By Lynn Flaugh-Reynolds and Kat Franklin
(This is a serial story)
In a world that knows only green, red is an alien all unto itself. Green can only hide so much of the red that lies beneath the surface, and with it comes revolution.
* * *
There was no true beginning, though many argue that it started with them--that they saw the beginning with their own eyes and followed. They brag and boast that they saw it through from the start, and yet their stories are never the same. One says it began with a great shake of the Earth, another with famine, and many others as absurd as a stubbed toe. The truth is that no one saw the beginning, because no one was looking. They saw the explosion and the aftermath, but not the bomb that planted it all.
* * *
She stopped for a moment to catch her breath. The little boy frowned when he found she wasn’t chasing him and turned to tug on her sleeve.
“Paloà!” He huffed, “Hurry up!’
“Give me a second, Lakota.” She laughed, glancing around for the watchful eyes of her instructor. Unfortunately, she found them.
“Partridge!” Miss Fuar demanded,” Partridge!”
Paloá sighed, wincing at the stern glare her teacher gave her.
“Yes, Miss Fuar?”
Miss Fuar stood in the doorway, shaking her head at Lakota’s tiny hand still resting on Paloá’s sleeve. She crossed her arms and straightened her spine to loom over Paloá, shoving Lakota away as if he was nothing but an insect underneath her heel.
She looked down. Her nose scrunched as if she inhaled something particularly foul.
“What have I told you about playing with the children? It’s uncivilized for someone your age--playing games with those ruffians. Not to mention a waste of our time!”
“Of course, Miss Fuar.” But it was already too late--Marguerite Fuar was on a rant. Her pointy nose scrunched into her face so far it looked like it was trying to escape into her head.
“What are you Partridge?” Miss Fuar didn’t wait for an answer, ”A Gardener! And if chasing after these---weeds--- all day is the height of your achievements then I might as well say goodbye to our dear Agri now!”
Miss Fuar strided around Lakota as if he had personally offended her, and slid herself into a chair as far away from the door, and the child, as possible. She sat with her back straight, and her hands folded across her lap. Miss Fuar was a very traditional woman with a short temper. She did not have much patience for those that did not understand something on the first try and even less for those that did not get it by the second. Often, people wondered why she even became a Gardener when by all appearances she hated children. Miss Fuar lived and breathed the motto, “Distance births dedication." Those in their quaint little village pitied Paloa for being the student of the Fussy Fuar.
“Why are you here Miss Fuar?” Paloá asked, ushering Lakota behind her and glancing furtively toward the break room, where the tea pot was boiling over.
“Don’t sass me Partridge.” Miss Fuar snapped. Only after a heartfelt ‘Yes, Miss Fuar, apologies Miss Fuar’ and a hot cup of Eld Berns Tea did she finally respond.
Miss Fuar took a small sip then paused as if to mock Paloá with the power she had over her.
“The Dirigeant is coming to Agri for the midterm examinations--It’s the anniversary, you know.”
Miss Fuar paused to let that sink in while leaning back to take another delicate sip from her tea.
Paloá sat very still on her threadbare break room couch, mindful of Miss Fuar’s calculating gaze waiting for her reaction. Paloá’s heart quickened and her hands began to shake. Paloá slowly set down her cup in a casual gesture, hoping Miss Fuar hadn’t seen her weakness.
“I would love nothing more than to have our Dirigeant observe our lovely Province of Agricola. The Kola are a proud people.” Paloá looked Miss Fuar straight in the eye.
Miss Fuar smiled. “I’m glad we agree.”
(TO BE CONTINUED)