Allison lay in her bed-awake from her beauty rest- and stared at the ceiling. She stretched her arms and legs, as par for the course of her morning routine. The, she rolled around her head to realign her neck and spine-again, a part of her daily routine- and as she did so, she felt that something was...Different, to say the least. She sighed and climbed out of bed.
Looks like it’s gonna be another sucky day today, Allison thought as she walked over to her bath house. She stepped inside and bathed, the warmth of the water washing away all of yesterday’s misery. As she reached up to wash her hair, she felt nothing. She reached up to feel for her hair, confused, but all she had gotten was the same result: nothing was there.
“Impossible!” cried Allison. “I remember having my hair up in a bun all last night.”
Once she got out of the shower, she stepped in front of her mirror and wiped away the condensation. She gasped when she saw her reflection. Her face had remained intact-albeit a bit yellow, but the rest of her head had been covered with thin, purple petals surrounding her head instead of her long, wavy red hair. With her towel wrapped around her body, she froze in place and stared at the petals in shock. She shook her head. “No, no. This is probably just a sick joke.” Allison ran back to the bath and ran water over her head, hoping to get her hair to stick back onto her face. She shuffled back towards the mirror and wiped her head with a new towel. The petals had not disappeared at all.
Oh dear, she thought. How am I supposed to go out in public when I look like a flower? Allison sighed heavily as she walked out of the bath house. Changing into new clothes, she began to pace around her bedroom. “What am I gonna do?” she said. “How are my friends and family gonna react? How can I get these stupid petals off me?”
Soon, the clock read 7:15 am, and Allison had been supposed to eat breakfast. She walked downstairs to the kitchen and grabbed her breakfast: a cinnamon bagel with cream cheese and a granny smith apple. She ate in a timely fashion, and headed back upstairs to finish brushing her teeth. When she looked into the mirror again, she had a small shiver of hope that maybe her hair will flop back into her eyes. When she turned back around to see herself, the petals remained on her head.
Oh no, she thought again, leaving the upper level to head to school. It’s still there… Oh dear. Now I have to go to school looking like this? Good lord…
Allison left her house and sighed. “Looks like my predictions were correct.”
In her first period class, Allison slid into her seat towards the front of the classroom. Along the way, her petals had hit a few of her classmates, accompanied with the phrases “My bad,” “I’m sorry,” and “Pardon me.”
Her teacher called for everyone’s attention. “Now then,” she started. “We are having a new seating chart, so please gather your things, everyone.”
The class erupted in groans, but the teacher silenced them. “Hush now!” She pointed to the back of the room. “Everyone, go to the back of the room so I can seat you all.” The students obeyed, and Allison scampered, following her classmates. She leaned back against the cabinets and closed her eyes, thinking back to the night before.
“Allison,” Her mother called. “It’s time for your dinner!”
“Okay, mother!” she called back, grabbing her water bottle and her phone. “I’ll be down in a bit!” She shut the window in her room and headed downstairs.
Her mother waited for her in the kitchen, tapping her foot on the floor. “Hello, sweetie.”
“Hi mother. What’s for dinner?”
“Stew chicken.” She started to spoon the food into Allison’s bowl. She grabbed her food and ate with her mother, attempting to make small talk. She loathed dinner with her mother, and she wanted it to be done with as soon as possible.
Her mother sensed something in her daughter. “Allison, is there something wrong?”
Allison took a bite of food. “No. Nothing’s wrong with me.”
A silence fell upon the two ladies before her mother spoke again. “Are you telling me the truth, Allison?”
“Yes I am.”
Everything became hazy at this point. There was a small hummingbird behind her mother, fluttering about. “Mother, there is a bird behind you.”
Her mother turned around. Nothing was there. “Allison Radeke, there is no bird behind me.”
She c***ed her head, confused and trying to contain her annoyance. “There is a bird behind you,” she repeated. “It is fluttering about the kitchen. A small red and green hummingbird.”
“Sweetheart, there is not a thing behind me. Please stop making up stories.”
“Mother, may I be excused?”
Her mother sighed. “No. You may not leave until you tell me what bird you are talking about this instant!”
Allison pounded on the table. “It’s right behind you!”
She looked back again. “For the last time, there is no bird! Now go be excused.”
Leaving the table, Allison stormed back to her bedroom and shut the door. “Damn you, mother,” she said quietly. “You never understand.”
She looked back up and saw the same hummingbird from before. “What do you want?” She stood up and opened the window. “Shoo, birdy, shoo!” The bird flew around her and landed on her head. “What are you doing?” She cried. “Go. AWAY.” She flicked her hand above her head, and the hummingbird pecked at her head once. Allison began to see blackness. She slid on her bed and finally, she fainted.
Allison opened her eyes and looked around, expecting to be in first period again. Except she wasn’t in first period, but she was in a new room now. A white room with nothing else but a bed and a television, which was turned off. The hummingbird from last night had returned to see her.
She groaned. “Why are you here?”
The hummingbird chittered. “You look nice, Allison.”
She growled. “Why are you here?”
The hummingbird flew around her head and got right up in her face. “Allison, I want you to tell me about your day.”
“What? Are you talking to me?”
“But why do I keep seeing you?”
The hummingbird sighed. “You must be hallucinating, my friend.”
Allison groaned, pounding at the bed. “It’s not a hallucination! It’s real, I swear!”
It pecked at her face. “Is it, now?” It made a small noise, most likely symbolizing a chuckle. “Ah, yes. You think that this is real?” She nodded, and the hummingbird continued. “Well, then. You are exactly correct.”
“So, I do have a flower on my head?” She said, genuinely concerned. “Am I going to have it there forever?”
“No, not forever, but your hair may not return until you do just one thing.”
She gave it a look of doubt. “What’s in it for me?”
The hummingbird flittered around the room and pulled on the covers in the bed. “Well, why don’t you take a look at one of your petals?”
Allison stood up and patted the petals on her head. There were less petals than before, and she felt one of the petals fall off of her face. It floated about in the air, spiraling down onto her feet. She picked up the petal and rubbed it. It felt as soft as a cashmere sweater, and it was a dark purple with a black spot. “What is this spot? And why is it black?”
“Whoa, one question at a time,” the hummingbird said. “Now, about the spot. The reason why you are getting spots is because these petals represent something inside of you, and the spots are the amount of time you have left.”
“The amount of time I have for left for what?”
“For living,” the bird said, taking the petal from her hands. “These are supposed to represent the amount of time you have left in your life.”
Allison touched the remaining petals and counted how many she had left. One, two… There had been only two left. “There are two left on me.”
“Yes. You’re correct. Those should be off in about an hour or so.”
She felt her body shake. “ONE HOUR? You mean I am going to die in an hour?” Her heart began to pound inside her chest. “Oh god, what am I gonna do?”
The hummingbird swirled around in a circle. “Nothing. All you can do is just sit back and relax.”
Another petal fell off of her head and into her hands. It was covered in multiple black spots instead of one. Allison began to cry. “What have I done to deserve this? I had been a nice girl all my life!” A tear slipped out of her eye and landed on her petal, now fully blackened.
She had turned to her right, expecting a remark from the hummingbird, but it had left. Small feathers colored red and green had fallen to the ground. A note was left behind, folded up.
Climbing back into the bed, she noticed her eyes getting heavier, and her vision blurred greatly.
Allison finally closed her eyes after another minute or so, falling into a deep slumber, not knowing she would that she would remain in it for the rest of her life.
The last thought she had was What was I supposed to do?
A week later, Allison’s tombstone had flowers planted all around it. These were purple with yellow centers, and the business card left on the ground was for the landscaping business called “Allison’s Asters.”