Consider me Cornerstone Owl. I may or may not care. Stay or don't, the choice is yours. I've a tale to tell. But only if the rain persists. It's the chill in the sweeping wind that stiffens the vine, that's the buzz around here. Listen. Creaking bones of bark and burrowing bug, more or less paper flesh or so the story goes.

In a time of none and a half turn of spin, by the throat of a running river, six twinkling loves gathered under the shadow light of the blood moon to tell fantastical stories to each other.

It was only at this moment that they could have been there. For the six loves were always one, but this night it wasn't so. 

What's a love you ask🤔 
A who. ðŸ˜

The six loves were all the same, but each was very different. They mingled under the yellow tips of a weeping willow tree, devouring their grand tales, savoring the sweet, sour, bitter biting story flavor; loving it, as any love should well do. 
The stories grew wilder and more outrageous as this night went on. The six loves delighted in their cleverness at invoking emotion in one another. Scenes swirled off on tangent plot lines and characters faltered and fell. Chaos reigned, as flames of tongue-tied endings shifted like dancing shadows. The loves bellowed and howled as they compelled tales of woe and wonder from their very essence, rattling dark skies; raising the wind.

In all the joy and pain, the loves lost track of themselves and became caught up in their web of stories, they forgot which they were.
They paired off, picked sides, pointed fingers. The loves switched allegiances, held each other up and shot each other down. It was a time of story- telling madness.

What the six loves didn't know while they were wrapped up in their blanket debates and steal away intrigue was that an unknown creature was spying, and her eyes were on them. 

The creature crept from vine to vine around the weeping willow tree, slithering through daisy stems and into the skins of shivering red berries. She burrowed into the swath of tangled hairy roots underneath the ground where story-telling loves flitted about, waiting for the right moment to strike. 

For the creature, whose many dark blinking eyes peered silently out from the vast thicket of nature, was also free to be herself on this night, and she felt a rumbling hunger for love. 

The six loves twinkled and flashed their iridescent synchronicities and asymmetrical sneers as they circled themselves in contradiction and high drama, setting the stage, only to be replayed. 

The creature made her move. 

The loves never saw her coming.  
In the midst of a fiery verse the ground cracked open and a strange plant burst forth from forest floor. It brought a tantalizing scent, as a spindly gray stem rose up to reveal a pale bud poised at the tip.

The loves ogled at the beauty before them, each proclaiming how luring and mysterious it was. The stories stopped for the moment, and the loves focused on the delicate un-blossomed bud. 

Poof. They were enchanted. ✨

The folded bud petals shimmied as the creature's delight churned deep within her core. The loves had fallen under her spell. And her pleasure was to swallow them up. 

The creature wasn't strong enough to catch the loves when they were one, but this night they'd forgotten what they are. 

And, even if you don't speak owl, I've answered that for you.  

Who knew why the flower had appeared? Which of them was right? How could they trust the other's words? 

The simple truth evaded them; the six loves were easy to trap. 

It's a sign!

Something's afoot.
Mayhem stirs the stars.
A gift for me!
This could be a trick.
You're all mad. It's only a flower.

Of course none of them knew the right answer. The creature had her own reasons for coming. The divided loves couldn't possibly decide anything on this night. 

The creature's guts grumbled and her delicate mouth opened wide, petals spiraling into a tempting display of sweet-smelling bliss. 

She had them in her grasp.

The loves oohhed and aahhed as the pale flower blossomed under a bright full moon, casting a star-shaped shadow on the ground.

The fourth love immediately leapt into the flower's glowing center. First and third followed close behind. Second and fifth fumbled in. The sixth slid down smooth. 

The creature swallowed them all deep into her roots, drinking their charged emotions, and with each love that fell into the flower's darkness, the creature's force grew brighter and more visible under the skin of tangled vines and tree bark.

After the creature ate the loves, she felt happy and sated. The wind teased, tossing leaves about. The stars overhead burned brightly, always quiet and watchful. She could feel the essence of six loves floating in her space— pure power. She had become their master. And this creature had a story to un-tell. 

The flower closed silky white sails and its head dropped off, shriveling up as the ground rumbled and raised, then took form. 

The creature was born into the waking world. She was everywhere, all at once. Each vine, root, and tree was she.

The power of flower was unleashed this night. Wolves howled in the distance as the creature moved through the forest, a dark form made of earth and rock. Animals scurried over and around her while she walked, a wicked wind sweeping her wake. 

But, one detail was missed by all on this night. The six swallowed loves hadn't known it, and neither did the creature. 

But you, dear reader, are in the middle right now, and that is the only place story magic can be understood. So this tiny detail is known to you, but it won't be seen or heard, it can only be read. 
This is the loophole in dream. Truth lies betwixt the lines.

While the sequence of events transpired on this night, another kept a low light, watching from the shadows.

The seventh love hadn't been observed— only you are aware of its presence, as I've explained. This love didn't tell stories, but instead liked to listen. And, although unknown, still a part of the whole. 

