The Adventures of Flower Girl by HL Carpenter – Part 3

The Adventures of Flower Girl continue… If you missed part one, here it is. If you would like to look into The Ghost in the Gardens, a middle grade adventure by HL Carpenter, click here. Otherwise, read on!

“I do not take ssssides, even in wartime!” Worm said. “I like to help everyone. I am a good worm!”

“Enough!” A tall-stalked plant with purple flowers spoke in a deep commanding voice. “Rose said the kid could help us.”

“And sssshe also ssssaid I could help Zinnie,” Worm said.

“I don’t remember her saying that, Worm,” Thorny said. “But Irissss—I mean, Iris is right. We need the kid’s help.”

I swiped sweat off my forehead and pushed my glasses up. “Help doing what?”

“See?” The biggest daylily said. “She can’t help us. She knows nothing.”

“Knows nothing,” the other daylilies trilled in a chorus of sweet soft song.

“I can help!” I said. “What am I supposed to do?”

“Win the war, of course,” Thorny said.

The war? A war was going on in our school garden? I was sorry I’d told the plants I could help. Even though Rose had said I was a warrior princess, I didn’t like to fight. Maybe I yelled some. All right, I did yell. A lot, and usually at Billy Watson. But no matter what he thought, yelling was not the same as fighting.

“What war?” I asked.

“The weeds are trying to kill us,” the holly bush said.

“If we lose, the weeds will take over the plant world,” Iris added. “We must stop them.”

The idea of war really stunk, but I liked the thought of stopping the weeds. Stopping the weeds meant I wouldn’t have to weed the garden any more. Ever.

I said, “How do I start?”

“By talking to The Root of All Good,” Worm said.

That sounded simple. “Okay. Where is this root?”

“Sssshe issss The Root, not thisss root,” Worm said. “Follow me.”

Worm led me to a shaded area next to a palm tree. The thick shadow cast by the palm had blocked the sun so effectively that the grass was struggling to survive. Close to the palm’s trunk, three straggly weeds leaned sideways, out of the palm’s darkness. The bare dirt between the grass and the weeds was covered with spiky palm tree spines, sharp-edged dried fronds, and stinky, rotting, orange-colored fruit.

Worm slid onto my sneaker. “Let’ssss get a wiggle on!”

“A wiggle on?” I asked. “Did you make a worm joke?”

“Yessss.” The flap of skin hanging over his mouth shook as he laughed. “Now close your eyessss and imagine the prettiest garden you’ve ever sssseen. Think about beautiful flowerssss, ssssunny sssskies, and fragrant herbssss.”

Worm drew a picture with his soft words. I imagined the beauty he described. Chattering birds flitted through tall sturdy apple trees. Under my feet, the grass was soft, and grew thick and lush in shades of green, tan, white, and purple. Daisies, lilies, roses, snapdragons, and plumbago swayed in the cool breeze, turning their flower faces to greet the dawn. I breathed in the scent of flower blossoms and early morning sunshine. The air was warm on my skin, and when I tilted my face upward, the light made red patterns on the inside of my eyelids.

The red patterns made me dizzy, and I wobbled, then sank to the ground. When I opened my eyes, the palm tree and the school yard had vanished. I was sitting in the middle of a green, tan, white, and purple grassed clearing in a gorgeous garden—a garden exactly like the one I had created in my mind.

“Good job.” Worm crawled off my sneaker. “We’re here. But why issss the grassss purple and the ssssky red?”

“I don’t know.” I didn’t know why time had reversed itself either, though by the coolness of the air and the dampness on the grass I could tell we had arrived very early in the morning. I got to my feet, holding my leaf-shield. I reached for my glasses, but they had disappeared. “Where is ‘here’?”

“The Garden of All.” Worm looked around. “Let’ssss ask those apple treessss if they’ve sssseen The Root of All Good.”

What the heck was The Garden of All? Before I could ask exactly where we were and if I would get back to school before Mrs. Abrams found out I was gone, Worm was halfway across the clearing. The green, tan, white, and purple grass stalks swayed as he pushed his way through. For a creature with no legs, he moved fast.

I put the leaf-shield in my pocket and hurried after him.

A flock of noisy, bright yellow birds lined the wizened branches of the apple trees. Their chatter grew louder as Worm and I got closer.

“Is that a worm?” one of the birds asked.

The others took up the cry. “A worm! A worm!”

“Oh no! Early Birdssss!” Worm crawled back to me, his front end stretching, then contracting as his back end caught up. “Ssssave me, Zinnie!”


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