Highly Commended Story - Junior Category
“Temperate Fluxroot” by Candria Misha, D'Souza, Pearl Zanker Elementary School, USA, is the Highly Commended story in the junior category of the first biannual Short Story Contest 2020.
Candria D’Souza is a 6th grader at Pearl Zanker Elementary School in California, USA. She loves to read, write, play her piano and/or immerse in art. Her favorite contemporary fiction authors are Rick Riordan, Christopher Paolini, Katherine Coville, Chris Colfer, and Jennifer A. Nielsen. As you can tell, her favorite genre therefore is ‘fantasy’, because she finds it prodigious how these authors weave simple story lines into talentful, artistic, and marvelous stories. She is also a Brown belt in Karate. She is concerned about the rising pollution and poverty, and wants to create awareness and possible solutions through her stories.
Everywhere she looked, there was green. She trod upon the rich soil. The sun was shining, and the birds were chirping. She saw a doe grazing in softer grass. The doctor was hiking in the woods for a break. She heard the gurgling of water, and hiked faster. Doctor Kristin soon came upon a steep brook. As she knelt down to look at the tiny fish in the water, she noticed a peculiar plant. A sprouting was growing amidst the rocks a little ways off the brook. This plant was different than the rest of the whole forest. This one was bright red, with little streaks of dark blue. She took out her phone, and searched up, “red and blue plants”. The results were just showing her how to plant red and blue flowers for a garden. But this plant was not a flower. She quickly dug it up making sure she hadn’t cut of any of the roots, and placed it in an empty water bottle that she had filled with soil, a few of the rocks it had been growing amidst, and a little brook water to keep the soil moist. She left the bottle open for the fresh air and sunlight. She left for her home immediately.
When she reached home, she planted it properly immediately. She stared at it for quite a while. Why am I so curious of this? Surely, it’s already discovered? But it wasn’t on the web. She didn’t recognize it. If someone told her of this plant before, she would’ve laughed. Who has heard of a bright red plant with blue streaks? That was like saying; she saw a pink tree with purple polka dots. She chuckled at the idea of such a tree. If I am really the first one to find it, what will I name it? It was found in a temperate deciduous forest. The roots are quite long. I think its scientific name should be Temperate Fluxroot. Its common name can be aasnet, after my mother Aasanali. The next day, she took the aasnet (or whatever it really was if it was already found) to a museum, and asked a guide who knew a lot about ancient and modern flora. He adjusted his glasses. “My, I have never seen this before. What a bright plant! Hmm… it might be poisonous. Yes… or no… hmm… here, give it to me, I know just what to do!” He took hold of the aasnet and walked off. He suddenly stopped and turned around. “If it is okay with you, what I will be doing is a surprise. But be sure to watch the news tomorrow! What will you name this plant’s name? And what is your name?” “Its scientific name is Temperate Fluxroot. Its common name is the aasnet. I’m Dr. Kristin. You can call me Kristy.” He replied, “I promise I will return this aasnet to you, Kristy!” and away he went.
She walked back to the hospital to care for the patients and tried to put her mind off the aasnet.
The next morning, Dr. Kristin turned on the news and watched carefully. Heavy rains in Madagascar. The weather forecast. Then something jostled her from her daze. She stared more intently. “This is Stacy Mcdonia reporting from the Flora and Fauna museum. Mr. Davis, a local guide, reported a doctor named Kristin Johnson, discovered a new species of flora. It’s a bright red plant with streaks of blue. It is named as an aasnet and its scientific name is the Temperate Fluxroot. It does seem poisonous. Today, in Times Square, the police caught a strange…” Kristin’s mind wandered.
She went back to the museum and met Mr. Davis. Kristy cleared her throat. Mr. Davis’s voice wandered off. He caught Kristy’s eye and nodded. “And that is how the horse has evolved into what is known today.” he finished. When he was done explaining to tourists, he reached into his backpack and handed her the healthy aasnet. “Thank you very much, Dr. Kristin.” “Thank you, Mr. Davis. And please, call me Kristy.” Mr. Davis smiled. “Well, be careful now. It might be poisonous. I haven’t tested that theory, and I don’t intend too” he joked. He became serious and stroked his beard. “Although, it might have… medicinal properties.” He raised his eyebrows. Then, “You are a doctor, aren’t you Kristin… Kristy? Maybe you can test that out yourself?” Kristy replied, “Yes, thank you Mr. Davis.” “And you can call me Frank”.
That night, Kristy stayed up the whole time testing it and studying it. By morning, she came to a conclusion… other than she needed more sleep. She went back hiking to the exact same place, and found a few more aasnets. She collected about ten more. The extracted the seeds out of three, and planted every single seed, and took the remaining seven and crushed two of them. She beat it to a pulp until it was a liquid. She poured it into her container, and went into her mother’s room.
