Spread: Tales of Deadly Flora


Green thumbs beware. Plants are beautiful, peaceful, abundant, and life-sustaining. But what if something sinister took root in the soil, awakening to unleash slashing thorns, squeezing vines, or haunting greenery that lured you in? Perhaps blooms on distant planets could claim your heart, hitch a ride to Earth on a meteor, or simply poison you with their essence. Imagine a world where scientists produced our own demise in a lab, set spores free to infect, even bred ferns to be our friends only to witness the privilege perverted. When faced with botanical terror, will humanity fight to survive, or will they curl and wither like leaves in the fall? Read ten speculative tales ripe with dangerous flora to find out.

Purchase Link -  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CKX9PGVY/


An excerpt from Spread: Tales of Deadly Flora (Page Turn Press).

Blood & Thorns: A Family by Andrea Goyan. A uniquely floral young woman must choose between fulfilling the wicked duties her mother demands of her, or rebelling in a blaze of glory.

Homestead
We knew no better. We knew no different. Mother guided, and we followed.

Spring of the year I’d turn seventeen, the year everything changed, began like all others. I turned the soil, amending it with worm castings ensuring Grandmother Oak a bumper crop of acorns and Auntie Lilac blossoms in her favourite shade of purple. Amy, Annie, and Sprout flitted around me like butterflies. They pulled weeds and trimmed what Mother called the wild hairs, the leaves and branches of plants that strayed beyond their perfectly manicured shapes. My younger siblings were still too little to till and dig, just as I was too young to prune the family’s prize roses. No one but Mother handled those, and if we dared to ask why, she’d answer with one word.

Thorns.

Young as they were, my sisters wielded their shears as they moved through our land like tumbleweeds in a tornado. Blurs of disorderly chaos as they played and worked, eager to show Mother their developing abilities.

“Look, Mother!” Annie held the errant branch of a pine tree over her head. The needles had grown over Aunt Lilac, stealing bits of her sun, so Annie lopped it back to its trunk. The tree needed proper training, as Mother called it. The thickest part of the limb was bigger than Annie’s wrist. “I am ready for battle with the thorny ones.”

We laughed, and Mother said, “You, my precious, will never touch the roses.”

Annie pouted and threw down her prize. “I want to!”

Mother patted Annie’s head and pointed to the trimming. “A job unfinished is a what?”

Annie remained silent until Amy pinched her arm.

Together they said, “A blight that takes root and destroys everything.”

Annie took the branch by its needles and ran with Amy chasing toward our chipper, where I’d mulch it later.


Mother’s Lesson: Number Two
The roses are a part of our family. One is planted with every new child and named after that daughter. The rose garden lies at the centre of our land because those plants represent the heart of our land. If a rose carries your name, the day will come for you to prune them. But your gardening skills don’t determine when you’ll be ready. That is defined by your body’s maturation.

Caring for the roses is a rite of passage.


Necessary Things
Amy and Annie had no roses bearing their names. We were all a little fuzzy about why that was, but we knew it had to do with the way they’d come into the world. And Mother made it clear they’d never prune the roses. Their fates were different than mine or Jewel’s, and I knew the day would come when we’d each use our sharpened shears to tend to the thorny ones. This caused some sibling jealousy because Mother glorified the event and told us how special the ruby-red flowers were. After all, pruning ranked as Lesson Number Two. I couldn’t blame the in-between sisters for wanting to partake, but Mother laid down the laws; we simply followed them.

As for my part, I worried about the prospect.

My seventeenth birthday loomed—and loomed was the correct word because I knew Susanna had been seventeen when she’d left. And I knew the roses were the reason why.

But looming or not, destiny had a way of catching up to me.

Rose pruning came after the boy.

 

Social Media Links – Website: www.pageturnpress.com

Instagram & Twitter: @pageturnpress

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pageturnpress/