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|The Gardeners AmyAmy Solo-F; FF; plant/f; greenhouse; plants; drug; tendrils; capture; encase; insert; bodymod; mc; zombie; cons/reluct; X|
The seeds arrived in an ordinary padded envelope. Debbie poured them out onto the kitchen table. She counted them: a dozen, no, only eight, dark green beans. “I’ve been stiffed. There were supposed to be twelve,” she said.
Elizabeth sighed. “How much did you pay for this junk, anyway?”
Debbie furrowed her brow and squeezed her lips tight together, peering angrily at the beans as if she could will another four into existence. She snatched up the envelope and peered inside it. “Lizzie, Lizzie? What do you mean pay? I got them from Kevin. I didn’t pay him anything.”
“How did you get ripped off then?” Lizzie asked suspiciously. “Sounds like you got something for free.”
“He’ll want something in return. Well…” Debbie paused, blushing, reluctant to continue. “I said he could have my car. But only if they work out.”
Lizzie laughed. She had to get up and walk away before Debbie hit her. “You really did get robbed. I know it’s a bomb, but your car? For beans? What is this? Are they maa-gi-c beans?” She laughed again, finally dissolving into a kind of sniffing chortle.
“No. They are not magic. These beans are going to make me rich. Though I don’t think they are actually beans.”
Lizzie nodded slowly, grinning from ear to ear. “Yesssss. The magic beans.”
“Shut up Homer,” Debbie said sharply. “These seeds are Hanley-Muller biotech. Kevin stole them while he was an intern there. According to him they are never going to market these. They will be kept proprietary internal forever.”
“You really are kidding me right? Stolen biotech from H.M. no less? If they are the real deal, you think they’ll let you keep them? They’ll go after Kevin and then they’ll come for you. If you’re lucky you’ll go to prison.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah, so scary. This isn’t some spy novel. Real companies don’t do that. If they thought I was making too much money they’d just sue me. As long as I keep these to myself they’ll never know. They sure aren’t going to go all spooky on me.”
“I have a bad feeling about this,” Lizzie said, her mood dampening. “Best case, Kevin ripped off your car in exchange for a bunch of spirulina seeds.”
“Madds, you know spirulina is an algae. You don’t grow it from seeds.”
“If you say so.”
After the first time that Debbie hit her up for cash, Elizabeth decided it was a good time to go and visit her mother who had developed a curious fixation with the music of Trinidad and had bought a house there. A bit of sun and sand couldn’t go amiss.
* * * * *
Trinidad didn’t work out so well. Two years later Lizzie followed Debbie along the path between the greenhouses. The glass was lightly mirrored so it was impossible to see inside. It looked like a field of silver spaceships. Lizzie counted them, there were nine large buildings and three smaller ones, a dozen in all.
Debbie gestured towards a female worker pushing a trolley of fertilizer bags. She was dressed in a thick white hazmat suit, complete with air-filters. All the workers she’d seen were fully hooded and masked even though they weren’t working in one of the greenhouses.
Lizzie nodded towards the suited figure, who had mist forming on the inside of her mask, half hiding her eyes. “Do they always dress like that?” She asked.
Debbie nodded. “It’s strict policy that anyone entering a greenhouse has to be properly protected at all times. They stay suited outside so that nobody forgets to suit up. Honestly they’re just gardening staff. Not so bright, so they would forget. You have to keep the rules simple. It’s not as if it’s really that dangerous, but I don’t want the employees to get the idea they can be careless. The airborne concentrations are high enough to be seriously distracting. There could easily be an accident or just general employee fraternizing and time wasting,” she said.
“You mean some kind of weird greenhouse orgy, right?” Lizzie said.
“I guess. Well, probably not an orgy, just a couple of employees getting it on,” Debbie said. She giggled to herself as if imagining.
“Has it ever happened?”
“Not that I know of. Anyway, I want my employees working, not fooling around. Time is money, you know? They bleed me dry as it is.”
“Sounds like you’re making enough here.”
“Yeah, well it was worth it. Keven regrets only asking for the car now. He keeps asking for a percentage.”
“Are you going to give it to him?”
“I might have to, but for now I’ve been putting him off. He wants more say in things but I don’t know about that. It’s not like he took the risk or put in the effort to get all this going.”
“He did take some risk.”
“Alright, he got the seeds. But I meant financial risk. Hanley-Muller have never even asked him about it. If they know the seeds are missing they don’t much care.”
“Funny that, especially as you’re making so much money from them.”
