Avera stared through the vent out into the main arcade. She had been here for two hours so far. Out along the safety railing there was a bush, or possibly a small tree, she wasn’t entirely sure yet. What really got to her was that no one else had noticed it there yet.
While making her rounds earlier she had noticed a small twig growing up through through a crack in the floor between two tiles. She almost didn’t catch it as the couple of leaves where a coppery green. It matched fairly well with the rest of the decor, all things considered. The twigs were a dark red though, that’s what finally caught her attention.
She had decided that on her second lap, she would take care of the tiny invader. On her second lap, it had grown about two inches and sported several more leaves. Not only that, she had spotted a second one at the other end of the arcade. Small organics were only allowed in specially marked containers and at approved locations. Avera reviewed and paraphrased the rules in her head. This was neither spot and she was pretty sure it was not an approved plant.
So she had done the next best course of action. Flee, regroup and observe the enemy.
Inside the ventilation, laying open next to her was her book of observations.
After an hour when she had started, the little bush had grown several more inches and the leaves changed from their reddish and bronze green to a waxy darker green color. Still no one noticed.
At an hour and a half, she had noticed a definite area around the plant that no one would walk through, giving the plant a buffer area in a high traffic area that people would normally walk through.
It hadn’t been until fifteen minute prior that she had noticed there were several more of these small bushes that popped up in other inconceivable locations.
She had started a new page for the locations.
One was growing out of a gas lamp.
There was another in the window of Chromatic Gas and Conveyors department store. Sally, the girl working in the store today had put a sign in the window, ‘Ruby Check Valves – half price!’ right in front of the growing bush as though it hadn’t even been there.
Another had grown up in the middle of the floor and the customers just walked around it. She wasn’t even sure if they were aware they were doing that.
The more she looked, the more of these tiny tree things she saw and had given up keeping notes on each one of them.
The first one was now about four feet high, she guessed. The others were rapidly catching up with the first one she had found.
Avera decided that it was time to deal with this plant before it got more out of hand.
She wiggled her way out of the duct work and dropped to the floor. Several people gave her annoyed look but she ignore them. She began a weave, so it would be ready by the time she got close to the Alpha Tree as she decided it was called.
The tree now stood about five feet tall and took up a considerable amount of room that people had to have noticed by now. But no one did. Avera strode up to the tree.
“Alright, Tree. What are you and ….”
Avera found herself standing at the edge of a forest, looking out towards a beach and ocean. It was pleasantly hot. Waves crashed into the pearl white sand slow and steady. With enough trough between them to enjoy each wave as it rolled by. She had been really lucky to stumble across such a place. She kicked off her boots and wiggled her toes into the shaded sand. It had been a long trip from… from… why couldn’t she remember?
“Tree!” Avera shouted, the sights of the Market flooded back into her vision. People looked at her funny as she whirled on the tree, hand outstretched and braced. “Identify yourself, Tree-Thing.”
“Someone should get security,” a passerby whispered, “She’s just standing there and it’s scaring people.”
Avera looked around to see a small crowd had formed. “Everyone please step back, this area is not secure,” she announced as politely as she knew how. People ran. “I didn’t say run! What’s wrong?” A branch hit her in the back of the head.
Avera grunted as she picked herself back off the floor. She was surrounded by various sized bushes and trees. Several more branches whipped towards her. She twisted and dodged, then jumped out over to the other side of the arcade. The entire walkway was now covered in the small trees. She frowned, she was out of door mats.
More trees were growing out of any available space as they advanced on Avera. She backed up against the wall. Next to the emergency fire extinguisher was the emergency ax along with the emergency flame thrower. She debated which one would be better.
Ax it was. She broke the glass. The trees had made it to her side of the arcade now. Her legs buckled and she felt woozy. The weave she had started had finally finished. Avera smiled. She focused the last bit of thread into it and it detonated. Small explosions ripped through the air and floor, tracing back along the path she taken from her current location to the air vent.
Trees fell over as their footing exploded into shrapnel. The heat caused others to catch on fire and soon an entire swath was kindling and on fire. Avera had dropped to her knees, panting hard and propping herself up with the ax. There were still a lot of trees that were not in her path of destruction.
She forced herself to get back up, putting a small weave onto the edge of the ax and then swung at the closest tree. The ax went through it like hot knife through butter.
“Take that, trees!” She swung through several more trees, leaving stumps behind her. She had to stop every two steps to catch her breath. As she continued, the trees grew smaller until there were none around her again.
Avera looked up and down the hallway, there were no trees left. “That will teach you to try to invade MacSweeny’s!” she laughed. Then fell on her face.
Vicky turned the corner and stopped. The arcade was on fire, blown up and destroyed. She picked her way through the rubble until she found Avera laying face down on the floor, an emergency ax in her hand.
Vicky poked Avera with her boot. “What did you do this time?”
Avera managed to make a thumbs up. “My job,” she whispered.