Iced Violets | Nature

Siân Hamer

10BUR

Iced Violets
“This is the day…” Violet whispered to herself. Violet always was a strange girl, locked up in that big house all alone. No one ever saw a light, never saw any glimmer of movement. Nobody who lived on Orchard Lane ever saw Violet leave her residence in the old house at the top of the overgrown drive. But Violet was still there. Someone opened and closed the long windows each day. Someone raked up the leaves in the back garden. And someone had recently given the tall white fence a new lick of paint. “Yes,” said Gary, the local mechanic, “she’s still there.” The tall house loomed over him, mocking the other houses on the lane with its immense size. To look at the house was to realise that it was beyond you. One could not comprehend the house. Its mere size was enough. But something about the gentle stillness of the puddles. The quietness of the breeze blowing through the trees. Something about the place didn’t sit quite right with your soul. ‘Silent as the grave,’ as someone had once described it. Violet watched the mechanic through the white net curtains. Gary’s sweaty pink skin glistened in the cold sunlight. It was early autumn and the leaves were still a light shade of golden syrup, awaiting the winter takeover. The sun was just starting to set and the sky already had an eerie apricot hue, with the odd splash of autumn red adding to the orange spectrum. Violet saw the cul-de-sac was dark. The tall houses on either side of the road cast long, ominous shadows and blocked the rays of light from reaching the road. Violet loved to watch the way the sunlight played upon the tarmac. It had such an interesting texture. As she stared at the tarmac, her mind began to drift. The wind was whistling through the trees outside. It reminded her of home, where the breeze used to blow so gently over… She shut the window abruptly. No, she wouldn’t let herself remember. Telling herself this, she knew she would never be able to forget. She directed herself away from the window, walking across the creaking floorboards. She reached the door, walked through, and slammed it shut, leaving the whistling wind behind. Once in the hallway, she sat down in the covered armchair next to the umbrella stand. Violet had not bothered to uncover the furniture since the previous inhabitant had departed. She had decided to leave the house to dust over. She didn’t belong here, so why should she interfere? Now the house was cold and dark, each table and chair had its own dusty funeral shroud. Violet didn’t care. She watched the front door. The light shone through the window, casting warped reflections on the floorboards. The large stained-glass window was of a beautiful swan, with its wings open and its face strong and proud. Over the years the window had become dusty and covered in cobwebs. The outside was encrusted with green grime. The swan was no longer beautiful, merely a faded photograph from the past. Violet looked down at her hands, almost seeing the murky green feathers intertwined with her fingers, making her a reflection of the swan in the window. Violet too had lost her former beauty and glory. She looked around her. Looked at the old tattered umbrellas in their stand. Looked at the gloomy mirror that hung next to the door. Looked at the ancient green paint peeling off the wall. She looked and she realised: “I can’t stay here.”