‘It’s not that much but we’re still expanding. Best of all, it’s all completely legal. State cops came around once. They thought I might be growing pot. They soon saw I was doing something else and since then they’ve left me alone.”
“Cops, do they even exist these days?”
“Sure they do. Feds anyway. I guess the state is bankrupt. I made some donations, it’s all sweet.”
“So, you going to show me some plants? I haven’t seen so much as a seedling yet.”
“Alright, but you have to suit up,” Debbie said, leading the way into a kind of antechamber at the end greenhouse. Spare hazmat suits were hanging from hooks on the wall.
Debbie helped Lizzie into her thick white rubber suit and sealed the face mask in place for her. Lizzie had noticed the discrete H.M. logo on the mask with amusement. “Ironic that H.M. equipment is helping you grow plants stolen from them,” she said.
“Don’t say that around here. But you’re right, it is kinda neat. The suits, the plastic in the building walls, the fertilizer, even the hose pipes… It’s all H.M. stuff.”
Debbie put her own suit on with well-rehearsed ease and then led Lizzie through the first pair of air-lock doors. Even though Debbie was quick, Lizzie was already starting to feel hot inside the suit. It was soft and easy to move in, and the breathing mask wasn’t as intrusive as she’d expected, but it was still kind of sweaty.
“So we have a state of the art filtration system pushing fresh air through the galleries as we call them,” Debbie said, opening the inner doors.
The heat hit her like a wave and beyond the doorway, Lizzie saw a corridor of neatly tended plants. Not beans at all. They were large flattish things with broad, tapering leaves coming from a kind of central bulb. The leaves grew from a sort of ring low in the ground. In the centre was a hollow, a few inches across, filled with glistening fluid. As well as the broad flat leaves there were a number of long thin runners extending out in a radial pattern between the leaves.
“So that stuff in the middle, that’s what you sell?” Lizzie asked.
“Yeah. We harvest it, filter it and evaporate it down into a gel and then pack it into small plastic tubs, but no chemical processing is necessary.”
“The last two years you kept mentioning vines, but I don’t see any.”
“I’ll explain as we walk. The vines, that was my initial mistake. This plant has two forms you see? If you grow it without a high-protein fertilizer it produces a long creeping vine, like a kind of parasitic ivy. I tried to find a use for them, the leaves, even the seeds, but it’s basically good for nothing. Or so I thought. When I concentrated a huge amount of the sap I got my first trace of the aphro drug. Even then it was weak, and the quantities of plant required to make a single dose were too much. I figured it was a failure. I was going to give up. I even asked Kevin for my car back,” she said.
Lizzie bent down to examine one of the plants up close but Debbie pulled her back. “Don’t touch. It spoils the yield and makes the workers grumpy.”
“Sorry,” Lizzie said. “So how did you work it out?”
Debbie pointed across the rows of plants towards two suited employees pouring a thick black liquid goop around a plant. “I was watching a nature program about carnivorous plants and it reminded me of something I’d read years ago, about plants that only became carnivorous when placed in low nutrient situations. It seemed like a long shot but I had nothing to lose except my time. I started growing a single batch of experimental seedlings. Some I starved on a moss bedding, some I tried feeding with animal material. I was using freeze dried mince. Inevitably the stink was atrocious.”
“But it worked, right?” Lizzie said. She was already tired of this story. It would be better if Debbie finished it outside where it was cooler and she could take off the suit. On second thoughts, she was headed for a shower as soon as she got out.
“Basically. The plants fertilized with mince grew into something like the one you’re seeing now. The vine type has a bulb too, but it’s just a normal bulb. These, the bulb is hollow, a bit like a pitcher plant. The leaves are slippery and have a scent that attracts insects. They land on the leaves and fall down into the sticky liquid trap in the middle. If something touches the leaves they also spray out a mist that can stick up an insect’s wings and make it drop into the trap. So, even the insects that fly off can get caught. The mist falls back into the trap too, so it isn’t wasted, at least if the air is still.”
“We try not to touch the leaves as the mist spraying cuts into our yield.”
“So, what about the runners?”
“They’re like a hold-over from the vine. The plant uses them to propagate itself, which they do very well. Also they will grab at small animals and drag them in. They’re sticky too. They’re not really strong or fast enough to drag in anything bigger than a rat. Still, in the field of carnivorous plants that’s pretty much unprecedented.”
“Do they ever attack people?”
