Back story showing bond between João and his grandmother and their mutual vampire-traits.
Johnny loved visiting his grandmother. It was August and crickets sang to him every night. During the day, he played in the shade or slept on the porch swing. Too hot in August!
He loved helping her in the garden. She had planted morning-glories "to tell her when it was time to go to bed" and moon flowers "to wake her up" she always laughed. She had roses... of course. Beware of the thorns she always warned, "Death-by-Rose may be sweet but you're still dead". She kept a pair of tweezers handy just-in-case. She had planted them because they were her namesake, and she liked rose-hip tea in winter, and rose-petal jelly at the end of spring.
She kept the garlic in a special plot Johnny wasn't allowed to play in. He didn't need to be reminded about garlic; he was allergic. The plot had nightshade, castor bean plant and angel-trumpets. She'd hung a sign: "Beware: Angels of Death". She'd wink as she whispered, "in case the neighbors get too nosy..."
She had lots of marigolds. Scares the bugs she said. And tomatoes, "a cousin of night-shade we can have for supper, good with raw meat". She knew her plants and Johnny was eager to learn. He liked pretty things and flowers were pretty. Gladiolas were planted in rows. She'd cut a few and put them in a vase inside. She had all colors but she loved the pink ones most. She had already cut back the daffodils and tulips, irises and lilies-of-the-valley. "Such a pick-me-up in Spring", she'd smile.
— Here's one flower blooming out of season. It has many names but I like Johnny-jump-up. They're cheery... just like you.
Flowers and vegetables, medicinal and cooking herbs. His grandmother was surrounded by fragrance. "It confuses the curious", she always told him. But no matter how strong the smells were in the garden he could always tell if there was raw meat on the counter waiting for supper.
Now it was sunset.
— I have something to show you. Her eyes twinkled with starlight.
— Now sit here and watch these two buds. Soon the green will split and show a bit of color. When they do don't look away. They open very quickly. You can even count the seconds.
— I can count to 100! Johnny said triumphantly. He was seven and proud of knowing his numbers.
His grandmother went out to prune the rosemary for tonight's dinner. And to pluck more calendula petals to add a splash of natural color. The moon was already rising.
Johnny moved back and forth to the music of the crickets, the squawks of the nighthawks, basked in the moonlight... almost forgetting the flowers. He loved moonlight, so soft, not harsh like the sun.
— Are they open yet?
Johnny looked close.
— I can see a bit of color on one. It's yellow.
He looked closer. One green pod was opening. He could see it move to reveal more yellow. Crinkled yellow. Then...
— One, two, three, four...
He got up to twenty-five. The four petals looked soft, a greenish shade of pale yellow. The other one had just started to split. He sat there mesmerized. Birds were fast. Flowers were slow, he thought. Now he knew that flowers could be quick as well. Johnny waited until both buds had spread their 'wings' to greet the moon.
— What are they called? He spoke in a small voice to not disturb the magic of the moment. His grandmother noted his amazement and softly replied.
— I call them Johnny-by-moonlight. They give me hope. Just like you.
© Kåre Enga [23.outobro.2015]
Note: Johnny-by-moonlight is a night-blooming primrose, Oenothera...