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21/10/08

Siân Hamer

10BUR

It was true. Too long had Violet sat in that armchair, staring at the door. Too many times had she lolled on the damp grass in the garden, staring at the sky. They were not coming for her. She knew it. But no matter how many times she told herself this, she could not help but hold on to the last ray of hope that one day they would. She glanced at the clock. Through the misty glass she saw that it was almost two o’clock. How she had wished she could have stayed in bed. Stayed asleep. Her body clock was never going to adapt to the different time zone. The high amount of nitrogen in Earth’s atmosphere caused her body to create more of an adrenaline-like chemical, heightening her senses and increasing her body processes. She was constantly tired but still she was unable to sleep. Instead her mind existed in a place somewhere between being asleep and awake. Somewhere between dreams and reality. Maybe that is why she could never let the idea of home go; she was almost living in her dreams. On the table in the next room was a crystal jar. It was the only object in the house that actually meant something to Violet. It was the only object to carry any importance with her. Inside could be seen six delicate violets. Each one had been carefully covered in the smallest crystalline particles (similar to Earth’s sugar) and then frozen. Violet stepped outside the back door into the garden. The wind had picked up, and it furiously whipped the copper leaves into a whirlwind frenzy. It reminded her of the gale that blew as the Intrepid had lifted off. The word ‘marooned’ echoed though her head. She closed her eyes and her mind gently floated off into her memories of distant Q’Ret. “Keep your eyes shut,” whispered Saphrax. He grasped her hand, and smoothly led her along. She felt the ground crunch under her feet and tried to imagine where Saphrax was taking her. She had learned one thing from their time together; Saphrax was very unpredictable. She remembered the time he had turned up at her small pod in Plant Building Seventeen with a full set of pure glass windows to replace her dingy yellow cellophane portals. She had been so shocked; glass was so difficult to find these days and was rarely permitted. She was even more surprised to discover he was willing to install them for her. He must have spent 5 kilo-minutes perfecting his masterpiece. Five kilo-minutes of total silence, he had not said a word and she had not tried to start conversation. When he had finished, he had simply kissed her pale forehead and left. Violet had been left in her newly brightened room; breathless. There was a sudden change in the level of the ground and Violet began to lose her footing. Saphrax reached out both arms and caught her before she fell. He kept his two hands strongly on her shoulders and they kept walking. Violet began to get anxious. She had no idea what to expect and she had only known Saphrax for a couple of days. Her friends had told her he was not to be trusted, a prophet of doom, the downfall of Kintred’s perfect regime. Anything could happen. “When are we going to get there?” asked Violet, worried. Saphrax didn’t reply, he simply held Violet tighter, to reassure her. Violet took a few more steps, when Saphrax stopped her. She felt the cold air around her; she opened her eyes. She inhaled quickly, almost having to remind herself to breathe. Saphrax could see her obvious amazement. There before them stood a five-foot tall, beautifully accurate, Ice Violet. In the snow next to the magnificent sculpture was written ‘For

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Siân Hamer

10BUR

Violet’. It was more than beautiful. Violet struggled for words. Saphrax gazed down at her, into her ice blue eyes. His gaze melted that ice and she fell into his arms. Never before had someone done so much, just for her. She could only murmur one thing… “Who are you?” Saphrax smiled and held her closer. The snow swept around them and they felt as if that moment would never end. Forever frozen in the snow. Forever frozen in each other’s arms. Violet tugged her scarf up around her face, blocking off the autumn wind. She wouldn’t let herself remember. She couldn’t let herself forget. As she stepped back inside, a tiny, ice cold tear slid down her cheek. Once inside again, she headed over to the iced violets. They had been left untouched since she had arrived here. The exquisite crystal had not been touched with the tarnish of time. Violet tried to remember how long. No, it was gone. The sands of time had long eluded Violet. Everything that had ever happened to her had happened a very long time ago. Q’Ret’s powers stretched far out into the galaxy. She wondered if these Violets would ever perish, like she had seen happen so many times on this Earth. She had not perished. However, she was not the same as she had been when she had first arrived. She was now a shrinking violet, dancing on a razor’s edge. The ultimate horror scenario. It was true that she lived in a dream world. But it was a dream world of tortuous nightmare. Violet took a step backward. She was taken aback at the feelings that had arisen from simply looking at these violets. She thought these feelings and memories were dead and buried. Perhaps it was because today was different. Today was special. She moved towards the violets in the crystal jar, curious to feel their delicate structure once more. On lifting the lid from the jar, Violet saw how the autumn light reflected daintily off the tiny crystals which covered the six violets. Earth light had always amazed her. Light at home was irregular and faint. She picked one up and held it gently between her fingers. She stared at its ancient, immortal beauty. It snapped in her fingers. The stem had suddenly snapped in two. Losing her grip, Violet dropped the violet to the table. It hit the covered surface with a silent crash, taking with it all Violet’s hopes for a new life. She knew it was over. If her only tie to her past could not last, then neither could she. She fell to the floor, her knees hitting the bare floor hard. Violet felt nothing. Staring at the splintering floor, her mind coasted back to when she had watched the Ice Violet melt with Saphrax. They had sat on the snow wrapped in each other’s arms, ignoring the wind and the cold. Violet struggled to remember what they had talked about. She scolded herself for this but she remembered how she felt. It was a constant reminder that nothing was forever. It was true; nothing was forever. She left the room to look for her old journal. The journal she had kept during the revolution. The journal that told everything about her innermost feelings. Her love for Saphrax. Her hate for Kintred’s dictatorship regime and his ancient magic. She found it in the bedroom, thrown casually on the floor amongst a wheelchair and a television remote control. She had long since lost the actual television set. On picking up the diary, she turned to the last entry. It read: “They’re not coming back. Two kilo-weeks now and not a trace of anything. I feel I have lost everything inside me that is Q’Rettish. I hate them. However, I cannot fill my empty life with all these novelty Earth items. I can’t go on like this. Signing off, Violet.” She glanced around the room, her eyes darting between the many items that