“All the time,” Debbie said with a laugh. “Yeah. It happens all the time. They can’t do anything to you though. A human is way too big for them. So, it hasn’t turned into day of the Triffids… Not yet. Still, I always worry about something nasty happening if somebody gets stupid careless. Anything like that happened, I’d have to shut down, even if nobody really got hurt. Hence the suits.”
“How do the suits help with that? Sweating inside this thing is distracting as anything. I don’t think I could stick working here,” Lizzie said. “It’s pretty horrid. I was considering asking you for a job, but there’s no way I could bear this for long.”
“Take a sniff,” Debbie said, and before Lizzie could stop her, she reached out and pulled Lizzie’s mask off.
The greenhouse air was warm and humid on her skin. Very humid. She didn’t intend to take a breath and play Debbie’s stupid game, but she had to yell at Debbie and so she sucked in a lungful of air…
Whoosh. Wooooosh… It hit her almost straight away. She barely noticed Debbie fitting the mask back in place for her. Stupid Debbie was talking but she couldn’t be bothered to listen. Blah blahblah boring plant story, so dull. She’d made a fortune off these damn plants but she was too much of a workaholic to appreciate it. Why would somebody as rich as her bother coming to these dull greenhouses every day when she could just kick back?
Hmm, Lizzie thought, I really am getting tingly. The itch in her crotch was becoming insistent. She chewed hard on her lip – a habit of hers – her hand reaching up to grab her breasts, pinching her nipples through the thick rubber suit. If only she could get to her crotch. The stupid suit was in the way. She should probably take it off.
No. No, that would be really stupid. There was something in the air. Something making her dumb and horny. She let her mind go blank. Debbie led her from the greenhouse as she squeezed at her nipples.
A few minutes later, stripped of her suit, Lizzie could feel herself returning to normal. Her knickers were soaking wet. Really, really wet. She’d have to take them off because they were unwearable.
“That was a filthy trick,” Lizzie complained. “If I wasn’t still so spaced out I’d give you a piece of my mind. Right now though… I’d forgive you completely if you handed me a vibrator.”
“We do that with all the new hires. Teaches them not to get complacent about the suits. Of course, you do get used to the aphro after a while, so you can cope better if you get a dose. You also learn to tell when it’s sneaking up on you. Sometimes the mask isn’t seated right and you catch a dose bit by bit that comes on gradually. That can be bad the first time, but nobody has been caught that way twice.”
“You might have a point. I appreciate the suit now. So why are all your employees women? Is there something you’re not telling me?” Lizzie said, then she blushed, regretting her outburst.
“Can you imagine what it would be like if some big strong man got a dose of this stuff? I have my safety to consider. Everyone working here is a petite woman. If one of them goes out of control, it only needs two of us to overpower her and nobody gets... You know…”
Lizzie reflected that she was still kind of woozy. “You’ve been thinking about this a lot. I can tell,” she said. Even so, she had the sense not to say out loud that rape would look real bad on the health and safety record.
Debbie giggled. “You could say that. Night and day for nearly two years. So I’m overdue a rest. Long overdue. Let’s go and get ready for that party.”
Lizzie leaned too closely against Debbie, her breath hot against her cheek. “What’s your costume going to be?” She said.
“Poison Ivy of course,” Debbie said.
* * * * *
The Halloween party was winding down back at the house. Debbie’s house. It was massive, a brand new mansion built from the proceeds of the aphro drug. Full height glass walls. Lights everywhere. Gym. Swimming pool. Stables. Everything. Some of the employees lived there, as well as Debbie. They had their own wing of course.
Apparently, all the staff, their boyfriends and husbands and children had been invited, along with everyone Debbie had ever known, and a whole bunch of people that she probably didn’t know, who dealt with her business or had some other tenuous connection. Lizzie didn’t know any of them.
She had to see something. Debbie had mentioned it in passing at the party: the thirteenth greenhouse, or more accurately the first of thirteen. Supposedly, it was tiny, tucked away in a corner, and it held only one plant. This plant was the first one that Debbie had cultured into the true drug producing form, the first one to receive the right combination of fertilizers, heat and humidity.
The aphro-bulbs didn’t turn carnivorous based on lack of nutrients but because of the presence of them – the right kind. Lizzie suspected that the corporation had designed them that way, it would be a bizarre circumstance that would lead one to accidentally take on the alternate form. Were they designed that way for safety, or in aid of secrecy?
Lizzie slipped away from the party after Debbie got too drunk to stand and had to be carried to bed.
