On the Seventh Day

What can happen in just seven days!

On the Seventh Day

In all his seventy-seven years, Arnold Burgess seldom witnessed sunrise.

He found the package on his doorstep. A small plastic pouch containing seven seeds, a handwritten note folded concertina style with no signature, and a tin whistle, lay inside. Looking up and down the street, he wondered who’d delivered the mysterious package.

Over seven days, he followed the instructions on the handwritten note. On the first morning Arnold planted the seeds, as instructed: three centimetres beneath the soil and a metre apart. Thinking ruefully of previous incidents, Arnold considered the possibility of a prankster having a laugh at his expense. The leaping toad placed in his mailbox, his bicycle wedged between two bowels in the plum tree, but most alarming of all, the jumping-jack firecrackers. Scattered on his concrete walkway, the crackers exploded beneath his feet. The sharp sound and acrid smell of the crackers brought back unpleasant memories.

The folk of the sleepy village where Arnold came to live seven years ago, rejected him. Arnold lost his dear Marjorie in a house fire, and Arnold sustained a grotesquely scarred face, a glass-eye and uneven gait.

At sunrise, on the second day, Arnold patiently watered the seedlings as instructed with honey water.

To Arnold’s surprise, five of the seedlings sprouted on the third day; not a hoax after all. What height would the plants grow to, what would they yield, he wondered, rubbing his fingers over the smooth leaves.

When watering his new crop on the fourth day, disappointment overcame Arnold. The remaining two seedlings had yet to sprout. He lay his body on the ground and whispered to the unseen seeds.

On the fifth day, the last two seeds sprouted. Of the other plants, the stalks, as thick as Arnold’s arm grew as tall as the water tank. Atop, bloomed dinner-plate-sized, purple flowers. The leaves, waving in the gentle breeze brushed against the water tank, emitted a murmuring-mutter as if speaking to one another. Stroking a stalk, Arnold felt the plant recoil. The volume of the muttering increased. Unnerved, Arnold retreated.

‘Leave the plants be today,’ the concertina note said on the sixth day. Periodically, Arnold peeked through the window at the plants. The newest two, now also featured a flower. A whitish sap, dribbling down each stalk, glistened like sticky mucus. The muttering continued throughout the day into the night.

On the seventh day, Arnold read the final instruction. ‘Blow the whistle and be prepared for the consequences. Don’t blow the whistle and watch the plants wither and die.’

Approaching the garden, the plants straightening their purple heads, chanted ‘Release us, let us be free.’ Arnold blew the whistle softly. The chanting ceased, the soil cracked, claw-like tentacles dug from underneath. Arnold blew louder. The tentacles heaved and dislodged from the earth. Marching single file, the plants, dribbling sticky mucus in their wake, down the path, through the gate and into the village.

Newsflash: Village invasion. ‘They were like those triffids from that movie,’ one shaky resident reported.

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