The Great Sunflower by Sean Cunningham

A great sunflower grows in the desert. It stands 6000ft tall and blocks out the sun. The most common question asked regarding it is how?, followed by who did this?, but there are no answers to either. It has been said that the great sunflower looks sad. The desert below is cold and full of rattlesnakes. A woman set out to climb the great sunflower and, as yet, has not returned. The great sunflower is surrounded by gates and fences and spikes and barbed wire and guns and cameras and tents. Everyone who has paid pilgrimage to the great sunflower has reported feeling much happier in its presence. A great sunflower is not a portent of disaster. The great sunflower is the most talked about thing on TV. The rattlesnakes in the desert are no longer venomous. A robot was sent on an investigative mission to the head of the great sunflower; the results were conclusive and evident as to its nature. The great sunflower does not sway in the wind. The great sunflower is also surrounded by prefabricated buildings and cars and scientific equipment and gazebos and lights. A famous naturalist calls the great sunflower The Great Sunflower, and now everybody does. The ruler of the country in which the desert with The Great Sunflower resides lays claim to ownership of The Great Sunflower. The woman who set out to climb The Great Sunflower returns and is arrested on sight. Many thousands of fires rage in the desert. Rulers of countries in which the desert with The Great Sunflower does not reside are aggrieved by the bold claim of ownership. The Great Sunflower is the most talked about thing on TV. Common questions still include how? and who did this?, but now also who cares? and why?, and there continue to be no answers. The Great Sunflower now has a devout following that live in the desert below, carrying out banal rituals like etching its likeness in to every possible surface, and singing Here Comes The Sun at least once in every twenty-four hour period. The climbing woman is sentenced to death without trial. The Great Sunflower is also surrounded by permanent structures and sweat and doubt and heat lamps and barriers and checkpoints and clocks. Everyone within a one-hundred mile radius of the base of The Great Sunflower is the happiest and most confused they have ever been. The Great Sunflower is said to have grown from sad to melancholic. The ruler of the country refuses to acknowledge widespread protestation that The Great Sunflower belongs to all of humanity and not to one single individual. The rattlesnakes begin to writhe and twist and ascend The Great Sunflower. Innumerable lesser sunflowers lay on the desert floor. The Great Sunflower is the most talked about thing on TV. Latest estimations put its height at 6948ft. Nobody can remember how long The Great Sunflower has been with us. How? Nobody can remember a time without The Great Sunflower. The climbing woman is pardoned without explanation or fanfare. The followers of The Great Sunflower now number in the tens of millions. Why? Those in the shadow of The Great Sunflower have forgotten the concepts of dissatisfaction and sadness. The ruler of the country sets out to climb The Great Sunflower. The Great Sunflower is also surrounded by dogs and birds and temporary rubber paths and briefcases and noise. There are no rattlesnakes left in the desert. Many thousands of fires rage on in the desert. Scientists claim that people are ageing slower within the one-hundred mile radius of the base of The Great Sunflower. A famous naturalist calls The Great Sunflower a good, personal friend, and everyone swoons. The Great Sunflower is the most talked about thing on TV. The Great Sunflower droops from melancholic to depressed and a petal falls to the ground, melting as it lands and bathing those near in a velvet glow. Grass begins to grow in the desert. Who Cares? The Great Sunflower sways a bit in the wind. Grand cathedrals have been built to honour The Great Sunflower, its followers say that this is necessary for their metaphysical ascension to the head of The Great Sunflower. The ruler of the country returns and revokes his claim to ownership of The Great Sunflower. Rain falls in the desert and many say that it is the tears of The Great Sunflower. The climbing woman says the rattlesnakes are never coming back; the ruler of the country agrees. The Great Sunflower begins to sweat. Latest estimations put its height at 8128ft. Forests and meadows begin to grow in the desert, and grazing animals make it their new home. Several more petals fall from The Great Sunflower. The followers of The Great Sunflower predict the end of days. The Great Sunflower is also surrounded by horses and log cabins and ignorance and mercantilism. The Great Sunflower begins to droop and a single rattlesnake falls from its head. The Great Sunflower is the most talked about thing on TV. A famous naturalist says, Who did this?

Biography
Sean Cunningham is a writer of very short prose and poetry, from Liverpool. His stories have appeared in publications such as Fugue, Gravel, FIVE:2:ONE, Bending Genres, and formercactus, among others. He can be found on Twitter: @sssseanjc

Image: unsplash.com

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