She wasn’t really dressed for exploring a farm in the dark. She was still wearing her costume, what there was of it. The after effects of the exposure in the greenhouse must have still been with her when she got ready. She’d discarded the cloak from her vampire outfit. The short black skirt, knee boots and see-thru mesh crop top were all she had on apart from the black satin underwear she’d bought specially to go under it all.
She caught sight of herself in the mirrored glass of the greenhouse, complete with black lipstick and panda-grade eye-makeup, and winced. She looked more slutty than sexy. She’d made a complete fool of herself. It was Trinidad all over again.
The party had been the fanciest thing she’d ever been to. At first she’d felt great. The influence of the plant still in her blood. Everyone and everything had looked cute. She’d been too afraid to approach the men.
She’d even failed to talk to the dozen or so dumb bimbo waitresses with their big tits and skimpy maid outfits, but they hadn’t spoken a word to her. After a while she’d felt sick and embarrassed. She wasn’t into that lesbian stuff. That just wasn’t her. There were so many hot guys but with her confidence punctured she knew they wouldn’t look at her.
The fear of being caught sneaking through the greenhouses in the dark soon made her forget about it. Everything was deathly silent apart from the regular hum from the air-filter systems. From what she’d gathered, normally the approach to the farm was watched by cameras and there was discrete security all around the perimeter, in addition to the ten foot high wire-mesh fence. Debbie didn’t want anyone getting in and stealing her secret, though they’d have to know it was here in the first place of course. Pretty much everyone assumed she was growing the ordinary kind of drugs, or maybe just vanilla.
She kept the guards at the perimeter so they never learned what they were keeping secret. Like the police they probably thought it was a pot farm. There was no security once you got into the main enclosure. She’d let herself in with Debbie’s key-card. It had been lying on her bedside table when she’d put her to bed. Careless, putting temptation in her way like that. She wasn’t going to steal any seeds or cuttings though, she just wanted to see the original. She would have asked Debbie to show her, but after the incident with the mask she’d got distracted.
Lizzie admitted, she might be lying to herself. She was more than a little envious of Debbie’s wealth and success. She felt a fool for mocking her the day those seeds arrived. If she’d stayed to help back then, half of all this would be hers. She deserved a little share didn’t she?
Finally, she found the place. It really was small and hidden away. At first the farm had looked wide open and flat, but there were actually walls and wind-breaks all over the place. The original greenhouse was tucked in behind a large shed that reeked of rotting fish. Whenever the breeze wafted a hit of it her way Lizzie nearly threw up.
The original greenhouse had some masks hanging in a kind of porch area and she gladly fastened one on, ridding herself of the stink. She looked around for one of the suits but there wasn’t one. She’d have to go all the way back to one of the big greenhouses. No, there wasn’t time. She’d probably tripped some kind of alarm or tell-tale, or somebody would come out to check the plants sooner or later. The scent would take ages to get to her though her skin anyway, if it even worked like that.
There was no airlock on the little greenhouse. The door slid open directly onto the interior. She felt a wave of warm moist air rolling out at her. Quickly, she stepped inside and slid the door quietly closed behind her. She didn’t want the precious plant to get a chill; Debbie would kill her for that.
It had been almost completely dark out amongst the greenhouses – another reason it had been hard to find her way – but it was darker still inside. She had only the moonlight to see by. Outlined by silver rays she saw the biggest aphro-plant she could have imagined. In fact, it was much bigger than she’d imagined.
The triangular leaves, like aloe-vera without the spikes, arched over her head. The pool in the middle was feet across. The ones in the production galleries had been less than six inches. The thing was immense. She couldn’t help thinking of the Little Shop of Horrors. Was this Debbie’s Audrey?
Lizzie felt a sudden stab of fear. She really was in a greenhouse with a giant carnivorous plant. It was a good thing she had her wits about her. Maybe she should have gone to one of the ordinary greenhouses but it was too late now. She’d just get one little cutting and then leave. She knelt down and rummaged through her bag for the half empty water bottle and the little pair of nail scissors.
Lizzie chewed her bottom lip as she searched for the scissors. It was hard looking with only one hand, she ought to find her phone and use the light but her left hand was busy squeezing her nipple, which just felt so right. Why would she stop? There was no rush. Nobody was coming. If an alarm had gone off they’d be here by now and they were probably all still guzzling free champagne at the party. And hadn’t Debbie said that all the staff were there? She hadn’t seen any of them, but that didn’t mean they weren’t there.
