Flowers Of Despair

Finalist in the 'Dream Big 2013' competition

Tom gazed out the window at the dew that covered the lush green grass and allowed his eyes to drift over the sky. It was the perfect day. A butterfly flew low over the ground but Tom did not see a butterfly. He saw, or rather imagined, a dragon. A huge dragon with scaly black skin and a whip-like tail. It swooped low, breathing fire and devouring the blades of grass which, in Tom’s mind, took the form of soldiers trying desperately to fend them off. You see, Tom was no ordinary five-year old; he didn’t like running around. He liked sitting and dreaming about magical worlds and fantastic beasts, goblins, fairies or anything he wanted; it was his little hobby. He became so adept that he imagined things without trying; he even began not to see the real things. However, it sometimes got him into trouble.
“Tom!” Yelled the teacher. Tom looked down. It was maths. He hated maths because it involved no imagination: Three plus six equals… He had no idea how to answer, so went on to the next question but couldn’t do that either, and found himself drifting away.
“Right, since the school yard is so interesting, go out until you’re ready to concentrate!” Exclaimed the teacher.
Tom left the room with a sigh. He found a sunny spot among some flowers and lay down. He wanted to please his teacher, but didn’t want to lose his talent for imagining…
The flowers turned into people, soldiers fighting for glory. Their swords clashed and made amazing sounds. Tom thought, ‘This is where I belong – not in the world of maths or homework but here where everything is fine.’
But everything was not fine. Tom didn’t notice the butterfly coming towards him and it flew right into his face. Now, any other five-year old might have got a shock – but Tom was in one of his deepest and most vivid trances. He did not see a butterfly, he saw a beast, a snarling, terrifying beast with yellow eyes and a huge mouth. The tongue was blood-red and moved as if it had a life of its own. As it landed on his nose, the creature latched onto him, sucking his energy away. Tom tried to scream but could only whisper. He tried to run, but his legs felt like stone. His body grew cold until finally, out of breath, he collapsed.
An ambulance arrived and Tom was transported to the nearest hospital.
“He’ll be alright,” a paramedic reassured the principal. “He just fainted from fright.”
“Fright?” Replied the principal, startled. “Are you sure?”
“No, we’re sure that Tomas Simm fainted due to fright. It’s not uncommon, when a person witnesses something frightening, for the body’s nervous system to be affected, causing a drop in blood pressure which can lead to fainting.”
“But the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and even the butterflies are out! What could possibly have scared him so?”

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