Day 95: Flame Roses

Flame Roses
Matt Zurbo


Viva was not like any other girl. Her mum was a witch, her dad dove for pearls.

It made her stand out at school.
(Viva in school drop zone, with cars and normal kids, but she is in a small, floating row boat with an owl)

Mostly, she liked to be left alone (to look at clouds), imagining a world shaped by her dreams.

It bothered Viva that she did not fit in. How hard can it be? she thought.

Then, Miss Rough announced there would be show-and-tell. (All the other kids moaned, but Viva smiled to herself.) Here was Viva’s chance.

What to bring, she wondered. (A helmet of Dads? One of Mums shrunken heads?)

Best of all were the flame roses she passed every day. (That grew in a dragon garden. Dragon on dog chain, snout poking out from kennel.)

They smelt like villages buried under distant volcanoes,
like memories without images,
and the sweet taste of wild berries, (eaten while prowling on the back of big cats.)

Viva brought her flame roses to school, but first thing she took them into the yard… oh no! (the other kids laughed, snatching them off Viva, throwing them about) What sin!

“Oh, please!” Viva wailed. “Wait! There is so much more they can do! Their petals, the smell, the thorns, are most delicate magic, too!”

They can (set clouds on fire) make midnight sunsets.

(Viva holding up flaming rose, its thorns in air around her, and on her skin, like dozens of little weapons.)

Make soup that teaches people to dance.
(Viva’s Mum holding flaming rose above a cauldron, the soup in it is repelling from the rose, splashing up over the sides.)

Teach bees to hum tunes.

Their smell can inspire memories of things you’ll one day do.

“But this is fun!” the normal kids barked. “Don’t you want to fit in!?”
(Viva’s fire roses got rolled along the ground, put in awkward kid’s pockets as a joke, and tossed into smelly bins!)

One of the rose petals (all ablaze) caught on the breeze, that started a fire, that burned down half the town, and all of the school.
(Double page spread of: All that was left standing, in the smouldering ruins were Viva’s six bright fire roses… That now scared all the children.)

“ENOUGH!” Viva cried.
(Viva, on floating rowboat , sad and angry face, clutching all her rose, surrounded by ghoulies and strange things and dragon from mum and dad’s, as they head off, terrified kids hiding from them, peering horrified as Viva goes.)

Viva took her fire roses back to the garden, where the only breeze they might catch
was the breath of a dragon song.
(Viva on back of flying dragon, with tiny grey gargoyles with grey love hearts drawn on their chests, running the dragon’s spine, each holding afire rose. Owl below dragon, rowing boat through air.)

After that things weren’t the same.
(Viva waiting at bus stop on her boat, all the other kids huddled way from her. One poking her tongue out.)

Soon, she stopped going to everyday school.
(Viva in parent’s garden, being taught by Dad, still in diver’s suit, with tiny gargoyles from earlier holding up blackboard, writing and rubbing stuff out, etc… Dad is pointing to image he has drawn of a giant squid.)

Preferring to learn from mermaids,
(Viva on ocean floor in one of her Dad’s diving helmets, with seaweed notepad and pen, taking notes from mermaid.)

laze in trees,
(Viva lying on branch of bat-filled trees staring at the clouds)

and contemplate magic,
(Image of fire roses, with smoke same colour of each one, rising to form dancing smoke ladies. Bees buzzing about beneath roses.)

and all us fools…
(Long shot of two bullies fighting in school yard, other kids gathered, arguing, watching, etc…Viva in background, watching from afar.)


The End.

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