C. H. Knyght
Do you know why some flowers sleep at night? Why they curl their silken petals closed, tight against the darkness like a babe beneath their blanket? It isn’t the darkness they are afraid of.
No. Never the gentle embrace of nightfall, cradling her children as they sleep. They have nothing to fear from darkness herself.
There is a shadow that glides through the twilight. An empty being, with a greedy, gnawing hunger. Those glorious blooms that fail to take shelter within their furled petals at night are sumptuous prey to this hunger. It is an ugly hunger. Jealous and cruel. It steals from the flowers: their grace, their beauty, their very vitality.
The slurper shall we call it? Yes, the slurper. It glides on its stolen, petal wings through the veil of dusk, hidden from the glare of the sleeping sun—who is father to the flowers as the night is mother.
The slurper is a hideous thing. Its beetle-like carapace gleams over a vague feline shape. Hollow and twisted with hunger, the slurper lusts after beauty. Sucks it out of unwary, prideful blossoms with a scarlet tongue. Steals it from those blooms tired and weak. Its belly swells grotesquely with their vitality as a mosquito’s abdomen when filled with blood.
The slurper wears the flowers’ stolen beauty as a cloak to mask its true nature behind false grace and wings as fragile and precious as the petals of the bloom it dined upon.
At night, the flowers’ only defense is to pull in their petals and hide. Its claws will eventually rend their meager defense to shreds. None can escape the hunger forever. During the day, the slurper sleeps for if the sun catches it beneath his furious gaze, he burns the stolen beauty to ash and reveals the slurper’s ugly truth.
Have you ever wondered why some flowers bloom under the warm smile of the sun, but by the next dawn’s light they have withered and browned?
The sun knows. He loves the flowers as they love him, welcoming his awakening with upturned faces. They follow the sun’s path throughout the day, petals spread wide to soak up the rays of energy to carry them through the night.
The slurper consumes all flowers in the end. That is life’s cycle; however, some have a plain, common beauty it avoids until nature demands their passing. It takes a hundred daisies to equal a single iris. A thousand dandelions to a rose. In the end, they will all be consumed by the slurper’s hunger.
There are a select few blossoms strong enough to withstand the slurper’s draining for days, other’s that fade and wither upon the first voracious feeding. Some blooms are bitter until that last perfect cusp when they are at the peak of life. Then, it sucks out their vitality like a butterfly the sweetest of nectars.
The slurper slinks in the darkness of night. It could curl up in a child’s palm—were any to capture a strange moth in their nets instead of a firefly. They might think they’ve found a faery kitten with wings like bright flowers. However, if they look close and pay attention, the stolen beauty the slurper wears is wrong, false; an ill-fitting cloak that cannot hide the twisted features of jealous greed, the horrendous hunger for a beauty not its own.
Have you ever noticed an entire field of dandelions go to seed overnight? From vibrant yellow to wispy and white? That is the purpose of the slurper. For everything has a purpose and everything must succumb to life’s cycle. Without the slurper, the flowers would never mature to seed. Would never become the matrons of the next generation of flowers, casting their offspring to the wind so that they spread and root in the earth anew. Without the slurper, the flowers would remain vain and cling to their youth. The slurper urges them onward. If they have lost their beauty to its hunger then they shall create beauty’s rebirth from their seeds.
Have you ever seen that flicker out of the corner of your eye as darkness encroaches upon the daylight? That time when magic and other beings are believed in, if only for a few moments. Did you pass the thought off as a large moth or, perhaps, even a bat? But, you knew, just knew, in your primitive instincts, that it was too long and sinuous for either? You’ve seen it.
Have you ever wondered why the flowers fade and die?
The slurper is why.