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Siân Hamer

10BUR

had been collected therein. She used to be so fascinated by Earth items, though somewhat lacking in understanding of their uses. A dartboard lay on the floor, having been used as a tray; it now had coffee mug rings covering it. The wheelchair had been used to store all Violet’s old medication. Her shoes were kept in an old hamster cage, which had been lovingly placed on the windowsill. A deck chair sat inside the wardrobe, which had been altered to include a shower. A large range of dinosaur models were dotted about the floor, each sporting a half burned-out candle. All this had been long forgotten and Violet realised how ridiculously insane she had once been. It was amazing what not watching television could do to you. Perhaps if she had watched more she could have learned more of Earth and its customs. It was too late now, she thought to herself. No one was going to care if she had used a black and white copy of the Mona Lisa to hold up the wardrobe door. With the room becoming increasingly dark, Violet placed her head on the wooden floorboards. She was wide-awake but felt she had to try and sleep anyway. The bed was full of bugs and Violet had become used to sleeping on the floor. She closed her eyes. “I watched you,” she opened her eyes to find two dark ones staring back at hers. She smiled, “You did?” “Yes.” “From where?” “I knew you were on my side… And your eyes… As pale as a lily…” Saphrax looked down at the floor. “They’re unlike any I’ve ever seen. When I first saw you at that protest, something that felt almost like instinct drew me to you. With your complexion of lilies and roses…” Violet’s heart was melting; she leant forward to kiss Saphrax. There was a sudden bang. Violet was torn out of her dream to find herself shivering and scared. She looked around her quickly, before making the decision to sprint downstairs. The door had been torn off its hinges. The gale from outside had escaped inside. Spirals of dust and cobwebs flew around Violet’s ears. A storm had broken out. The gentle autumn wind had climaxed into a violent storm that made all previous storms seem a breeze. Violet recognised the intensity of the deep thunder echoing through the clouds. The black clouds were morose and the lightning was a sharp reminder of Earth’s surrender to the elements. She thought she was dreaming again; reliving the take off of Intrepid; reliving the day she was left behind. She ran through the front door, unconsciously throwing her arms up and crying into the Heaven’s “Intrepid!” She ran to the hill at the end of the cul-de-sac. It was bare and empty. There she stood, the hurly burly all around her. Her mind flashed back through her memories. She saw flickering images: Her mother freezing violets, the Ice Violet, her mother’s glazed stare, Saphrax in chains, the Intrepid leaving… ‘This is the day…’ she thought. The wind and rain reeled around her head, making her dizzy. Tears were streaming down her face. She knew what she had to do. Taking an old knife from home out of its sheath, she cried out into the skies “Intrepid!” before plunging the knife deeply and savagely into her neck.

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Siân Hamer

10BUR

Dropping to the floor, she mumbled through her pain, “I will not be like them…” In her last moments, it was true. She was not like them. She was free.

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