Freddy the Flax in the Red Zone

Back in January, 2015, I asked for survivors of the Christchurch quakes to share their stories. The response was overwhelming. I was so touched by all the stories. In February, I was unable to share all the stories with my readers. However, now that we are approaching the fifth anniversary of the June 13th, 2011 quake, I felt it was prudent that I share with the world the remainder of those stories.

Below is a short story from Jennifer Wilson. We should give a thought to the ones who couldn't speak for themselves: the flora and fauna.

The suburb of Bexley after the quake on February 22, 2011. (Photo credit: AP Photo/New Zealand Herald, Mark Mitchell)

The suburb of Bexley after the quake on February 22, 2011. This region of Christchurch is now what we call "Red Zone", meaning that it is no longer suitable for housing. The entire region has now been leveled. (Photo credit: AP Photo/New Zealand Herald, Mark Mitchell)

Freddy the Flax in the Red Zone
by Jennifer Wilson

The house is empty. The plants are alone. ‘We’ve waited so long in this liquefaction soil, our roots are heavy and starting to spoil.'

'They won’t leave us,' Ruby Rose said.

Lucy Lupin agreed. ‘She won’t replace us with new seed.'

‘Ark...'  a black bird screeched from above, ‘another garden she will love.'

‘You roses, pansies, hydrangeas and all, you can forget your summer bloom.'

'Freddy the Flax,' Ruby Rose said, 'He doesn’t look good. He's almost dead. We roses are the best in the garden, we’ll go for sure.'

'I beg your pardon,' Harvey Herb cried. 'New soil could be our Freddy’s cure.'

Freddy looked sad. Ruby was right.

Hayley Hydranger looked surprised.  'Oh don’t make a fuss; they’ll be back for us.'

'But how do you know?' the pansies asked.

'Lily and Lois, you are so sweet.  Look at your petals and your feet. She has watered and cared for us morning and night.’

‘They won’t take me,’ Freddy did weep. ‘The yellow monsters will take me like the rest of the street.’

‘They’re here,’ Freddy gasped. 'They're here at last.’ He sat up tall and straightened his strands.

‘Oh Freddy,' the plants cheered, 'you look ever so grand.’

‘This one’s no good, doubt it will survive.’

‘Freddy, cheer up!’ they called from the van.

‘I am. I’m trying to look the best I can.’

‘Hmm!’ she said. ‘I think you’re right, he is a sorry sight.’

‘Oh please take me with you,’ Freddy did beg. ‘I’ll be the best in your garden. I just need new soil.’

‘I’ll be good,’ he pleaded.  ‘You’ll fear no toil.’

The van moved away. Freddy’s heart ached. But then came a lucky break.

With shovel in hand over the grass she ran. ‘You’re coming with me.’ She pushed and she pulled with all her might. The hard old soil put up a good fight. Ker-plunk, she fell on her knees. Freddy flipped out and into the breeze.

‘Yippee! he shouted. 'I’m finally free!’ as he came to land against an old tree.

‘That was some exit!’ the plants all roared.

‘It almost finished me,' he spluttered and coughed. ‘I’m Freddy the Flax, ya can’t knock me off. The most handsome flax I will now be. Good-bye house. Good-bye Street. A new life I’m happy to meet.’

About the writer:

Jennifer Wilson was born in Christchurch and finished her education at Avonside Girls High. In 2012, she published her first book, describing how one woman sheltered and protected her children from her husband's devastating bi-polar illness. For the past two years, she has hosted a children's program on local radio, where she presents many of her stories. Jennifer is currently working on her next book which she hopes to publish this year.

P.S. I'd love to meet you on Twitter or Facebook.

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© Copyright, Jennifer Wilson 2016

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