Part 3: “You’re gonna kill it?!”
The small dome filled with smoke, hiding the flower’s final moments. The park ranger that was holding Charlie back finally let her go. She slid to the ground in front of the dome. Flames licked the top of the dome, releasing smoke into the stormy sky. Charlie snuffed her nose, and wiped away her tears.
The smoke cleared quickly, and the rangers cheered. They swooped in, collecting the dome and the ashes from the flower. Charlie watched in shock, unsure of what to think.
A ranger sat down next to her, and handed her a slip of paper. “Your troop leader said you found it last week. It’s the biggest we’ve seen, and the head scientist said it could get rid of all the others that popped up around the village.” He smiled and tapped the piece of paper. “Give that to your troop leader. It qualifies you for the Junior Park Ranger badge.”
Charlie took the paper and shoved it in her pocket. This was her fault, even though she tried to protect it. She could’ve saved it if the ranger hadn’t held her back. She stared at the spot where the flower used to be. “Why’d it have to be destroyed?”
“We didn’t know what that flower could do, kid.”
Charlie frowned. “So if we don’t understand something, we destroy it?”
The ranger was silent. He fidgeted with his radio for a while. “Lots of things we don’t understand about our world. You’ll learn more when you’re older.”
“I’m ten. I know enough,” Charlie whispered.
The ranger laughed. “You’ve got a lot to learn, kid.” He got to his feet, and joined the others as they climbed into their jeeps.
Charlie watched him leave and finally got to her feet. She took one last look at all the rangers, the flower destroyers, and sprinted into the forest. She didn’t care where she ended up, as long as it was far enough. Far away from the destruction, and far away from the unanswered question.
She ran until she tripped over a stray tree root and slipped on a patch of wet grass. Rolling down a small hill, she landed inside a small grove of trees with a patch of wild flowers growing where they could find spots of sunlight. There were normal pinks and reds and purple flowers, and the occasional semi rare orange poppy, but only one stood out the most. In the middle of the patch, where the sunlight would hit the most, was a single yellow flower, glowing slightly.
“No way,” Charlie whispered excitedly.