FFM 2021 24: Plumeria Blossoms and Bird Cages

Challenge: The story must include a color, a texture, a flavor, a scent and a temperature and there must be twenty words of dialogue at most. As a bonus, include three different scents from the answers to question 4 on this year’s sign up page.

My picks of smells are: “the bird cage needs cleaning” from NobodysSon, “An elusive fragrance of plumeria blossoms.” from KiriHearts and “Tea. The smell is tea” from telempathicangel. Plus, this is one of the stories I planned for the week’s sidequest; in fact, this is the most planned — this is the only one of the three planned stories that got a proper outline!


The wind had turned during the night. That was the first thing Sylvia noticed when she stepped to the balcony with a cup of morning tea. While last evening the scent of the stark white plumeria blossoms had downright blasted her when she had opened the window, now she had to take a deep breath to get even a hint of that now elusive scent.

No matter. She could enjoy the views anyway; this was the best time of the year, everything blossoming to its fullest. For once, she also had the chance to fully enjoy it, sitting at the balcony and sipping her… bitter… tea. Sylvia scrunched her nose at the taste. She must have left the teabag in the water for just a bit too long — just the right spot that the tea tasted bad but smelled good. Sylvia sighed and put the mug aside; she had previously used a timer to get her tea just right but it did not work as well as it used to for her, and getting used to that was taking time. No wonder she had gotten so much time off to get used to how she perceived the world now.

She had better make a new cup and pay more attention to time or else the day would be even worse. Sylvia returned to the kitchen to prepare a new cup only to perceive a new smell, one even worse than overly bitter tea.

The bird cage needed cleaning.

Sighing again, Sylvia turned to the bird cage in the living room. It was probably for the best to get to cleaning now and not later; even though she could no longer tell when the the budgies complained, her neighbors could — and her neighbors had the means of getting the message to its recipient.

Picking the cleaning equipment, Sylvia moved the budgies out of the cage and got to work. The smooth, cold metal was once comforting, but now it was one of the only things she could perceive about her birds. Now, she had to look to the side every so often to make sure that the birds were still there.

As much as it hurt to admit it, the little birds probably needed a better home than she could provide nowadays.

When Sylvia returned to the balcony, cage clean, hands washed, and a new cup of tea in hand, she could not help noting that the scenery looked strange. It was not just because of the smoke — probably yet another wildfire — or at least it should not be. It was as if the horizon was emptier now.

Sylvia checked her plumeria camera’s footage. As she rewound the footage, her jaw dropped. Behind her back, the city in the distance had been reduced to rubble.

It was probably for the best to check the phone for news and concerned text messages.

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