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In a Green Shade

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Magnificent, Chase thinks as the krynoid's vast shadow falls across his face.

He's not surprised when, godlike, it hears and answers. "Not monstrous?"

The Doctor's word. Fool, filthy animal. "Beautiful."

"You . . . love me."

He has always loved his plants. Plants are innocent and tender, and they've given him back more true goodness than any human. But none before has responded so spectacularly to his care. "Yes," he whispers.

A vine wraps around his ankle, and he trembles at its cool, dispassionate touch. No skin, no fingers have ever moved him so. "You will help me," it says. "To grow. To release my seed pods. To cleanse this world."

No more animals, no meat things with their stink and their terrible appetites. Just harmless blood and bone, compost for the new garden of Eden.

Vines loop over him, surrounding him as the krynoid's mind surrounds his, and he falls onto the soft grass. Below him, above him, there is only green. A chlorophyll ocean to drown in.

"Be one with me," the krynoid urges as it roots its consciousness in him, as he dissolves into it, and he no longer needs to speak. Everything in him answers yes.