By wildvine 15 Comments
Authors note: This is more fantasy then actually historical. So, ya know....Its just a fun story.
"Isley, can you do nothing right?" Dr. Woodrue was in a particularly foul mood. Suddenly he grabbed her shoulders, and began to shake her violently. "It burns! The flames of eternity!" He yelled in her face, as his face started to blacken and crack, his mouth drawn back in that terrible death grin. He continued to speak, even though his grinning jaw never moved. "I found the secret Isley. The secret to immortality! And I have many new experiments I want to do with you. Are you ready to do your part? Are you? ANSWER ME!!"
Pamela awoke with a start, and sat up in her vine hammock. Holding her breath, she listened intently, her heart beat painfully fast in her chest. Even in death, apparently, Woodrue had the power to torment her. Her green skin crawled, and she hugged her arms tightly around herself like a frightened child. She had been living in the forest for a week now, ever since Woodrue's lab had burned down. And never once, in all that time, had she been afraid. There was, after all, nothing in the forest that wanted to hurt her. But tonight was different. And it wasn't just the dream either. Something felt....wrong.
She reached out to the Green, to see if there was any reason for her unease, and immediately felt it. Another presence connected to the Green. Not just connected though, not just passively accessing the web of plant life. It felt like it was taking from the Green. No, it felt like the Green was being raped. Whatever it was, it sensed her presence as well, because it reached out to her.
She retreated in from the Green so fast it made her feel dizzy, and nauseous. The things touch had been cold, and slimy. And utterly alien in the soft warmth that was the Green. Whatever it was, it did not belong there, and she would have to deal with it. She was guardian of the Green after all.
* * *
Less then a week ago...
"Harlee! I'm hooome!!" Jester tossed the heavy, leather satchel of bottles into the corner with a sound of clinks. He rolled his sore shoulder a few times. It had been a long night, toting that bag of fun all over Gotham. But he didn't feel tired. Setting a prank into motion always energized him more then food, or sleep. "Oh how I wish to see the Knight's face, when he finally gets the joke. That stubborn scrowl on his face as he tries to keep the smile away. Hahahahaha, How fun."
"Hiya Puddin!" Harlequin appeared from the other room, "How was work?" She began massaging his tense shoulders.
"It was murder! Well, for that carriage driver anyway. Haha."
"Ooh, we got a carriage?" She asked excitedly. "We can finally take that trip, after, ya know, we play that joke on the Knight. But in the mean time..." She draped her arms around his neck, "I got a new whoopee cushion....." She whispered something in his ear.
"Oh, Harlee-Poo, I would, really." He untangled himself from her, "But you're smothering me. I need some me time."
"But, but, you've been away from me all night Boss."
"Oh, I see, I don't deserve to relax? Maybe if you did something around here, you would understand the need for downtime."
"I...I do stuff. I cleaned the place. And mended your other costume. And relabeled your poisons, and--"
"Oh! So you do all the work around here? Is that it?" He dragged her towards the door, by one pigtail.
"Ow, Eee, that's not what, ow, I--"
"Tell it to the unsheltered world." He kicked her out of the hideout, face first on the ground.
"Okay Puddin, I see you need some space. I'll be back later." She wandered into the woods, unsure what to do with herself....
* * *
Pamela had discovered a very cool trick. She could attract, or repel certain insects at will. Couldn't control them like plants, but could manipulate them to a degree. She suspected it was something to do with pheromones. Animals, on the other hand, seemed immune to her powers altogether. They were also strangely indifferent to her presence in the forest. They didn't flee from when she encountered them, but they didn't approach her either.
'Do my powers have any affects on people? Maybe with close contact...'
She wondered what other powers she possessed, that were waiting to be discovered. That's when she heard it. A musical voice. Pamela had lived in the forest for most of her life, first as Woodrue's slave, and now as a guardian, so she was accustomed to all the sounds of the forest. She had never before heard singing though.
"I was on my own, I was do'in just fine when ya came in my life....I was into you, you were feel'n it too, it was all a good time....Ya turned me upside down, turned my world around, ev'rything was alright. Now i'm have'n doubts what'cha all about, and I'm lose'n my mind....too blind to see it....too in love to believe it....What'cha do'n ta me? When its all about you, what about me? Don't I deserve to be happy? Spend'n all of my time, given you mine, that's not the way that it should be. When its all about you you forget about me....when it all about you..." As her voice trailed away, she sat on a fallen tree, and cried silently into her gloved hands.
This was the first person (other then Woodrue) that Pamela had seen in years. Upon turning fifteen, He had put a stop to her trips to the market, afraid "something might happen to her." Something good? She had wanted to ask once, but had thought wiser.
"Hi...Are you, um, lost or something?" Pamela asked, unsure what to do in this situation. Though she was sure she could handle it, if this girl was dangerous.
