the greenhouse

Short Stories / Sunday, October 14th, 2018

The greenhouse was enormously tall, with different bows and turrets making up its roof. On bright summer days, when the sun shone and children were running around the pond outside, popsicle melting onto their hands, the whiteness of its Victorian skeleton and structure looked inviting, calling to mind not quite true memories of childhood Sundays happily spent in the sun before going home for a warm bath.

But in this grey weather which has been coming over the park in great dark clouds and the occasional drizzle of rain splaying against the tall windows, the greenhouse seemed gloomy and dark and it was hard to imagine that the sun had ever shone directly onto the plants breathing here.

Thomas was not amazingly interested in plants, nor did he specifically like children and parks and recreational areas in general but he had needed a job and he’d seen this one advertised on a blackboard in his local supermarket. It wasn’t too bad, to be honest. He was responsible for this part of the botanical garden, the greenhouse, which meant he had to make sure that it was open on time – 8 a.m. sharp – and that it was closed on time – 6 p.m. sharp – and preferably with no child left inside. He also got a 10 pound voucher for the cafeteria for lunch and he got free entries for himself whenever he wished, so that was something. But on days like this one, he hated his job. Not a single soul was visiting the park, no families and no crying children, much less laughing children.

He hurried past the pond quickly and towards the entrance gate of the greenhouse, the collar of his coat turned upwards to shield his neck from the strong winds. He was already thinking about his favourite show which he would watch as soon as he got home that night, and he was already dreaming about the left-over casserole his neighbour Martha had brought by just the day before but when he entered the greenhouse, he stopped dead in his tracks.

He’d never seen anything like this before, much less was he prepared for it or had an explanation for it: The trees and plants were all swaying rhythmically from one side to the other, creating their own small thunderstorm inside the greenhouse.

“What are you doing?” he screamed against the roaring winds conjured up by the plants but they did not halt their wondrous play to answer him. He tried to reach the far end of the greenhouse but the winds were so strong now that he could not set one foot in front of the other.

“What are you doing?” he tried again, his voice tiny against the sound of the wind.

“If the people of the world won’t listen, we have to start speaking up,” sang the trees and the plants and the roots and the winds they produced were now so ferocious that they shattered the glasses of the greenhouse and the white Victorian skeleton, and the winds that were set free now raged across the fields and the cities and the seas.


And the people read about it in the papers, told in Thomas’ words, and they heard about it in the news and they knew that something had to change in the way they treated the world they inhabited.

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