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๐—ง๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ฃ๐—น๐—ฎ๐—ป๐˜

๐˜ฃ๐˜บ ๐˜ก๐˜ท๐˜ช ๐˜ˆ. ๐˜š๐˜ฆ๐˜ด๐˜ญ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ



Today, Dr. Amos Burnley declared to himself, is Dr. Amos Burnley Day!


Dr. Burnley had just been told by none other than old man Dunham himself that he would be in charge of the โ€œLaxin Paciforia Trappistaโ€ the first alien plant brought to Earth.


InterStellar Laboratories had been originally created by NASA to study the samples returned to Earth from Mars, asteroids, meteorites and comets. Over the past few years the new space explorations conducted by the combined efforts of the United States, Russia, China, India, Israel, France and England expanded to return water and ground samples from distant planets.


Despite the accusation of domestic abuse of his wife and children which his now ex-wife Natalie dropped when he gave her a $500,000 settlement, Burnley was considered a genius in the study of plants. And Laxin Paciforia Trappista was just a simple plant. Besides, Burnley had been nominated for a Nobel twice and his colleagues believed his would be awarded the prize one day. Many scientists had told that to the Board of Directors.


The plant, nicknamed LPT by everyone, was assigned to Dr. Burnley who gave it its own room and plenty of light. It preferred to eat small animals like mice and rats and would also devour cats, small dogs and raccoons. As a test he once stole a baby from a stroller in front of a grocery store in the next town. He left it near the plant and the next morning the baby was gone. No trace.


Vicious carnivore, Dr. Burnley thought, Iโ€™ll have to experiment on it to see exactly what the limits are. The first day he fed the plant a couple hamsters which the plant quickly ate by using one of its branches to wrap around the creatures and dropping it into the center of the base from where all seven branches emanated. The animals disappeared into a hole and Burnley assumed it digested every bit of it as no traces were found. The next day he noticed the plant was slightly larger. The branches were a couple inches longer, the center a bit wider. Then he tried applying some match flames which caused the plant to close its branches. He then injected it daily with different medicines and poisons which caused the plant to tremble.


All the while Dr. Burnley was presenting reports which indicated rodents and small mammals were the preferred food of the plant.


Report 5: Transformation The plant uses it branches as tentacles, reforming from solid to flexible when an animal is nearby and wraps around it like a python, moves it over its center hole which I equate to a mouth and drops it in, digesting the entire prey, leaving no trace, not even an excretion. The plant seems to like all manner of rodent and mammal, even birds seem agreeable to its diet. Though as it grows it has eaten first dogs and now it seems satisfied to consume ponies. I fear as it increases in size it will be pleased to devour moose and eventually zoo animals such as lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos and giraffes. I do not think that even our most fearsome Earth-bound creatures will be able to avoid becoming a meal for LPT, but we shall see as time progresses.


Dr. Burnley continued his injections and flame tests which he noted seemed to make the plant shiver or cringe just knowing he was approaching.


Then after two months of experimentation and feeding, Dr. Burnley entered the room housing LPT with a blow torch. The plant began shivering in expectation of new cruelty. But as he approached the plant, one of the branches reached out and curled around Burnley wrapping itself around him so tightly he could not yell out. Burnley dropped the blow torch and tried to twist his way out but could not, and he found he was held so tightly he was totally helpless. As the grip tightened he could see a needle-like projection emerge from another branch. The branch moved closer to him and the projection inserted itself into Dr. Burnleyโ€™s neck so that he could feel fluid enter at the point of insertion. Burnley then passed out.


When he awoke several hours later he discovered his arms and legs were becoming branches like LPTโ€™s. Then he saw three new branches emerging from his body and root-like tendrils from the bottom of his body.


It was several days before employees of the InterStellar Laboratories finally made their way into the LPT room and were amazed to find two of the alien plants in the room. โœฆ



ย 

Zvi A. Sesling, Brookline, MA Poet Laureate (2017-2020), has published numerous

poems and flash/micro fiction and won international prizes. A five-time Pushcart Prize

nominee, he has published four volumes and three chapbooks of poetry. His flash fiction

book is Secret Behind The Gate (Cervena Barva Press). He lives in Brookline, MA. with

his wife Susan J. Dechter.


Speculative fiction & POETRY ZINE
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