A yellow flower nestled at the base of a towering fig tree covered in soft, damp moss, gnarled and warped with age. Its color was a striking contrast to the muted browns and greens found elsewhere in this dense, lush forest, where everything grew so close together that the intertwining of leaves, vines, and branches blocked all light; so that the tones took on a duller, deeper tone.
But the yellow flower, striking in its hue, was also conspicuous by the lone ray of sunshine struggling almost defiantly through the foliage to cast an apparent spotlight on the delicate to throw half-opened bud. Its petals shone with golden light, and in the dark forest it was like a beacon in a desolate landscape, giving hope and drawing you to it.
“Oh,” Harriet sighed as she knelt carefully at the At the foot of the fig tree, her heavy backpack leaning against the mossy trunk, “I can’t believe it,” she murmured to herself, her heart pounding at her discovery, her hands shaking as she concentrated on plucking the lonely yellow flower, roots and all , out of the damp earth, covered in sweet-smelling, rotting leaves.
It was a rainy Monday, with a pathetic fog and cold drizzle bringing a lingering uncomfortable dampness everything. Harriet felt like she hadn’t breathed with excitement all weekend, and today she felt like the sun was shining, warm, her mood so upbeat she was glowing from within.
When she settled on her workbench in the lab where she worked, her back to her colleagues, eyes weary, clutching large, steaming coffee mugs, even though the lab had a no-food policy; and artfully removed the little yellow flower from a tiny glass jar, plucked off a petal, lowered it reverently onto a Petri dish that waited expectantly in front of her, and continued her experiment.
“Oh,” Harriet’s eyes were saucers rimmed with tears of joy should she cry “Eureka!”, wasn’t that what one did in such situations? It was two days later, 48 hours to the point, and she’d been itching to open the fridge and examine her Petri dish; tucked inconspicuously in the back of the lab fridge, unobtrusive except for the conspicuous yellow petal in its sticky center.
But she wouldn’t ruin her experiment with impatience, so only when she was little the timer on her workbench went off, She rushed to the imposing refrigerator, dialed a security code and ripped it open.
She pulled her Petri dish from the icy depths, took a deep breath to steady her hands, and slowly walked over to her bench and posed her gently; without allowing yourself to look at it out of fear and excitement. Then she looked and looked again.
She switched on a thin snake lamp and aimed the light directly at the circular slab in front of her to see what she saw.
A sticky green-grey Mass covered the entire surface of the Petri dish and it was disgusting, but Harriet’s sudden inhalation had nothing to do with it but everything with her yellow petal and the distinctive wide, clear, smooth rim around it, without any dirty growth.
The characteristic silvery moonlight formed ghostly squares on the lab floor as it shone through wide windows to one side.
It was late at night, she was dying to have her results as soon as they were ready, and as such, she was one of a handful of high-ranking scientists scattered throughout the vast pharmaceutical complex, and the only one in the research lab.
She let out a scream that rang out into the sterile rectangular room lined with rows of leu ash tubes placed just above rows of benches below . She was up before she knew it, running off, petri dish in hand, unafraid to destroy the valuable evidence in her haste and sheer enthusiasm. It was a feeling she would remember into old age.
She told the story to wide-eyed children who sat at her feet and told them that for a moment she knew exactly , how a bird feels when it swoops down from the sky, flies over the earth for a brief second, and then shoots back up.
“Bryce!” She was breathless and laughing as she deftly pushed the petri dish in front of her research director, who was sitting at his desk with a strong cup of coffee and a stack of papers in front of him.
“What the…” he’s never had Harriet seen in that state, dizzy as a child.
“It’s a cure!” she cried, jabbing the petri dish with her finger to make him stop staring at her like she was angry, and she was mad with joy: “These are the resistant fungi and bacteria that we have examined! This flower is killing them!”
“What fungi… and bacteria?” Bryce’s mouth was dry, but he kept his composure.
“Everyone!” Harriet almost cried out, but a sudden tingle of uneasiness broke through her delight, which silenced her, if only a little, “Imagine! Almost 28 diseases, gone!” She snapped her fingers to emphasize lightness.
“Yes,” Bryce was on his feet and his long strides carried him quickly around his desk and over to his open door, which he closed and locked. “This can’t go away, and neither can you.”
To be continued next week