“How are you feeling?” Kristy asked her mother, Aasanali. “Now I’m 104 degrees. I think I should go to the clinic.” “Wait.” stopped Kristy. She opened the container and gave it to her to drink. “What is this? It’s so sour.” her mother asked. “It’s… fluxroot liquid. It is from the edible flower, the aasnet, which has very high medicinal properties.” Kristin went to go get the thermometer and came back in five minutes. Her mother’s temperature reduced to 100 degrees! In just 5 minutes. Kristy immediately crushed one more flower, grinded it to a pulp, made the sour liquid again and made her drink it. Kristin waited for another five minutes. It reduced even more to 98.6! Her mother sat up. “I’m feeling better. That helped so much! It must be expensive!” Kristy replied, “Well, stay in bed for ten more minutes. You might not have healed completely yet. And it’s not expensive, when you’re the creator!” The doctor winked and got ready to go to the hospital.
As usual, the doctor spent her day treating patients and giving prescriptions. But during her lunch break, she went to meet Mr. Davis again. She saw him explaining the evolution about humans. When he was done, she handed him some money. “As a thank you.” she explained. “Do you think you could do me a favor? This vial of liquid is the aasnets grinded. It has very strong healing properties. Do you think you could talk to that reporter again?” Mr. Davis grinned. “My pleasure! In case you were wondering, that reporter, Stacy Mcdonia, is my sister.” No wonder they looked similar.
The next morning, Kristy was famous again. Stacy came on T.V for the news. “This is Stacy Mcdonia reporting from the Red Cross hospital, live. A now famous doctor who works here, Doctor Kristin Johnson who discovered the aasnets has also made a new medicine. This medicine is made from the aasnets which was found to have very high medicinal and healing properties. It is nature’s magic! It works under five minutes normally. You’d better buy it if Kristin sells it! Back to you, Robert…” Kristy pondered. It would make a lot of money. And help a lot of people. I could be rich. And it would help the world…
That morning, after spending time making the liquid, she packed a lot of vials in her bag and recommended and sold them in the hospital. She sold a lot, and came home that evening with about 100 dollars. Soon, she started a business. Her vials were getting exported. She became very rich and famous. But as so happens to most when they get a lot of money and fame, she became greedy. She became greedy and arrogant. For example, someone paid her 650 dollars her vials of medicine. She waited till she ran out and told that person so. But she kept the money. And so on she continued.
5 months later…
Everywhere she looked, there was green. She trod upon the rich soil. The sun was shining, and the birds were chirping. She saw a doe grazing in softer grass. The doctor was hiking in the woods for a break. But this time, a break from earning too much money. Hiking was her favorite past time. But today, as she hiked, instead of watching the nature as she normally did, she thought about her life. She thought about her money in the bank, her mansion, her cars, her maids and servants. Her mind was on that the whole time. She didn’t realize when evening was approaching. It was getting dark. And Kristy was lost. I’ve never been here before. I’ve also never been hiking this late. It was soon night. She heard the crickets chirping, the owl hooting, the wolves howling. But she was too worried to notice. She worried about her money. About how if she didn’t come back home, no one would be able to spend it. Namely, her. A cold wind swept around her that sent a chill up her spine. She looked around of where she was. She was in a graveyard. She crept around, trying to feel her way. She tripped over a pile of dirt and hit her head hard on a headstone. Then, she blacked out.
Kristy opened her eyes. It was bright all around her. A small translucent girl came out of nowhere. “What you are doing is wrong, Kristin Emily Johnson. What you are doing is very wrong. Watch!” A very bright light blinded her. The light slowly subsided. She saw herself but younger. She saw herself discover the aasnets. She saw herself invent the medicine. But she could hear the younger Kristy’s thoughts out loud. Think of all the people I can save. Think of all the people I can help! This can change the world. In just five minutes! I take bags of this around the world. I can distribute this for free among the poor! I can donate the money to this cause! The real Kristy was confused. “Why are you showing me this? I was so naive back then! Why am I not thinking of the money. Why am I thinking of giving it away. Who cares if it helps or not? I get the money!” The girl stared blankly at Kristy. “You claim that you were naive then. And yet, you seem to be more naive than what you used to be. These are the thoughts you should be thinking. You started off thinking this. You should end thinking this. You should continue thinking this. This should be the reason, the cause for everything you have done, Kristin Emily Johnson.” The real Kristy shuddered. Her eyes had opened. But not just literally. Her mind had opened. She realized what she should have done, what she had done, and what she should do. The translucent girl snapped her fingers and Kristy saw black again. She woke up in her mansion.
Did that really happen? Who was that girl? Was I dreaming? Kristy wondered. “You said you would be home by 3:00? It’s 10:00 now! Did you get lost? We were going to send some people after you! I was so worried. Are you all right?” stuttered Kristy’s maid. Kristy sighed. “Yes. I am all right. Is it alright with you if I… maybe you can disband?” The maid sighed, “You want to fire me?” “Yes, but not that way”. “Well, I’ll be gone by tomorrow morning, I suppose. Would you like me to spread the word to other servants or is it just me that you want gone.” “Thank you, yes, everyone. I want to sell the mansion and all my cars except one and donate the money.” The maid’s eyes widened. “Really?” Then the maid scurried away.
5 months later…
The T.V turned on. “It’s Stacy Mcdonia reporting in Times Square. It’s been almost a year now. It seems that the famed Doctor Kristin has turned over a new leaf! She started donating 75% of her money to good causes now. The world is becoming a better place. The latest news reports…” Kristin turned off the T.V and sighed. She had had a dream lately. The same translucent girl was pleased with her. The world was indeed a better place.