Seeds rained from the sky, arriving like a storm front, plopping into pregnant earth, and ricocheting from the mage-enforced bricks of Desmond and Marsh's hideout. The two sprawled on the earth facing the door, while death rained down.
Beyond Marsh's bulk, a slender seed, the size of a thumbnail, squeezed beneath the door. Yellow streaks over the black hull caught Desmond's eye. It jerked. It sought blood.
Marsh dropped his pudgy hand and caught the seed in his palm. His hand buzzed. A burst of smoke escaped his hand as the smell of burnt skin filled the room. Sweat beaded Marsh's brow as he repeated words of power and the buzz ended. His hand opening to expose the seed's shattered dust. Outside, the pitter patter splash of seeds seeking earth and blood died into silence.
"Now?" Desmond asked.
"Wait." Another shower of seeds passed over them in response to Marsh's words. "Now." He opened the hideout's door.
Shoots of green grew from the earth, scattershot from the apocalypse. Ignoring the snake-like shoots slithering towards the sky, ignoring the unfolding leaves and tendrils snaking out at the scent of blood, ignoring the memories of those who had died, Desmond sheared the stalk at its base. The leaves became dry and brittle and shattered by the time it crashed to the floor of the earth.
The two moved in tandem, covering the fields around the house, eliminating every stalk. Desmond's muscles burned, but he ignored the pain. He must not allow the seeds to flower.
Marsh yelled. Blood spurting from his gut. A wisp of smoke rose from the muzzle of a flower. Marsh waved his hands menacingly to keep the vine's attention.
Desmond crawled forward. He kept his face against the furrowed ground, hoping the musky earth would hide his blood scent. His legs cramped, but he knew if he rose to his feet the flower would turn on him. Would fire. He continued through the pain.
When he neared five feet away, the vine shuddered, leaves and flower twisting in a slow arc. It sought blood that even pressed against the earth could no longer be disguised. The flower clicked as seeds moved into the chamber. He pushed off with his feet leaping for the base of the vine.
A shot fired into the ground behind him. The flower ricocheting and momentarily pointing into the sky.
Desmond's shears caught the vine, pressed it forward but the fibrous bark caught the teeth of his shears and turned the blades until they slipped from his hands. The flower tracked downwards, aiming at Desmond.
He grabbed the back of the vine, the flower struggling against him, tendrils poking into his skin. He bit down on flower's stem and milk poured into his mouth. He coughed the milk up, and hacked at the vine with his shears. The vine died, fibrous shards scattered around Desmond.
He looked for other vines, but nothing towered over the furrows of the field. Marsh had already fallen. He moved to the man's side, his instructor at the mage school, before the flowers had come. Glass eyes stared from Marsh's face, the life already gone. He moved his fingers through Marsh's hair to give the man dignity in death.
Darkness glinted from the vine that had shot Marsh. Desmond rolled for his shears. He stared into a glass woman, moonlight reflecting off of her edges. She munched on the flower head of the vine.
Keeping the shears between them, the points glinting, Desmond approached the glass woman. Her eyes caught the moonlight in a pool that watched as Desmond neared. She crouched as if ready to run. Desmond lowered the shears.
"Who are you?"
She grabbed his shears and threw them with an impossible strength. They flew through the air and disappeared over the other side of the hideout.
"Why did you do that?"
She didn't answer. Desmond's mother had told fireside tales of the glass fae, but they were tales. Supposedly, the creatures had disappeared at the end of the first age. He suspected her lack of answer meant that the distance that separated their species had confused their tongues. Wary, he backed away from her, moving towards the hideout.
The glass woman pointed at the flower. "Need." Her face was gaunt, sharp panes of glass as if the bones underneath protruded. "Hunger."
Desmond shook his head. These creatures must be planting these things. "No." He pointed at Marsh. "The flowers kill us."
She nodded as if with understanding. Her hands harvested the remainder of the flower before she turned. Without a glance back, she loped over the hills, her feet leaving small indentations in the earth.
Seeds stopped raining after that day.