(The following is a preview of my second novel, Origami Bones, currently in-progress. The story follows a nurse at an assisted living facility who discovers one of her patients is Mother Earth, and what that means for both her and humanity at large.
Note that it is largely unedited, so errors are expected. This will be available to read until the novel is complete, at which point it will be removed as I begin querying.)
Yua breathed in the cloying scent of the pollen from the flowering plants around her. The bushes and flowers were in full bloom, the pinks, whites, purples and reds spattering the green leaves blanketing the edges of the walkways. It felt like if she followed the path she would find her way to another world, the sun shining on the speckled gray tiles lighting her way.
She followed the brick through the gardens, expecting to have to work to find Adda, but was surprised to find her fairly quickly. She was dancing again, her movement fluid and unabated by the creaks that normally accompanied her every action, moving between a graceful spin and a timid raising of the hands to the sun, as if beseeching it for it’s rays to shine on the earth. Her eyes were closed despite the uneven footing. Yua was torn between not interrupting and her patients safety. Surely if she tripped it could cause Adda injury? But the woman before he was nothing like the frail, sickly woman she’d wheeled around in the wheelchair the past fortnight.
Making a decision, she pressed the call button on her radio. “I found her,” she says into the mic clipped to her shirt. “We’re in the garden. We’ll stay here a few more minutes then be back in.” She doesn’t listen for a reply.
Adda doesn’t seem surprised to have heard her, continuing her dance, turning now in something like the judo poses her uncle tried to teach her before standing en pointe—in slippers!—and then settling down onto her heels in first position.
The moment lingers, and Yua notices a quake in Adda’s knees begin to take hold. She looks around for the wheelchair, spotting it along the edge of the semi-circle the break in the path created. She quickly moves to grab the handles and rolls it behind Adda. Just in time as her legs collapse, landing her in the seat of the chair with a creak of the seat at the abuse. Adda was breathing hard, a shakiness in her breath that has Yua concerned.
“You shouldn’t push yourself so hard,” she said, and pulled the earpiece out of her ear so she could replace it with her stethoscope. She laid the metal end on Adda’s chest, and listened carefully to the breath in her lungs. “What possesses you to come out here to do that? You could hurt yourself. You’re not as young as you used to be.” She let the stethoscope fall from Adda’s chest and hung the whole contraption around her neck, confident it was only exertion. Nothing to be concerned about.
“Adda must dance,” she said, her tone vehement even through her wheezing.
Yua stood, placed her hands on her hips. “That’s fine, but you can dance inside where one of us can watch you. The brick out here is unsteady and hard, you could hurt yourself. And you certainly shouldn’t do it alone, one of us needs to spot you.”
Adda shook her head. “It must be here. The flowers. I must make the flowers grow.”
Yua opened her mouth, a retort on her tongue, but it fell from the tip unsaid. Confused. What was that supposed to mean? She leaned forward so she was on the balls of her feet, knees bent, face to face with Adda. “You believe you make the flowers grow, Adda?”
There was a look in those wise eyes the likes of which Yua had never seen. It was timeless, old, but old in the way of age but old in the way of wisdom. Beyond time. Her smile was mischievous.
“Adda does not make the flowers grow. I do.” Adda looked beyond Yua’s shoulder, and she turned to follow her gaze.
Yua stood to get a better view, not trusting her eyes. Then she moved closer, then closer yet. She reached to the flower, held her hand an inch above where the tip of the petal reaches to the sky.
Ten seconds later, the flower petal touched her fingertips, then surpassed it’s height.
She could see the flowers growing before her eyes.
“This is impossible,” she whispered. “This can’t be real.” She watched flowers grow around where her arm still held steady, blooming around her fingers, some leaves even grasping through the wedges between her fingers.
She pulled her hand back abruptly, heart racing, and backed away from where the flowers were growing at a much slower pace—but still growing. She nearly tripped over the brick as she backs away, which reminded her of Adda, who was still behind her in the wheelchair.
She turned around and looked at this woman she’d dismissed as a sweet, but eccentric older woman who’d had her time but been dealt a bad hand. Young for an assisted living facility, but with mobility issues and no family there was no where else for her to go. Now she wondered more on the mystery that was Adda Demetria, and what it was that she’s gotten herself into.
“You and Adda okay? It’s about lunchtime, should probably come inside.” The voice came over her ear piece. She’d forgotten her promise to bring Adda inside. The normalcy of the ask caught her off guard, but it brought back Yua to reality.