For the AtoZ Challenge, I will post an episode of flash fiction featuring an herb for the letter of the day for the month of April. The episodes are glimpses of a larger story. To read from the beginning: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y.
The shiners loaded the last group of unconscious people onto the electric cart and followed Sybil and Holly to the hidden lift. It was Holly’s idea to let them wake up in the forest. They needed to be motivated to heal and return to their true selves.
As she left the last chamber, she glanced at a few figures still connected to the simulator.
“What about them?” she asked Sybil.
“I gave them a choice, they chose to stay. I will provide nutrients for them as long as their natural life extends.”
“And the controllers?” Holly asked.
“Will finally get to control whoever they want. I’m installing them into a simulation of a penal colony. They will now have the criminal population they tried to create here.”
Palettes lined the edge of the forest and bodies of all ages and shapes rested peacefully on them. Their wounds were dressed and healing as were their minds.
Sybil and Holly taught the others how to harvest and prepare fresh meals. The community was so large they formed smaller groups and claimed shifts and levels.
Holly was serving bundles of greens and jugs of tea when Sybil arrived with two large baskets of dirty roots. She let them bang on the tabletop then smeared muddy hands down her front.
“Time to make some ginger chews,” Sybil said. “Zingiber officinale. Cramps, frostbite, indigestion, headaches, and nausea.”
“And which one are we about to suffer from?” Holly asked in jest.
“Motion sickness,” Sybil replied. “Time to learn the meaning of turbulence, you are all going for a ride, or really a long fall, hence the nausea.”