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When they came to, it was not in the comfortable window seat, or even on the floor, in a spill of limbs and mass confusion. But a scene that felt more akin to something in a dream: a field of flowers and a setting sun.
Meike sat up with a yawn, more curious than anything. Nothing felt out of the ordinary with their body, but assuming the train crashed, there was no sign on it. No broken machinery, scorched tracks, or even the bodies of their fellow passengers. ‘So it has to be a dream,’ they thought, and stood to take stock of their surroundings.
The field they’d found themselves in consisted almost entirely of ranunculus flowers of all shades, but arranged in such a pleasing matter that it had to be deliberate. Someone’s private garden, in other words. And yet there was no sign of civilization anywhere, no houses, roads, or other structures. ‘It’s a dream,’ they told themselves.
But Meike had no love for buttercups, or the yellows and oranges that dotted the reds and blues. They didn’t care much for flowers at all, outside of studying their properties and breeding potentials. Any garden of theirs, fictional or otherwise, would be strictly carnivorous: sundews, flytraps, pitcher plants, rafflesia, and waterwheels.
They pinched themselves and had sudden doubts about their original assertion. But there was nothing else to do but explore and familiarize themselves with the area. They secretly hoped it was a dream, as the only alternative was, well…
Meike forced themselves to trudge through the flowers, their target the lone tree in the area, a Sycamore. If they could climb it and get a good view, it might shed some light on this mystery. ‘Or you’ll fall down, hit your head, and wake up.’
But they never got that far; they were in the middle of swinging themselves up onto one of the sturdier branches, when their foot caught on something solid. Not solid the way the tree trunk was, but more of the flesh and bone variety. They tentatively nudged the object beneath the leaves, and something white and slender rolled out — a human arm.
They glanced around, half-expecting someone to rise above the flowers and aim a finger at them, before emitting a dull scream like a pod person. But no such scene followed. The only sound was the wind, bird song, and the soft groans beneath their foot.
Meike crouched down and brushed the mass of dead leaves and flowers away from the arm, and froze when it grabbed for them. At least now they knew it was attached to someone, and not simply tossed out like day old bread. They frantically shook the hand off and resumed digging.
A jacket and another arm came into view, and with nails black with soil, Meike grasped the flailing hands and dug their feet into the ground. They weren’t particularly strong; years of gaming, reading, and gardening only amounted to muscle memory and toned fingers, but determination guided them through.
Out popped a gasping figure, blonde hair almost indistinguishable from the dirt she was born from. The woman came kicking and sobbing, and dropped to her hands and knees in a patch of purple buttercups.
Meike stood back and watched as she hacked up a series of debris, most notably soil, so thick and generous they almost mistook it for vomit at first. Next came chunks of leaves, and tiny, pink chunks they recognized as earthworms. She lowered her head into a clean section of the flowers once her gut was empty, and divulged into tears, great wracking sobs and disjointed concerns about her location and what became of the train and everyone else.
“I don’t know,” was all they could offer. They were just as lost, and horrified at the idea that this was, in fact, reality, and not a cozy dream.
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