"Mr. Krelborn?" Footsteps. "Seymour Krelborn?"
Eyes opening. Eyes blinking. Skin feeling uncomfortably tight. Back aching from sleeping sitting up. Mind flickering on and memories stirring, connecting with each other. First the remembrance- then the pain.
Vocal cords vibrating in his throat. "Leave me alone." His voice, bleak and dull and dead, as if nothing in the world could hold his interest anymore.
"Oh, Audrey, don't die… please don't die, I need you…" But she had. She disobeyed him. She smiled and told him in her golden voice, blood pouring from her wound, his hands gripping her shoulder, that she wanted him to sacrifice her, to feed her to the plant after her soon-to-come death. Her face was turned up in a radiant smile as she explained how her body would benefit the plant, how he would be able to take care of her every day and maintain his fame, get enough money to leave Skid Row for good. But he didn't want to hear her words, and clung to her desperately even as those soft blue eyes glazed over, even as she murmured to him in wonderment, "Don't you see, Seymour? Finally I'll be somewhere that's green!" Her last moment on earth, relishing to end that was to come, and then her eyelids fluttered and her head sunk back against his arm, that lovely smile still frozen on her face.
A crisp, sure voice directly behind him. "Patrick Martin, from the licensing and marketing division, World Botanical Enterprises. We have a gilt-edged proposition for you, boy!"
Swallowing past the choking lump in his throat. Eyes still glued to the table before him. "I'm not interested." But the voices continuing to pester.
She felt unbelievably light in his arms as he stepped forward and watched the hated plant open up, stared down its immense gullet and set Audrey inside, right there on its tongue. The plant closed up, swallowing her, and he sunk into his chair, tears rising and falling. He was alone, and would always be alone from then on. The only people he had considered a family were inside the plant, and it was all his fault. He cried until he fell asleep, shame washing over him. He had traded the life of the girl he loved for a chance at fortune and fame.
"Let me explain in more detail. It's a very simple licensing deal. We take leaf cuttings, develop little Audrey Two's, and sell them to florists across the nation. Pretty soon every household in America will have one!"
Time stopping. Frozen. Heart skipping a beat.
That hated plant… If it had had eyes, they would have been glowing with greed and mirth. If it had said anything, it would have moaned for more food. It couldn't care less about Audrey and how much she had meant to Seymour. All it wanted was its next meal. Rage stirred within him, and his own words from a week ago came back to haunt him. "The vegetable must be destroyed!" And if it killed him in the process, he wouldn't mind. He needed to end this thing once and for all.
"I've got a truck outside with some pots. If you don't mind, we'll start taking cuttings right now." The voice loaded with desire and expectation, soaring for the sky. "Imagine, boy! Audrey Two's everywhere!"
Breath scraping in his throat. Wanting to gasp and forbid the voice from doing anything, but unable to move at all.
A pause, a sigh, and footsteps walking away. Door slams.
The voice drifting through the window- "Why, with the right advertising, this could be bigger than Hula-Hoops!" A girl laughs.
He sees himself suddenly in his mind's eye, picking up that gun and shooting it straight at the plant. He sees himself pepper the inside of the plant's mouth with rat poison, hacking away at the leaves with a machete. There was no doubt about it anymore. The plant that had brought him so much joy in its early days had now brought him an overload of grief, and he had to rid himself of it. Now. Do it now. NOW!
Finally regaining control of his motor skills, to snap his head up and stare straight at the plant head-on. "Bigger than Hula-Hoops?!"
Fingers tightening quickly around the pistol. This time, he knows which Audrey he is killing for.