Why the Flowers? [Fiction]

Sharon was walking around the lake. She enjoyed the smell of the the silver fin tree. The dark blue calmness of the lake, as she walked around it. The sound of the birds, looking for their food, warning one another. The cold wind, as it gently wrapped around her, guarding her.

She enjoyed this walked in the wilderness. It was one of the only times, she could be with the nature. She liked people, but their connection was never as strong as this.

She stopped at the nearby patch of flowers. Primroses were making their bloom known. Their normal yellow colour was complemented with others: red and blue, green and pink, orange and purple.

The flapping of the bird was heard over her head. Sharon standed up and started to walk home. It was getting late.

As she came to her wooden house, she noticed the white car parked in front of it. She walked to her front door, meeting her visitor.

"Sharon Olson, right?"

His brown eyes looked her up and down, as she nodded.

"My name is Joe Price. I am an organisation for national flower show. Since we are short on judged, I was wondering, if you could jump in?"

He fished his business card from the breast pocket of his dark blue suit. Sharon wondered how much did it cost. It looked expensive.

She took the card, and read it. She then narrowed her eyes.

"I wasn't aware people here knew I was accredited judge."

Joe waved his hand. He looked dismissive of her worries.

"Miss Evans recommended you. The place in on the other side of the card. Be there at 9 o'clock in the morning."

And without any other words, he left for his car and drove away.

Sharon slowly entered the house, trying to get back the feeling of calmes from her walk. She left the card with the keys in the entrance hall.

The card did not give her peace. After eating dinner, fried polenta with mushrooms, peas and wild onion, she went to retrieve the card. She chuckled to herself.

"What I am even worrying about?"

She arrived there at 9 o'clock sharp. She pushed her working glasses on and walked inside.

There were people everywhere, getting ready for the contest. She could see all the different flowers. Some of the bigger ones, she didn't even recognize.

There was a great arrangement with sunflowers. One other pair were putting the last tulips to their creation. There were at least three contestants, that were using allium, and it looked great. Calla lily was also present, even if Sharon personally didn't really like the flower. But it was used spectacularly.

Some groups were not that great, but it still looked like they were trying their best. Sharon made a small smile at them. These people were usually the ones, that liked flowers the most. That wanted to show the world, how great they are. But in their enthusiasm, they lacked the knowledge of the background games, the marketing, the arbitrary rules, almost every judge used.

She hoped, that all the judges were chosen at the last minute. Then this group would have better chance of success.

Joe called to her and before she had the chance to say anything, he dragged her to the judge room.

The other four judges were already there. She recognized all of them and her heart had fallen. Nike, Zoe, Frank and Joss. Not the people, she liked working with.

Joe turned to the room.

"I imagine everyone of you know the rules. We are judging by the international rules. Get to work."

The other four left the room, some ignoring her and some glaring at her. She sighed as she followed them there.

The competition was a success, or as much it can be with 4 out of 5 judges rigged. But the creations were amazing. She forgot, how these competitions could be fun.

The last thing on the agenda was obligatory dinner for all the judges. Sharon never understood the point, but she let it slide.

The soup came on the table, and Sharon took in the smell. It was a wonderful, rosy smell. Almost too rosy like. She recognized the smell.

"Do not eat that soup."

Zoe started to laugh, as she took the soup and started to eat it. All of the other followed her example. Nike and Frank looked at her disgusted. How dare she interrupts their dinner.

Sharon doesn't eat. She could recognize that smell anywhere. The smell of daffodils. Not specifics antidote and deadly if eaten in certain quantities. She excused herself to the bathroom.

She called the paramedics, telling them about the poisoning. She just wanted to leave, when she saw the teenage girl staring at her.

She remembered her. She was the one, that used primroses in her creation. It was cute, but somehow small for the competition. She still give her about 90% of her points.

"You are not eating with the judges?"

Sharon looked at her, hoping her premonition was not true. But nothing showed on her face, as she smiled.

"There were daffodils in that soup."

The teenage girl's eyes widened. She looked at her in wonder.

"You could tell?"

"I can always tell the different flowers by their smell."

The girl started to biting her lip. She looked nervous. She then looked at her.

"I thought that the competition was rigged, but you..."

Sharon sighed at the girl's quick words. She looked sorry. She waved her hand.

"They normally are. I hoped this one will be different."

She looked at the girl, before walking out of the public bathroom. She stopped at the doors.

"If nobody dies, then nobody has to know."

With this words she left her alone in the bathroom.

She saw her once again, when paramedics confirmed, that everybody will survive. The quantities consumed before their arrival were not that great. She smiled, and than caught her eyes. By accident. She waived, but the girl just smiled and walked away.