Plants are full of wonder. One tiny seed can turn into an enormous tree.
People might not realize that plants are the most important living creatures on Earth. They produce the air we breathe. They fill our bellies and the animals we eat. They can be made into medicines that will save our lives. And with the right dose, they too, can be made into weapons.
Without them, we will be powerless. Dead.
A pleasant smell filled the kitchen, stirring up the appetite of those who entered. Inside the stove was honey glazed steak with juice oozing out of each cut. With her dark hair tied up, she cut some potatoes and washed them under tap water. She let her thoughts wander while her hands were working with the potatoes. She boiled and mashed them, then sprinkled salt and pepper as the finishing touch. She brewed chamomile tea for herself and when the timer rang, she cut the steak into two portions – each for her daughter and her husband.
She placed each plate on the dining table and said, “Dinner is served!”
Soon her family gathered. She took aside a few spoonful mashed potatoes for herself and stared at her family. Her daughter was holding an iPad, her empty eyes were glues to the screen. She did not even glance at her own food. And her husband was nothing better. Although his mouth was chewing the juicy meat, his attention was on the TV.
She looked at her spouse’s rough hands. Once, those hands held hers gently and ran through her hair, assuring her that everything would be alright. Not long after their marriage, he would sweep her off her feet and the rest of the day would turn into a sweet date. Her chest throbbed thinking about those days.
But now… those times were just memories.
She watched her family moved their cutlery and the pieces of meat into their mouths. Bite. Chew. Chew. Swallow. Repeat. Bite. Chew. Chew. Swallow. Repeat. Bite. Chew. Chew. Swa-
Her daughter cried out, her eyes wet with tears and her face was as white as paper. Her little hands were holding her own neck, “Mom… Dad… I…”
She struggled and writhed in pain. Within a few seconds her body crashed to the floor. Her mother sipped her tea, unblinking. Her father stood up and stared at her dead daughter in disbelief and then his eyes trailed to his own empty plate. Realizing what had happened, he stepped towards his wife.
“What have you done?!”
“And what have you done? Did you think that I was so naïve?” she said, her lips pursed into a frown, “Don’t worry… our daughter did not suffer. But you will. Your vision will be blurred. Your muscle will become tense. You will be struggling for life, but only to be filled with terror knowing that you will die.”
“I… ugh… nno…” he fell to his knees, gurgling and fighting, holding on to his dear life.
“I don’t want you to become a ghost and haunt me,” she knelt in front of him and caressed his cheek, “I gave you a mixture of a plant with the same name she has. Ironic isn’t it? The woman you lavish with love will be the one to kill you.”
Her husband crashed towards her, flailing his arms around.
“It hurts, doesn’t it? It burns, right? It’s the same feeling when I found out that you have been sharing your bed with her. She took you away from me,” she sighed, “Belladonna… it’s a pity such beautiful name has taken you away from me.”
She paused and caressed his dark hair. Her mind wandered through her memories – the love they once shared… the sweet words they exchanged.
“Did you know that women used Belladonna to make their eyes look stunning? They believed that it would make any man fall in love with them. But a lot of them became blind after using it,” tears welled up in her eyes, “She must have bewitched you with the same eyes.”
By the time she finished her sentence, her husband laid still on her lap; his soul gone. She threw her arms around him and whispered, “It’s alright, my dear.”
“With this you are forever mine.”