But, the whole had been divided and mostly devoured; the lone love was truly alone. There would be no more stories to hear. 🙁

Following the creature's path, the love trailed behind, plotting plans to rescue the other loves from the belly of the flower monster. 

Know this; it's true that all real things recognize themselves, and it's important to remember never to run from anything immortal— unless you want to attract its attention.

The creature settled herself by the edge of a clear lake. She touched her twig finger tip to the water; ripples circled out in expanding rings that bled a greenish glow. Curious fish heads popped up from the depths, bobbing their bubble eyes to see what they'd smelled. They flapped their fins, splashing a watery cheers. 

Snake lips slithered off and the creature stretched out in the morning sun. Earthworms shimmering like hair squirmed as hungry birds swooped down from above and picked them out. 

Blue sky. Fluffy clouds. Buzzing things.

Flowers began to open everywhere. Colors of inconceivable hues burst forth from the earth; the sweetest scent sailed on the breeze. 

The only story now was no story. The un-telling had begun. 

Peace settled over the creature, and she relaxed. It was nice to be home alone, once again.

The seventh love panicked. 😮

The creature would never go back to living underneath the scenes. She, a mystery like the lone love, was also a part of the whole— as everything is but unlike the loves, there was no other like her. 

So on this night, once the creature took shape, she recognized who she was immediately and knew what had to be done. 

And she did it with ease and pure joy. For, the creature loved the loves. They were delicious, only their stories had turned rotten. 

The lone love approached a purple blossom beaming by the foot of the resting creature. 

The petals shuddered. It opened a brilliant eye. 

The lone love felt frightened, but turned up its low light to catch the flower's attention. 

Because this love did not tell stories, rather took pleasure in listening, its energy was very different from the others. 

The flower sensed the love; petals shivered.

Throwing caution to the wind the lone love leapt into the blossom, giving itself to the flower, letting go its secret untold story while descending into a dark abyss.

The creature opened one stone eye and shifted uncomfortably. She turned again, rocks tumbled down her shoulders. 

The birds flew off. The wind picked up.

A mountain roar echoed in the cave of her throat. She hadn't heard this story. What strange energy? The creature suddenly felt curious, and agitated. She needed to settle down. The loves were gone. There were no more stories. 

But this energy was love of a different flavor. One she hadn't had yet. How did she not know there was another love?

The lone love fell through chaotic nothing, paying keen attention to being swallowed by the flower monster, holding fear back.

The six loves circled in darkness, clinging to each other, trying to stay connected in the vast unknown reaches inside the creature. 

Their glow flickered as the lone love soared toward them.

The six loves became excited when they saw the twinkling light in the distance. Something was coming to save them from nothing. 

When the lone love was near, the six loves gasped, for they'd never known there was another. They embraced, and then told the tale of how they were tricked by the flower monster. 

The lone love listened to their stories. And then, for the first time, spoke. Having finally been seen, the love could now be heard. 

The seventh love told the six others the way out. 

The creature stirred, fidgeting with sticks, skimming stones across the water. She felt restless and fussy as she swished bees away from her brow and brooded.  

What was it about that mysterious love she'd eaten? 

Her simmering thoughts stirred a plot; once a seed is planted in rich soil, it's bound to grow. 

But this plot was prickly and peculiar, spindling out here and there. Sharp and edgy— danger at its point. The creature relished it, and she was hungry for more. Without realizing, she cultivated the seed and made it real. 

One day it poked out of the earth, stretching its first spiny leaf. In no time it sprouted buds. The plant was well protected; strong and complex. 

The creature didn't notice it sprout, she'd been so caught up in her desire to find the strange love again, she'd hadn't been able to rest since she'd tasted it. The flavor lingered like splinters in her mouth. 

The creature's powerful thoughts fed the flower. It listened to her waxing and waning with love, feeling her emotions.   

On this night, the flower bloomed. The creature caught a whiff of  the tantalizing scent of love. Her mind reeled. She felt a bubble burp in her swampy heart and her roots tickled. 

Hunger for the love's secret flavor seeped into her rocky bones, and the ground thundered as she raced toward the source of the smell, only to find the prickly head of a lonely purple flower. 

The creature was confused. 

How could she drive herself mad like this? Why did this flower reek of that strange love?

She bent down and picked the head off with her twig fingertips. The blossom burst open and seven seeds launched, sailing off on white wisps in the wind. 

The seven loves were free, and being real, recognized themselves immediately. They knew just what to do. The lone love needed only remind the others of truth they'd forgotten—and when frightened, they listened. 

The creature wailed horribly at the empty sky just as the rain began to fall. She'd tripped into a love trap. For now, she'd return to the shadows behind the scenes and bide her time, waiting for the night when she might catch the forgetful story-telling love bugs and savor their flavors again.

But this night is uncertain, and to be continued...

The Flower Monster