"No. --sniff-- I just got kicked out of the house, again." She looked up from her hands, her makeup streaked with tears. A clown? This was turning into a day of firsts for Pamela. "I like your outfit. You wear leaves very well." She sniffed again. Pamela felt she was just talking to hold back the tears.
"Well, I don't know your...situation. Do you want to talk about it? I'm Pamela, by the way." She placed a comforting hand on the clown girls shoulder. That was all it took, and Pamela was more then a little surprised, when the clown girl through her arms around her waist, burying her face in Pamela's stomach. Not knowing what else to do, Pamela just held the crying girl.
Several minutes later....
"Sorry about that. --Sniff-- Lord J's just been kinda distant lately. Gives a girl crazy thoughts, ya know?" Pamela shook her head no. "Sometimes, I just feel like he don't love me like he used ta. I'm Harlequin, by the way." She extends a hand, "Call me Harlee. Everyone does."
Pamela shook her hand, noting her surprisingly strong grip. She smiled, and Harlee smiled back. "So...you like a wood nymph or somethe'n?" She asked suddenly, surprising a laugh from Pamela.
"No. Though come to think of it, people like me probably are the origin for that myth. I'm, um.." She wondered how much she should say to this girl. "I'm complicated." She finished lamely. The ensuing silence is broken by Harlee's stomach growling like a caged beast.
"That was my tummy, I swear." She blushed, where her make-up had smeared away. Her stomach gurgled again, just to make its desires perfectly clear.
"Its okay Harlee. Come with me. I've been cultivating a new breed of sweeter strawberries." She put an arm around Harlee's shoulders, led her towards her favorite part of the forest.
"Really? How long you been doing that?" She asked curiously.
"Oh," Pamela glanced at the sun, "About three hours...."
* * *
"Harlee always cleaning, moving things.....Where's that...oh, here it is..." Jester mumbled to himself, mixing up a special concoction. The air in the hide out is thick with chemical fumes. "I don't know why I keep that...mehm...around....Play a prank on her one day....Mm...she won't forget...."
He looked over his shoulder, its one of Harlee's hyena's. Hehad originally gave them to her, in the hopes that they would eat her. But she had somehow charmed the beasts into liking her. "Go away. Its not my job to feed you." He grunted impatiently.
This time when he looked, he saw teeth being bared. One of them, 'Lou' licked his lips, and eyed the Jester like so much chow. "Harlee? Harl-- Oh yeah. Hm." He paused a moment. Then, "Sit! Sit Lou." Lou did not sit. Rather, he stepped closer, Bud close beside him, his eyes hungry. "Harlee!!"
* * *
"These are really good, But you know the problem?" Harlee asked around a mouthful of strawberries. Pamela shook her head, resisting the urge to wipe Harlee's chin like a child. "Not big enough. They should be..." She cupped her hand to indicate about half a handful. "Ya know? Like hand fruit."
"I think strawberries are hand fruit Harlee." She couldn't resist it any more, and leaned forward, wiping at the juice off the side of Harlee's chin, their faces inches apart. And for one breathless moment it seemed like....but no, the moment passed, if it ever existed at all.
"Also, we need ta work on ya name." Harlee said, from the blue. She and Pamela had been talking for almost an hour, and she had adjusted to the seemingly, random turns Harlee's mind took. "Pamela" She paused dramatically, letting it hang in the air. "It doesn't really strike fear, or awe..."
"I'm not trying to strike fear, or awe--"
"And ya nevah gonna with that name. How's bout....Plant lady?"
She gave Harlee a funny look. "Now you're just being silly."
"Okay, just Ivy then? Ivy, um, the green lady of the forest."
"That's a bit wordy to be awesome, and fearful, I think. How about just, the Green Lady?"
"Perfect! Glad I thought of it."
"Did you? Thought it was my idea." Her hand had somehow found Harlee's gloved hand.
"Nope" Harlee shook her head, her pigtails swinging. "Totally my idea." She smiled.
"Harlee!!" The Jester kicked his way through the brush. "Where have you been? Your pets tried to kill me!!" His costume was ripped in places, and he was bleeding from more then a few bite wounds. He was also a clown. That figured, with a name like Jester.
"Aw, no Boss. Bud and, Lou were play'n. They just missed they're daddy--Eep" She squeaked as Jester jerked her to her feet.
"We're going home now, and you will do something with your pets. Or I will..." He dragged Harlee, stumbling, behind him.
"Hey Jester! Punch sent a messenger. He wants his costume back." Vines burst from the ground, and wrap around the Jesters waist and arms, rooting him to the spot. "I don't like the way you're talking to my friend." A vine slowly tightened around his throat. "Lets see how well you yell, with crushed vocal cords."
"Pammy! No! I Don't kill him!"
"He's a monster Harlee. An abuser. I know his kind, and one day he will kill you." The Jester is already pale, but his lips had taken on a blueish hue. She doesn't need an answer from Harlee though, the lost puppy look in her eyes say enough. "Fine then." The vines loosen from his throat. "Maybe just a parting gift then." She pressed her lips to the Jesters for a moment.
