The Brightflower (Excerpt)
by Fiona Lloyd
The Brightflower was dying.
At least, that was the rumour Ashria heard whispered around the campfires as she stirred the village pots at the foot of the mountain.
‘The dark grows longer.’
‘The cold bites harder.’
‘The petals are falling. The last one will take the Sun.’
‘We all shall die.’
‘Who will go and see?’
Legend said that a spirit with piercing horns and devil’s footprints lived on the mountain. No man had been to tend the Brightflower since it came. And now, Ashria’s little brother Jaemon was sick and as pale as the winter sky. Ashria wished her Mother was still here to help, but Mother had gone to the Land of No Shadows and would never come back.
Ah! But Mother could still speak through dreams. Every night she whispered,
‘It is not Jaemon’s time to die. He needs the Sun.’ And each time Ashria answered, ‘I don’t know what to do.’
One bitter night as Ashria cried for Jaemon, Mother pleaded all night long.
‘Be brave Ashria. Climb the mountain. Save the Brightflower or there will be no warmth left in the world.’
‘I’m scared.’ she told Mother, but even so, she slipped away in the gray light of dawn.