Flash fiction for you to read: The Blood Bloom

This is a flash fiction piece I wrote about a Winter Solstice ritual for regeneration, healing, and renewal. I posted the zine version of the story for solstice- here. I hope you like it.

The Blood Bloom

A hard fact about gardening is you have to cut, sever and kill to create a strong and healthy crop. A lot of death is involved in gardening, along with patience and backbreaking activity. Gardens, like the moon, ebb and flow. There are other times when all you need to do is gently squash some greenfly between your thumbs and fingers, slice up some slugs, and watch the bees enjoying their gathering and pollination.

For the blood bloom, it was the work done in the autumn and winter that mattered. As autumn ended, Kelly waited and watched for the last bloom. When it was ready, the moment the bud opened into the most treasured bloom, she cut it from the stem and thanked the rose for all its hard work.

Kelly took the bloom and hung it upside-down to dry. Then she tended to her early winter garden, gathering leaves to mulch the winter veggies, tidying, composting, feeding and tucking the beds up to protect from the coming cold.

On midwinter’s night, Kelly gathered her friends, lit a fire in the garden and fed it with laughter, tales, and wood from her winter pruning.

When the moon was high in the sky and the flames full of heat, Kelly called the four winds, North, South, East and West, and asked them to watch, listen, witness and guard her intentions.

“Goddesses and Gods of the earth and air, water and fire, spirit and shadow, hear my wishes,” she cried. “This year my heart has been broken. After blooming and blossoming it withered and died. This is the nature of the world, the cycle of seasons and the cycle of the moon.

“On this winter night, by the heat of the fire and light of the moon, I give you the last of my heart. I ask that you help me to recover from this pruning.

“I ask you to protect it against the dark winter rains, the cold and lonely times when it seems nothing will grow again, and help it rejoice with its fecundity when the spring rain encourages new sprouts to grow in the fresh sunshine.

“I ask for a fine, strong bloom, so I can give my heart to the best of the new lovers I know time will send.

“This will be my gift for them. A token of my strength, a reflection of my heart, fragrant and rich like the scent of a rose, delicate and soft like the velvety petals, and strong and protective as the stems and thorns.

“Accept this offering, my thanks, and my best intentions, and may you always be revered for your never-ending cycles, lessons and gifts to us. For we are all one and connected, so in giving this wish to myself, I give it to you, you give it back to me, and we all have what we need, always. As is the way.”

Kelly bowed her head to the fire and touched her fingertips to her third-eye, then blew a kiss to the world around her.

Finishing her intentions, Kelly placed the bloom, which she had cut and dried, into the fire and watched as it transformed into something bright and sparkling.

The friends ate and drank and enjoyed the heat. And as the shadows danced and flickered, Kelly was sure she caught glimpses of her new lover’s face in the fire, the sparkle in their eye, a flicker of their smile, and the heat of passion to come. She knew the world would change and life would go on. And more than that, she knew she already had what she needed, and she knew she always would.

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