Lizzie stopped searching for a moment. It made more sense to hitch up her skirt so she could get her hand into her knickers. Oh, those satin knickers were so smooth – she’d have to buy some more when she got home. The bra felt great too. Why had she been living like an ascetic with her nasty scratchy things? Sure they had nice linings, but what about at the edges where they touched her skin, or her hand as she slipped it beneath them?
Lizzie gave a sudden yelp of fear. Something had touched her ankle. She reached down and there was a quiet whipping sound. Something sticky caught around her wrist. She reached down to pull it free and another schwipp noise followed. Something caught around her other wrist, binding it to the first.
She made to stand, to step back to pull herself free. It had to be the plant. How mean of it to interfere when she’d been having such a good time. Instead, she found herself pulled forward. Instead of standing, she toppled forward onto her knees.
She tried to wriggle back but the pull on her wrists dragged her forward despite her efforts. It was remorseless. She shuffled forward on her knees then lost her balance again, falling away from the plant, smack onto her front. Her bra, already half off, caught in the leaves that covered the ground and tore free, leaving her bare boobs sliding over the waxy surface of the foliage.
As she drew closer to the plant the leaves grew smoother and smoother. She tried to struggle back to her knees but it was like trying to stand on ice. Despite that, her knickers, which had somehow gotten down around her thighs, caught on something and started to pull down her legs.
Lizzie spread her legs, trying to use her knickers to hold herself back but her desperate efforts served only to rip the delicate stitching and they were torn away. She was drawing closer to the plant now and there more whipping noises as more sticky tendrils attached themselves to her legs.
Her legs were being dragged towards the centre, even as her wrists were held in place. Then, all too suddenly, she found herself sliding down a slope, feet first. With her skirt ridden up, her naked behind slipped over glassy leaves and she dropped into the pool at the middle of the giant bulb with agloopy splash that only a thick sticky liquid could make.
She thought she was about to drown, but the stuff only came up to her neck before her feet hit bottom. As long as she kept upright she could maintain her mouth above it. It wasn’t even the first thing on her mind.
It seemed like the inside of the bulb was filled with tendrils, and that was perfect. She could feel them slithering around her legs, between her thighs, around her waist, beneath her breasts, or brushing across them.
Her mind numb with passion, her crotch melting with desire, her mouth agape and moaning, she was beyond all coherent thought. A tiny part of her remained conscious, watching as if from a distance as the remains of her clothes were stripped off, almost as if the plant had some deliberate intent, though of course that was impossible – it was just a plant.
Tendrils wound around her breasts, squeezing them, forcing the blood into the sensitive tips, into her now swollen, desperately engorged nipples. If only she could touch them, but she was held, helpless, a spectator to her own pleasure.
The rough stickiness of tendrils stuck and tore at her nipples, leaving them raw and… No, not sore because the pleasure was pouring into them. The human brain wasn’t really made to take pleasure like this.
She felt more tendrils slithering around her thighs, stickily pulling the lips of her sex apart, opening her, opening her wide. She tipped her head back to scream in fear and delight only to have her mouth plugged by eager, questing vines. She tried to close it, to force out the invading mass, but the resilient vegetable strands were too tough and rubbery for her to make any impact. Instead they responded by pushing in more. Others seemed to be pulling at her tongue, as if intent on dragging it out of her mouth. She couldn’t even try to bite now, not without biting her own tongue.
The tendrils kept questing, not just the ones in her mouth but the ones that had found her sex which was now being invaded in much the same way. Oh, and they had found another hole. She twitched as her buttocks were suddenly spread wide. Her humiliation was completed as the tendrils found their way up inside her behind, filling her in a way she’d never been filled before.
They were soon joined by the ones penetrating her from the front and she felt a sense of stretched-tight fullness that would have seemed impossible except she was really feeling it. She tried to move her hands, she didn’t know what for because she couldn’t think, but she couldn’t do it anyway, they were firmly bound behind her and they wouldn’t even respond to her commands.
The tendrils binding her arms together tightened incrementally, forcing her arms together, now past the elbows and rising. Her chest forced out, her head tipped back, her nose remained only just above the level of the liquid.
It was then that the plant truly began to torment her. Cunning suckers sticking and unsticking from her poor exposed clit she found herself in the midst of a mind shattering orgasm. She came not once but again and again, seemingly without end. The chemicals transported her to a new place, a new high. Eventually, even the tiny remaining seed of her consciousness was blotted out by a relentless succession of orgasmic super-novas.
