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There is no standard plot formula and no predictability, there is only a surreal and ink-like mental representation of the memories, feelings and beliefs that drive a person’s suffering and hold back their acceptance of their life, self-image and search for love. I can only offer a glimpse into the darkness of a person’s profound melancholia.

Chapter 3

Poppy Flower Girl

Taking several irregular strides forward, the path beneath Valiko’s bare feet and his surroundings began to change unceasingly, like a canvas endlessly tormented by the numerous brush strokes of a playful and cynic artist. The brisk, invigorating white night of Toronto metamorphosed into a peaceful and wet grassy valley cradled dotingly by a thick creamy mist that periodically dispersed with the cool breeze only to return daringly like a guilty parent, tasked by numerous domestic responsibilities, to their little one’s crib, unable to resist caressing their child.
Trailing the damp, dark green turf with her itsy- bitsy trotters a girl giggled amusingly to the tickling sensations, her laughter perpetually increasing in volume with every additional step until her merriment thundered across the entire vale, echoing off the hillside. Behind her every step bouquets of opium poppy flowers sprouted into full blossom, maturing in a trice of a second, their petals curling up to form fruitful, bulging buds nearly splitting from ripeness. She picked a flower every other step, lancing the bud with her Damascus blade vertically just above the stem and sucked out the latex insatiably. Her shadowy hair whirled into uncontrollable fits of hysteria, spreading into gigantic arms that pulled dozens of the narcotic capsules into its grotesque black jaws and devoured them uncontrollably.

Valiko grabbed several of the flowers in a manic trance, wrestling with the crepuscular demon for consecutive doses of the potent drug and sipped the milky white liquid, his hands trembling wildly from its compelling effects. Continuing on unhurriedly, they reached an infinitesimal pool of crystal clear water encircled by a pack of grey wolves guzzling down the fresh, clean liquid whilst periodically raising their furry heads looking around for any potential threats, their keen blue eyes penetrating through the blanket of mist into the distance and responsive ears twitching skittishly to the slightest noise. Upon seeing approaching guests they dispersed instantly, sprinting with supernatural speed into all directions across the hills and beyond, disappearing entirely from view.
The poppy girl strayed near the edge of the pool and her flower trail started to mushroom around it, multiplying at an exponential rate and growing to mammoth size proportions. Despite the vigorous attempts of her dark, winding spirit to snatch as many gigantic specimens as possible, it could not keep up with their rapid profusion and exhausted itself. Withdrawing it distracted its appetite by reshaping its host’s hairstyle incessantly. The girl’s craving weakened sharply and, turning around to look at her companion with a questioning peek and drowsy red eyes, dived into the pool unexpectedly, her flowers dissolving instantly in an eruption of squealing shadows.
Valiko sauntered towards the pool and leaning down felt the unfathomable depth enrapture him with

its refreshing temptations. Unable to keep balance from the stupefying effects of the mystical poppies he tumbled over into the water, the liquid engulfing his entire body and dragging him to the recesses of its bosom.
Shivering violently from the bitter cold, Valiko awoke to witness an icy field spotted with volcanic mountains of snow. Hot lava spouted from their orifices, melting the frost instantly and vaporizing into steam by a new layer of thick ice crystals sprayed by a colossal cloud moving with sinuous grace across the sky. The entire field was studded with blue roses covered by speckles of snow, unaffected by the wintery frigidness and blooming resplendently despite the absence of warm sunlight. Looking at his rose, he witnessed the edges of its petals gradually bluing from the arctic winds. He snuggled into his dark cloak and almost instantly felt cozily warm like a piece of toast smothered with butter while his feet burned through the ice like hot, flaming coals soaked in fuel.
The poppy girl approached him, nearly tipping from the intoxicating effects of the opium while waving her hands into the air in a fit of outrage from the inability of her flowers to grow and harvest their fruit in such extreme conditions. With her blade raised up threateningly she started on Valiko, swinging the Damascus steel hysterically, elongating it with each swish until it extended to the size of a long sword.

Valiko grasped his rose and, passing his arm through the shadowy cloak, wet his hand with its inky substance. Imagining a shield in his mind’s eye he lifted the rose in front of himself until it weaved into a shape characteristic of those used by soldiers of the ancient Roman Empire, the rose head curling into the center of its underside to form a smooth handle and stuck out its thorns like skewers from the other. With his stained hand he conjured up a svelte rapier with a finger guard and readied himself for the girl’s vicious advance.
The poppy girl swung out violently with her weapon and struck a surprisingly hefty blow against the shield, shattering several of its thorns and fracturing a part of its rugged surface. She stumbled backwards on her bottom from the impact and Valiko smacked her blade with his, fracturing the fine Damascus steel to pieces. Quite unperturbed, she raised herself up and, peering impatiently at her armed foe, changed her strategy of attack. Her hair began to twirl wildly in all directions, dancing madly to the tumultuous winds. Slowly it manifested into a formidable, spine-chilling shady creature of indistinguishable form with mammoth size pincers that lashed out ferociously at Valiko. The creature seized his sword and destroyed it in a single snap, leaving a nothing more than an inky spot upon the snow.
Grasping the handle of his defense firmly with both hands, Valiko sidestepped towards one of the hills precipitately in fear for his life as the monster

thrashed his shield brutally. Each hit was more damaging than the last. His rose began to slump from the savage hammering of the beast, its snarly structure gradually weakening and its petals infected by a pale blue color. Another mighty ram from the demonic shadow maimed the shield, destroying the gnarly intertwined stem and felled Valiko onto his back.
Holding the unwound, diminishing rose close to his chest, he braced himself for the worst. At that moment, the agile clouds circling the sky in random patches billowed together to form a titanic chain-like structure that hemmed in the shadowy monster and showered it with a torrent of hail, toppling it together with its poppy girl host straight into the path of a recurrent discharge of lava from one of the mountains, extinguishing them both in a flurry of smoke.
The ice cracked beneath his feet, sending Valiko tumbling down through a tunnel filled with a waterfall of cascading light resembling a sapphire blue aurora diffused throughout a starry sky, flooding his perceptions in a sea of wonder. Feeling an extreme dizziness overtake him, Valiko closed his eyes in an effort to shed himself of its nauseating effects. His head began to spin wildly, his thoughts raced uncontrollably, and his extremities developed a nippy numbness. Opening his eyes once more; the discomforting sensations abruptly ceased. The burdening weight upon his chest returned to plague him.

He found himself facing a chipped brick wall, smothered in abstract graffiti and covered with vines that weaved turbulently through the crevices, carving out a small doorway-like opening by eating away at the stone. Valiko, stepping through the orifice, bent down to fit through its cramped dimensions and found himself behind his writing desk.

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Ivan Samokish

Mississauga, Canada

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