t see them often. Maybe it’s better that I don’t have any real life friends because if they ever came to my house they’d have questions that would mortify me, which leads me to my third reason. My house has padded walls everywhere. This may have seemed somewhat normal when I was a baby, but at 15 years old it was insane.
I never understood why my parents treated me this way. They’ve always been cryptic when it came to the why’s. “You must never get hurt Dalia!” It was what my mother always said to me. In my fifteen years of life, I have never fallen down and hurt myself. Someone was always there to catch me, which was strange. Why would my parents be so obsessed with me falling down? Isn’t it normal for kids to fall and get scrapes and bruises? I shook my head from my thoughts and focused on the path in front of me. It was a beautiful November day. The weather was a bit colder than I was used to but I relished in the feeling of the cold wind whipping against my face. It was so much better than the stifling heat in the house. I was approaching a small playground that was sadly empty due to the cold weather. I frowned momentarily until I realized that since it was so empty I could swing on the swings for a while. I walked over to the swings when I heard Brutis call out a warning to me.
“Dahlia please, you know the rules.” He said with a firm but pleading tone. Sometimes I felt bad for him getting stuck watching me all day.
“C’mon Brutie, there’s no one here. I just want to swing on the swings for a little while. I’m not going to hurt myself sitting here.” I pleaded with him and tried very hard to look innocent. He gave me a slight nod. “Yes!” I ran over to the swings and was overjoyed with the sensation of the swing in the open air. Something so small that most people took for granted was a source of great joy and happiness for me. For a moment I could forget that I was here with a bodyguard, and I was a constant prisoner in my own home. It was such a freeing feeling. I savored every minute that I spent on that swing. Ten minutes later Brutis was clearing his throat trying to get my attention. I knew that my time was up. Just to mess with him, I jumped off the swing at the last minute. His eyes widened as he held his hands out. I landed squarely on my feet and laughed at him. I knew he was mad at me, but I saw the slight lift of his lips as if he was amused and trying to hide it.
I was just outside of the little playground when I noticed my hands felt really tight. Maybe it was the flimsy set of gloves I had on that didn’t protect my hands well enough. My skin was extremely dry. As I inspected my hands I realized that the skin broke and there was a drop of blood welling up in the crack. I was fascinated. I had never seen myself bleed before, at least not that I could remember. I pumped my hand increasing the amount of blood flow to that one spot making the droplet bigger. It was a stupid thing to be fascinated with honestly, but I couldn’t remember the last time I saw my own blood. It was then that Brutis came up behind me to see what I was doing. When he saw the drop of blood about to fall he screamed, “Dahlia no!”
His reaction confused me. I looked up into his face as he paled. Emotions crossed his face rapidly; regret, fear and apprehension. I couldn’t understand why. Before I could register what was going on he had a bandage out and was wrapping my hand with a quickness I didn’t know the big brute possessed. When he was done he looked down and was horrified. He stumbled back a few steps as he took in big shaky breaths running his hands through his thick brown hair. “Fucking hell”, he muttered.
I looked down to see what horrified him and saw a cluster of crimson flowers where the single drop of blood landed. They were truly beautiful. I ran my fingers over the petals enjoying the smooth, silky texture. I wondered briefly where they came from. I knew I didn’t see them when we came in earlier. Then it dawned on me. That one drop of blood created these flowers? I looked up at Brutus and could see the truth in his eyes. He reached into his pocket and produced a garden spade and a plastic bag. He tossed them over to me and told me to dig up the flowers and put them in the bag. My eyebrows furrowed down at the items at my feet. They were just flowers.
“Please Dahlia, I’ll explain later. Just dig the flowers up and put them in the bag carefully.”
I blew out a frustrated breath and cocked an eyebrow at him. This was weird, but he looked nervous and scared. I’d never seen him look like that. He kept fidgeting and darting looks from side to side. He was starting to make me nervous. I picked up the spade and dug a small hole in the ground to completely remove the offending flowers. I opened up the plastic baggie and dropped it in. I went to give it to Brutis and he took two steps back and held up his hands in a surrender type of motion.
“You have to carry it Dahlia, only you can touch the flowers.”
Ugh, was he being cryptic on purpose? I rolled my eyes at him as I put the baggie in my jacket pocket. “Are you going to tell me what’s going on now?” I stomped my foot on the ground as I stared up into his face.
He shook his head no. “Not here. We will talk when you get home. For now I need to notify your parents. Let’s get going.” He left no room for argument as he took out his phone and started making phone calls. I was still forced to walk in front of him but every time I slowed down to look at him, he always stayed a good five feet behind me. It was like he was afraid to be close to me. I huffed out a frustrated breath as I stomped all the way back home. As soon as I walked through the door I was accosted with hostility followed by rapid fire questions from my mother while my father watched from his chair sipping scotch from a glass tumbler. So this is what it took to get them home?
“What did you do? How many times have I told you to be more careful? Why did you even leave the house?” Mom was staring at me with a mix of fear and anger crossing her face. I was totally bewildered by her reaction.
“I didn’t do anything mom!” I waved my hand at her with the bandage on it. “The skin on my hand got too dried out and it cracked. That’s it. Then one drop of blood fell into the earth and these flowers grew out of that spot.” I took out the bag and offered it to her. She also stepped back and refused to be anywhere near the flowers. This only heightened my confusion. What was the deal with these blood flowers?
“What the hell is going on!?” I yelled into the room. My anger and frustration getting the best of me, as I was tired of being ignored or put off. I felt the angry tears burning in the back of my eyes.
My dad was up and out of his chair. He kneeled in front of me and lightly took my hands in his. “Dahlia look at me, and listen to what I have to tell you.” I took a deep breath trying to calm my raging emotions down. I looked into my father’s kind eyes and instantly felt calmer.
Once he sensed that I was ready, he continued. “When you were just a little girl maybe 2 years old, you were running around the house chasing after our dog. You weren’t watching where you were going and slammed right into the dining room table. The table was made of glass and while you were okay and would have a rather large bump on your head you also started bleeding from the small gash that was created from the hit. It couldn’t have been more than a few drops, but that was all it took to fill the entire dining room floor with those red flowers. At first we were in awe at the beautiful flowers your blood seemed to create until our dog had ventured into the dining room and started pawing and sniffing at the flowers. He ended up eating one before we realized it, he died a few hours later. When we had people come in to help us remove the flowers most of them ended up in the hospital. We learned very quickly that those flowers that you can create are extremely poisonous. The poison is incredibly effective and leaves no trace behind in their blood system. Doctors were stumped at what made the people who helped us sick. We never told anyone that the flowers came from your blood. There is only one person outside of this house that we ever trusted with this information. He was a friend and he didn’t know the flowers came from your blood, but we gave him the flowers to analyze. It’s been one of our biggest regrets as he has constantly hounded us over the years for more flowers and information. He’s even gone as far as to have us followed. We are afraid of what might happen if he or the government found out about your blood and that you are the source of the poisonous flowers. What kind of weapon might be created with that poison? What would they do with you? That is why we have kept you hidden and were always so careful about you getting hurt.”
I fell back into the sofa absorbing what he said. I couldn’t believe it, though I guess now it made sense. My parents both watched me silently waiting for me to say something when the door flew open and Brutis stormed in. He looked ashen and frantic. “We missed a cluster of flowers! Another drop must’ve fallen when we were distracted on the way home. Three people are in the hospital, and he knows. He’s on his way now.”
My eyebrows drew down in confusion. I had a bandage on. I looked down at my hand and could see the red spot on the bandage. It must’ve seeped through. Well shit! Now what?