* * * * *
Debbie swayed awkwardly, sweating inside her suit, her hangover thumping behind her eyes. There was no way around it, she had to be there to direct her stupid workers as they fished Elizabeth’s unconscious body from the depths of the plant she affectionately called Kevin. There were only a few inches of liquid left in it now, the rest having disappeared somewhere during the night. Thousands of dollars gone. Stupid Lizzie.
“Come on you slackers, stop fumbling about and get her out of there,” Debbie urged them.
The three suited women finally handled the body away from the treacherous leaves and out through the open door of the greenhouse, dumping her onto the plain ordinary grass.
Another worker came up with a pressure sprayer of the kind normally used for insecticide and with a fine mist of ice cold water, gently washed the caked on, dried up slime from the naked, shuddering woman.
Debbie put a blanket over Lizzie as a worker closed the greenhouse door.
Later, Elizabeth awoke in one of the numerous rooms of Debbie’s house. She was lying naked, spreadeagled on a bed, her wrists strapped to the bedposts, her ankles bound the same way.
She yelled in a panic, struggling helplessly, until Debbie finally appeared.
“I see you’re conscious again. I expect it feels like your brain has been pulled out through your nose and that every orifice, along with your most sensitive spots have been put through a shredder, but you’ll get over it.”
“Why am I tied up? Let me go?”
Debbie leaned over her, releasing one of the wrist straps, then the other. “Oh, I just wanted to be sure you were sane. Who knows what a dose of aphro like that might do to a person? I’m not going to gamble on it.”
“I don’t remember what happened,” Lizzie said.
“That’s probably a good thing. There’s nothing directly addictive about aphro. You have to wonder at the mind of a person who’d design a plant like that. Took out the digestive chemicals and replaced them with something that makes people mad for sex. Old Hanley would probably be turning in her grave if she knew what her company was up to now eh?”
“What?” Lizzie groaned. She couldn’t care less about anything Debbie had said. She just wanted to get her ankles free and drink some water. She just couldn’t be bothered to do either.
Debbie unhooked Lizzie’s ankles. “I never heard of her dying, never saw an obituary, but she was born back in the twenties. She must have died years ago. She had a reputation for being a bit weird. She wore rubber. Was a recluse for most of her later years… But this plant, whoever took over sure has a sick sense of humour,” she said.
“Water?” Lizzie mumbled. Her voice was a fading croak. Her ankles now free, she went to sit up.
There was an odd patchwork of dark marbled marks over her abdomen, as if the veins themselves had turned black from some horrid bruise.
“What the heck?” Lizzie said, noticing the discolouration.
Debbie passed Elizabeth a glass of water. “Drink up. You’ll feel better. Probably. Oh, bad luck about those marks on your belly. I was hoping you’d be ok, but I guess you got impregnated after all. That’s only happened twelve times before. A few months from now the seeds in you will ripen and pop out. You won’t mind though because, in a few days’ time, the roots will have completely taken over your spine and worked their way up into your brain. It was an outside chance, but hey… Welcome to the workforce.”
Lizzie downed the entire glass of water then fixed Debbie with a woozy stare. It didn’t look like she could muster her thoughts properly. It took her a while to respond. “What are you talking about?”
“Same thing happened to my other workers. They don’t talk much now, or think much either… Not that I can tell, anyway. Fortunately, they kind of bonded to me like chicks to a mother hen, so they do what I say. The only urge they have of their own is to look after their babies.”
“You’ve already got that dumb look they have. They all kind of look alike, don’t they, with their big boobs and their dumb smiles?” Lizzie said. She felt a pang of pity for the plant-zombie that had once been her friend. “Oh, don’t make that expression. I didn’t do this to you. You did it yourself. I don’t need to force this on anyone. If I let those dummies out of their suits near the plants they’d be jumping in Kevin and popping out more seeds soon as look at them. As if I need any more seeds… Going to have to build another greenhouse now as it is.”
“Help me,” Lizzie whispered.
“I asked H.M. for help you know. At the start. Well, who else could understand this? You know what they said?”
“We never made a plant like that, they said. Our products are one hundred percent safe and approved by health bodies worldwide,” Lizziesaid, adding a snort of derision. “So I guess we’re on our own. Who knows? Maybe you’ll get better?”
But Debbie knew she was talking to herself now. Lizzie was just sitting there, motionless, a little trickle of drool running from the corner of her mouth. The green inside her had already spread down to the skin above her crotch.
Debbie passed her another glass of water.
“Here. Drink this. You’ll need it.”
And she did. Just as she was told. A good little zombie.
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