decayed expectations

Creepypasta #522: Green Thumb

My wife could grow anything. She has always had an affinity for plants, seemingly even preferring them to the company of humans. Not that she was a recluse by any means, once she became comfortable with you she had the most infectious laugh and a smile that was magnetic: you just couldn’t help but want to be around her.

I met her in a bar during my final year of college and the first time we stumbled into her apartment after one too many cheap beers I couldn’t help but notice, even in the midst of our clumsy drunk groping in the dark, the sheer volume of plants growing in her room. Being the smooth bastard I am, I took her on a picnic to the botanical gardens as a surprise for our second date and the radiant smile she gave me when she realized where we were was more dazzling than any of the flowers in the whole damn garden. I fell hard and I fell fest and five years later, after doing our time in dark dingy apartments eating top ramen, we bought a bright sunlit house with a spacious garden. One month after that, I finally knelt in the dirt of that same garden surrounded by her newly growing flowers, and I asked her to be my wife.

Our house was always bursting with color: flowers, fruits, vegetables, she even managed to grow a lemon tree in our kitchen before it got intrusive and we replanted it in the front yard. She worked as a biology teacher at the local middle school and was loved by her students. Even the hormonal pre-pubescent monsters that I take all middle school children to be did not deter her from wanting a large family. It was sooner than I would have liked as we were both fairly young, but the idea of my own kid to teach and play video games with grew on me. So with great ceremony she threw out the rest of her birth control and the daily sex we had the following months would have made a sailor blush. I was young, in love, and living the dream.

Children were not to be, however. After the immense joy and celebration of the first positive pregnancy test, a miscarriage followed. And then another. Each feeling moment of joy was quickly replaced with loss and heartbreak and no doctor could explain why. She threw herself even more vehemently into botany, and the plants she grew were nothing short of breathtaking. Maybe the universe was compensating for her inability to grow a child or it was something that was always innate to her, but it seemed like she always knew precisely what each plant needed. She could grow fruits and vegetables out of season and her flowers always grew larger and more vivid than they naturally should.

Then she was pregnant again. She waited until past the first trimester to tell me, when the danger for miscarriage had passed. It was to be a boy. We were ecstatic. We converted one of her plant rooms into a nursery, complete with baby blue hydrangea flowers and white orchids. For the next few months I saw my wife’s smile in all it’s dazzling beauty, not merely a shadow.

That Tuesday when I left for work was the last time I saw that smile or any iteration of it. She was 6 months pregnant, I remember resting my hand on her swelling stomach as I kissed her goodbye. She was wearing a yellow dress the same shade as the sunflowers she grew by the front door. When I came home from work that night, the house was dark and my wife was nowhere to be found. I searched the garden and all the rooms before I finally thought to check the nursery. There my wife was, kneeling on the floor in her yellow dress stained dark red and brown, her hair and hands covered with what looked like dirt. She had lost the baby.

I wish I could tell you that I took her into my arms and comforted her, that I took her to the doctor and cared for her and sought out a therapist. I can’t claim any of these things. I remember leaving her in her yellow dress in that damned room and sobbing alone on the bathroom floor. I remember picking up the bottle but I don’t remember ever putting it down. The plants in the house all died. We both walked around like ghosts, never speaking to one another, she kept all the windows shuttered and closed. We slept apart, she slept in the nursery. For my part, I couldn’t even bring myself to approach that part of the house as the sight of the baby blue nursery door filled me with too much rage. Her hands were always covered with dirt, I didn’t care enough to wonder why as all the plants were dead and the thought of her alone tending to dead wilted plants in the empty nursery was too much for my frail state of mind.

Then I started hearing the crying. I would wake up in the middle of the night and in my still drunk state I could swear that I could hear a baby crying. I would always shrug it off as my wife crying and the sound being distorted by the 9 or so beers I had to have to get me to sleep. It was soft and muffled first, barely recognizable as human but in the passing weeks it sounded more and more like a newborn. I switched from beer to whiskey and starting taking vicodin. Then came the scraping. I could hear the faint scraping noises coming from the nursery down the hall. It sounded like somebody softly dragging their nails across the wooden floor. I stopped going to work.

I finally gathered the resolve to approach the nursery the next evening, as my wife had briefly left the house for the first time in 2 weeks. The first thing I noticed when I opened the door was stench of decay. It was pitch black, darker even than the rest of the house so I turned the flashlight app on my phone. Next I noticed the decomposing blue flowers of the nursery, but as our whole house was full of decaying plants I was expecting it. There was dirt everywhere, the carpet was black with loose soil, most of it originating from the baby crib in the corner. I was seized with cold fear at the sight of the crib, something more powerful and sobering than the usual haze of rage that I lived with. Something kept me moving closer and once I finally made out what was laying in the midst of the dirt and blood I promptly expelled the whiskey had an hour ago.

I saw my son, my baby son that died when he should have been no bigger than a pear, but somehow the size of a newborn, somehow alive. Yet his skin was mottled gray and stained with dirt, with long root-like appendages extending from his torso in every direction. His fingers and toes too were elongated into roots. Every once in a while I would see a root slither through the soil. As I turned my phone light on him I saw him recoil and open his mouth into a scream as he tried to burrow deeper into the soil, his appendages scraping against the wood. I quickly turned off my phone, the light seemed to hurt him.

I smiled in the dark. My wife could grow anything.

Credits to: HumanRoots