The Flower’s Resurgence

“You know, I never wanted to be a patch mage.  That was Dora’s idea, and I just went with it.”

“Dora?”

“Er, Patches, Pandora.  She told me to call her Dora.  She doesn’t really like anyone else calling her that.”  Dahlia’s demeanor suddenly darkened, taken over by a look of pure fear.  “Oh no  I shouldn’t have told you  I’m sorry sorry sorry sorry sorry…”

I tried to comfort her before she got out of control.  “I’m sure it’s okay, Dahlia.  Just calm down and keep going.”

She looked back at me, her eyes welling with tears, but holding for now.  Her eyes appeared a bit bluer than normal, too.  She nodded and continued.  “Dora pushed me so hard to do it, but I didn’t think I could.  But I didn’t want to let her down, either.  So when she said she wanted me to try, I just went along with it.”

“Why did you think you couldn’t do it?”

Dahlia shrugged and stared back down between her knees.  “I don’t really know… I guess because I’d never really been good at anything?  I mean, I’d messed up everything else in my life.  I only got in the way of my family, I had no friends beyond Dora, and Dora didn’t seem all that interested in me beyond her pet project.  I just kind of figured I would mess this up, too.”

“Wait, not interested in you?  What makes you say that?”

The tears began rolling down her face, but her voice remained still.  “Because I never expected her to think any more than that.  We were friends and business partners, but apparently nothing more.  I never had the courage to push things further, and she never had the thought.  I died before either of us said how we really felt.”

I heard the door creak open, followed by a few near-silent steps along with a chill breeze across my back.  Dahlia didn’t seem to notice.  “And what would that be?”

As she looked back at me, Dahlia’s black, empty eyes filled with color and emotion, turning a deep, vivid blue.  “That I love her with all my heart.  That I want to be more than just friends, more than business partners.  That I want to spend my life and my afterlife with her and her alone.  Even if it means staying like this forever.”

A soft, warm voice responded from across the room.  “I love you, too.  I always have, and I always will.”

Dahlia’s sunken and harried face was instantly replaced by one of complete shock and utter joy.  She turned to look toward Patches as her presence erupted in a blinding white light.  When it dissipated, what remained was no longer the dour black Dahlia I knew, but rather the beautiful white Dahlia with which Patches had fallen in love.  And after the initial wonder, the two embraced for the first time in decades.

Fianna was standing in the corner, a smile full of admiration on her face.  This must have all been part of her plan.  She knew I would somehow figure out how to prepare her soul. And now only one question remained before moving on to the next step.  “Dahlia, if I told you I could give you a chance to start over, would you take it?”

“Yes, without a doubt.”

Step 2: Preparation

I woke up abruptly the next morning to the all too familiar sound of sobbing from one corner and Patches’ admonishments from the other room.  From what it sounded like, Fianna had already been busy trying to figure out how to prepare Dahlia.  Unsurprisingly, Fianna had not been successful.

I got up and walked into the front room.  Fianna, exasperated and frazzled as ever, was taking a verbal beating from Patches. As I walked in, she took a peek up from the floor toward me and motioned back toward where I’d come from.  I took that as a cue to fix what she’d messed up.

Dahlia was curled up in the corner of the bedroom, her standard stifled sobs echoing through the rest of the room.Occasionally a muffled sorry could be heard through the tears.  She seemed grayer than normal today, her eyes a little more sunken, her hair a little more frayed.

I sat down next to her and prepared for a conversation I never thought I’d be having.  “Hey Dahlia, how you feeling?”

Dahlia looked up at me, apparently surprised.  Her typically morose expression had turned to one of confusion.  “Huh?”

“I asked you how you’re feeling.”

The tears had stopped flowing down Dahlia’s face for the first time that I had ever seen.  The sudden interest in her existence must have really shocked her.  “Huh, no one has asked me that in a long, long time.”

I gave her what I hoped was a warm, inviting smile. “Well, I’m asking now, so how do you feel?”

She looked back down at her knees, a bit lost for words.  “I don’t know.  Sad, I guess?”

“You want to talk about it?”

For the first time since falling unconscious so many years ago, Dahlia smiled.  Heavy-hearted and exasperated, but a smile nonetheless.  “Sure.”

Step 1: The Plan

I laid back down, satisfied with Fianna’s reply, but another issue began gnawing at my thoughts.  “How do you suppose we go about this? Resurrection isn’t a particularly common form of magic, you know.”

That was an understatement if there ever was one.  Resurrection was a thing of myth, a story used to hearken back to an era before magic became a thing more of rote and repetition than of fluidity and flair.  People coming back from the dead have never  been confirmed, and no instance in the last several hundred years has even been considered as a possible resurrection.  Not to mention the myriad of powerful spellcasters that have devoted their lives to bringing back loved ones and never reached their goal.

The question didn’t seem to faze Fianna.  “Well the first step is preparing Dahlia’s soul for resurrection, which will take some time.  We’ve got to get her ready and willing to come back so that her soul doesn’t get caught in between and lost forever.”

“And how are we going to do that, exactly?”

Fianna replied with something I’d never seen her have before, a warm smile.  “I’m not exactly sure, but that’s what we start working on tomorrow morning.”