Thursday, April 1, 2021

AtoZ Challenge - A is for Alfalfa


Hot yellow-brown liquid splattered against the dark metal bulkhead. Holly wiped her mouth with her sleeve. 

“What in the name of all things science did you just give me?” she asked. She pulled her tongue across the backs of her hand. “Was that tea made from the compost on the livestock level?” She spat.

The old crone cackled at her, then abruptly stopped. “You are going to clean that up.” She handed Holly a microfiber cloth covered with layers of questionable stains. “You said you were feeling some fluctuations in your cycle lately. Alfalfa infusion helps balance your estrogen, makes your body regulate itself better. But it does taste like it was stirred with a stall shovel.” Her shoulders bounced up and down as she laughed again. 

Occasionally, Holly wondered why she chose to apprentice with the crazy old lady who occupied the inner chamber of the cargo level. There were plenty of other positions she could have chosen. Her math skills were strong and her spatial awareness even better. She could have joined the engineering program. But no, she spent most of her time wandering between the rows and platforms of the hydroponic levels. Since cooking did not interest her, and neither did robotics, this was the only option she had to work around plants. Sybil had no apprentice and was reaching the end of her life cycle. It seemed like a great opportunity for job security to Holly. Her future family would always be valuable thanks to her unique and useful position as the resident space witch, otherwise known as an herbalist.

“Alfalfa?” Holly asked. She reached for her screen and traced her fingers across the letters, selected a color, and waited for further information. 

Sybil looked over her row of dirt-filled pots to peer at Holly’s screen. “Medicago sativa,” she said. “Leguminosae family.”

“A bean?”

Sybil nodded. “But the infusion is from the leaves. Watch out for an immune reaction in certain cases.”

Holly looked down into the cup of pale tea. Her bottom lip pushed upward and her nostrils flared. “Any other benefits?” She needed more motivation if she was going to take another sip of this tea.

“Vitamins A and C, even K, niacin, riboflavin, folic acid. Minerals, too—calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium.”

“Sounds good for pregnancy,” Holly said.

Sybil agreed. “Start it in the last trimester, or earlier to ease morning sickness, but check for other health concerns first. It will help milk supply, too.”

Holly was not pregnant and did not plan to be soon, but she would try to finish her cup. She attempted to breathe out while she took the next sip, then decided she should probably gulp it and get it over with. Maybe if it was cold it would not taste so strong.

She added a few more notes Sybil shared—lower cholesterol, fight malnutrition, and effects of prolonged illness. It was a useful plant and served as an excellent feed for the alpacas. No wonder it tasted like a livestock stall. She made a note to seek a good companion herb to flavor the infusion. 

Her finger hovered over the save symbol. She gave a quick tap and returned to scrubbing the bitter liquid from the walls and floor. A fair warning could have prevented the mess, Sybil clearly needed additional entertainment for the day. She swore the corner of her mouth turned up while Holly cleaned. She hoped it was not just the result of a stroke. She had a long journey before she could fulfill the role she desired.



21 comments:

  1. Good story. I don't think I've ever tried alfalfa. I hope it works out for Holly.
    https://iainkellywriting.com/2021/04/01/the-state-trilogy-a-z-guide-a/

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  2. I love this world system and the characters. Looking forward to where you go with this. I have so many question about the world system. Is this an RPG story? Just because of the screen element and also the way you structured the world. (I love LitRPG but good sci fi too!) Either way really cool. Thanks for visiting my blog. I don't think I saw you on the A-Zlist so good thing. I wonder if my list needs updated.

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    1. I had a mini-meltdown earlier when I noticed I was no longer on the list, but I got over it and added myself again. I never thought about writing RPG, but it does make sense! Thanks for the visit and the feedback!

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  3. Hari Om
    oh yumm.... no. I'd add in some dandelion, burdock and maybe some chaste-berry for an all round tonic that tasted more like... well less like... just better. &*> YAM xx

    (I can be reached on four AZs - from the LinkTree.)

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    1. I forced myself to drink it quite a bit after my daughter was born and still have a sizeable amount left!

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  4. Love this story. I hope there are more stories about Holly. A botanist in space - that sounds wonderful.

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    1. Absolutely! I decided to create a series. (I just hope I can finish it all!)

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  5. Oh I love this theme! Alfalfa tea definitely needs to be gulped holding your nose and followed by a better-tasting chaser. Looking forward to the rest of the posts in your series.

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    1. Thank you! I am enjoying writing the story and am so glad I finally get to share it.

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  6. Such a beneficial plant-based tea, too bad it tastes wicked. Guess I'll stick to my Rooibos Red for now. Thanks for visiting my gecko post today.

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    1. I do love my rooibos! My husband is from Cape Town, there is a lot of it in my house.

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  7. Interesting story. Btw, if anything got rid of peri-menopause belly I'd take it even if it tasted like straight up dung.

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  8. Btw, good luck on A-Z. Stop by Urban Gypsy Girl if you get a chance.

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  9. Space witch :D Most definite career goal. Also, alfalfa does not sound appetizing at all.

    The Multicolored Diary

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  10. Alfalfa, I love the sound of the word ;)
    Veux-tu un chausson aux pommes pour boire avec ton thé ;))
    Have fun with AtoZ!

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  11. Loving the role of the space witch, these stories are awesome (have read backwards from C to A), I love the premise, and the information and will be back for more. Cheers.

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  12. I'll be catching up from here, Steph! Love this!

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  13. I love the idea of a space witch and it's fun to think that things like herbs and homeopathy might make a comeback in the future.

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