"Relax Harlee. He's not my type. Now.." She turned to the Jester, "You are going to give Harlee the day off. And you're gonna treat her like a queen the rest of the day, and uh," She looked to Harlee, "Anything to add?"
"Um, a foot rub would be nice."
"And you're gonna rub her feet. Understand all that?" The Jester nodded, a dazed expression on his face. The vines that had bound him, now hold him on his feet. "Well, enjoy it. I don't know how long the effects will last."
"C'mon Puddi'n, let's go home." She leads away the Jester, who moved like a sleep walker. "Oh!" She ran back to Pamela. "Thanks Pammy." She planted a kiss on Pamela's cheek, "You're a real friend." As they disappear through the trees, Pamela lightly touched her cheek, still warm from Harlee's kiss.
* * *
"Some guardian you turn out to be. First threat to the Green to come along, and you ran away." She chided herself. Despite those brave words though, she didn't rush back to the Green. She thought back to that...entity. Wasn't there something familiar about it? Just a vague impression of...something. What was it? Something...predatory.
"Isley...." The voices is is like ants crawling down her spine, (something she had experienced recently, and had not cared for it.) "Isley! Answerrr me when I speak to you!" She turned slowly, expecting to see the burnt horror from her dream. Instead she sees a moss covered monster.
'Woodrue. Of course. It was all a cruel joke from the gods, letting me think I was free of him.'
She shook her head. That's old, scaredy Pamela talking. She was Ivy now, the Guardian of the Green. "I suppose you were to wretched, even for Hell to accept." She said, surprising herself with her own bravado. "Leave my forest, and stay out of the Green. This is the only warning you get Woodrue."
"Woodrrrue was a man. I am a god. I am the masterrr of what you call 'the Grrreen'."
"Don't you see Isley? No matterrr what life you live, you werrre borrrn to serrrve. Borrrn to bow."
"I will never bow to you, will never serve you again Woodrue, nor will your vile presence ever enter the Green again." Vines shoot from the ground, and entangle about his arms.
Then she felt control wrenched away from her, and the vines attach themselves to Woodrue's arms. Pulling them from the ground, he slings one like a whip, and it wraps tightly around her throat. Then he yanked her forward, onto her knees. "You will serrrve, orrr die for you'rrre insolence."
Pamela pulled at the vines, but they only tightened around her throat. Everything was getting dark...
Wam!! The vines loosen from her neck, and Pamela falls forward, gasping.
"See, this is why I prefer the city. No freaky plant monsters in Gotham."
"Harlee?" Pamela was sure she was seeing things. Harlee had came from nowhere, and slammed Woorue from behind with a huge mallet. "What are you doing here?"
"Oh, well, ya know. Thought we could have a early breakfast, maybe watch the--Aaaaah!" She yelled as a huge, barbed vine stabs her side, from behind.
"Harlee!!" Pamela rushed to her friend, her side oozing blood, and some green substance Woodrue had infected her with. "Why? Why did you have to come back?" Pamela demanded, pressing both of Harlee's hands over the wound.
"Cause, we're friends Pammy. Figure'd ya got lonely out here." She coughed weakly.
"Isley! Ourrr business is not overrr." A thorny vine whips Pamela's back, cutting, and ripping as it is jerked back.
"No Woodrue. It is over." Vines from different trees wrap around Woodrue, and pull him into a dozen oozing pieces. To her horror though, roots reach out from the different pieces, pull together until Woodrue was standing whole again.
"You can't kill me Isley." Tree branches grip her arms and, pull them back savagly. "But you arrre verrry morrrtal, despite yourrr misbegotten gifts." The thorn tipped tendril pierces her chest, just above her heart, injecting her with the poison killing Harlee.
'Harlee! She's dying. Think Pamela, think. Got to be a way to beat this clown...that's it'
Summoning the very last of her strength, she willed her vine clothes to pull Woodrue close to her face, then she did the last thing he expected. She kissed him. "You fancied yourself a god, when you were barely a man to begin with. But just enough of the man remains, I think."
"You have no powerrr overrr me! I am the vessel of the Grrreen!" He staggered back, suddenly wobbly on his feet.
"Yes, you are. And now you get to live forever." She spoke soothingly, fighting the poison coursing through her system. "Put some roots down Dr, you seem unsteady on your feet. There you go, Now some vines, to keep you warm." Vines grew from the ground, and wrapped around him until they were an almost solid mass. "Sleep Woodrue, sleep..." And former Dr Woodrue became a tree.
She rushed back to Harlee's side. "Harlee?" No reply. "Harlee!"
"Didja get him Scarlet?" She groaned.
"Yeah, its over Harlee. Wait, Scarlet?"
"Cause of your hair." Harlee smiled, then coughed violently. "We had a good run, huh Scarlet?" Then Pamela felt Harlee's heart stop.