Flash Fiction Contest Winner #11 – “Botany”

Please note: Flash fiction stories are submitted by members of our Discord server. Many contain adult themes and may be objectionable to some readers.


An excursion through the jungle is more work than people realize, even for you. Yet here you are in the thick of it alongside your two associates, machete in one hand and the other busy shooing away mosquitoes. God, the mosquitoes. It’s only been fifteen minutes since leaving your vehicles and the incessant buzzing could drive someone mad. People severely underestimate how humid it gets. Prickly vines overlap and intertwine, leaving no choice but to hack through the messy network of green. You look at your arms covered in small cuts, scratches, and of course, mosquito bites. You take a glance behind and you don’t doubt they’re suffering it through with you. Of course, anything for a paycheck and keeping your employers happy.
     “What’s the deal with this guy? He could’ve been a bit more considerate when choosing his hiding spot.”
     “Man loves his plants. And what better way to show that than to move to the middle of goddamn jungle.” 
     “I hear he made himself a farm. Pigs, chickens, the whole experience.”
     “I gotta tell you, he’s smart. Crazy, but smart. I mean you know how hard it’d be to get your own meat around here?”
     You adjust the gun strapped across your chest. “Pipe down you two and try to not attract any unwanted attention. I just hope he doesn’t put up a fight. Intel says the botanist is willing to go peacefully.” 
     “Twenty bucks he’s taking a bullet.”
     “Just one? I’ll take that bet. These types like to talk but they sure as hell don’t mean it.” They laugh and shake hands.

After some time, one of them starts to lag behind.
     “How much longer do we have left? It seems farther than I thought.”
     You march forward. “There’s no time for resting now, I can see the clearance up ahead.” 
     “Good, I might need a little breather too. These vines and mosquitoes are really messing with my mood. I don’t know how much longer I’m going to keep hacking.”
     To be fair, you aren’t exactly feeling all too well either. Sure, you all trained in a simulated environment, but it doesn’t compare to the real deal. It never does. As you approach the clearance, you hear whistling. Finally, after reaching the open area you make a quick scan of your surroundings. A small hut, a campfire, and right above it, a teapot whistling its heart out. There’s only one thing missing, your objective. 
     “Where the hell is he?” one says as they catch up to you, panting and wheezing heavily.
     The door of the hut moves slightly. The three of you reach for your guns as you see two raised hands slowly slip through the crack, along with the rest of him.
     “Oh my, you’ve finally arrived? Just in time for supper! Would you care for some tea before attending to business?”
     “No thanks. We’re here to take you in that’s it. Let’s not waste anymore time than what we already have.”
     The botanist pours himself a cup of tea. “Why now, what’s the rush? How long did it take you three to get here?”
     “An hour too long.”
     “Must have been rough. The mosquitoes, the prickly vines, and overall bad climate. Probably felt like an eternity.” He was approaching us, cup in hand, eyeing us intensely. “Really is a shame. It’s good tea. Though of course I’m sure you’re feeling something else entirely now.”
     “Hey man what’s going on?” 
     You turn to see one of your associates on the ground, unresponsive, and the other barely standing.
     “You really must be careful, could be a real thorn in your side. The vines are of a special variety I created. They spread like wildfire and their thorns are quite toxic, causing fatigue, shortness of breath, and loss–“
     You desperately try to aim your gun, but it slips through your fingers. The gun itself is starting to weigh heavy on you.
     “Of motor functions. Although it won’t be enough to kill you.”
     You fall to your knees, trying your best to look up at him as he stares you down.
     “You’re not the first to try to stop me, and you certainly won’t be the last. I am so close to reversing the ecological damage caused by your employers. Although I do appreciate you all for making it to supper on time. They can get quite irritated when they are hungry. Nothing personal.”
     Your surroundings darken as you hear faint squealing from a distance.