The Vine Doombringer
Geoffrey C Porter
The plants started out as beneficial ground cover, in vine form, choking out weeds and no need to mow. Years passed. I lived my life. Ate tasty food. Worked. Made art.
To my horror as I looked around, the vines were popping up everywhere in the yard, in some areas over a yard in surface diameter, nothing but vines. Perhaps pretty, if they weren’t everywhere.
Today, I pulled one, it came up easy, but soon broke off. It provided a kind of satisfaction I had not known in some time, like a great welling of energy in my heart.
I tore out another.
It came up from under the grass for about a foot, then broke off.
I kept pulling, one by one.
Everyone looked like a green or brown snake, and I feared for the state of my dreams. Some of them came up from under the grass a full yard.
I filled a big trash can that day with vines. I figured, if I didn’t dispose of them properly, they’d root in my compost pile and I’d be pulling them again.
That night the vine-snake things invaded my dreams, every time I thought I’d slip away I’d be pulling vine-snake things. No sleep for me that night.
The nice thing about yanking vines is the sunshine. The bad thing about it is they seem infinite. No. Clearly finite since the lawn is finite.
I pulled some in the front yard and encountered one which wouldn’t pull, and it didn’t break. I’m not heavy, and my good buddies are all iron weights of various damage levels. The vine wouldn’t budge. I used two hands and put my back into it. No movement, didn’t break. Then I noticed it was actually coming from underneath my house.
No way was my house secretly a giant nest of vines. Just that one vine coming from underneath. I cut it off at the base. Showed that bastard who is boss.
Rain droplets began to fall, and I went inside. Nice slow rain lasted about an hour. My job still called to me. Vines still breathed in Carbon Dioxide, and spit out Oxygen. They must be extinguished.
I went out after the rain stopped. The vines would slip right out of my hands. Gloves, my addled brain whispered. Gloves and fresh rain together, I removed monster after monster. Less vines broke. Ecstasy filled my veins as I ripped out more of the beasts than ever before.
In my frenzy, my distracted mind, I grabbed a snake thinking it a vine. Massive adrenaline boost, heart attack, dead on the spot. Tossed it to the side and went back indoors. If I encounter a snake, yard work is done for the day. A very important rule.
Each day I would be out pulling them. People in my garden group insisted I compost the remains, but I knew better.
I noticed at least five strains so far, and I’m hugely thankful that none appear to be poison ivy or poison oak or garlic mustard. Five strains? Make that six. Yes, six.
Some of the types have pretty little purple or blue flowers. I’m not trying to destroy those. And yes, many people would use some herbicide of doom. I have food plants in my yard which I assume in the future will become vines I have to wage a war against, especially the blackberries.
Wild strawberries are invasive too. I just want grass.
What I need is goats, or possibly to train the groundhogs to eat the vines. Still, I rip them out on nice days. I tell myself they cannot be infinite, but am I pulling them quicker than they grow? I see new growth all the time this year.
As I murdered vines each day, my body started to develop more muscle and brute force strength. Still the vines simply broke most times. I began to use a large iron rake to rip up large sections at a time, scattering grass seed in areas I scorched bare. I told myself, I will never do this whole yard, but it was a dire compulsion at that point, and I would not stop.
Unless it was a little chilly outside, then I’d stop, but only then. Or rain. I’d stop for rain. Otherwise I was an unstoppable machine of war. Or if I needed a snack or a drink of water, I’d go inside for a bit.
It took weeks, nay months, but soon the vines numbered quite few. Some remained, but few and far between. For a while, I worried about organized, armed resistance, but none showed itself. Because they’re plants, of course.
I ignored it after a while, drank my herbal teas, began to plot my garden on sheets of graph paper. I walked outside. Fresh new growth everywhere, a shade of light green I hadn’t seen in the vines before, many were knee-high. Destroying a part of them seemed to encourage growth on the rest.
I began my work with renewed frenzy, for I am the Vine Doombringer. Within days, I pushed the invasion back once again. My hands bled. My back ached.
The next day, I stepped out into the yard.
Hip high vines.
They seemed to be moving, advancing on me. I powered up my trusty lawnmower and drove right into the fray. Vine carcasses flew left and right, but those new cuttings already took root, creating a new army.
Soon they overpowered the lawnmower, and I fell off. They attacked as a swarm. A warm embrace. No matter how I twisted and turned, I couldn’t escape, and I finally rested.
The sun set, and I grew cold. The sun rose later. I stretched out and flexed my muscles. I stood up and surveyed the field. The vines still grew everywhere, but I embraced my freedom, physically whole, and my heart blazed with new energy.
But my mind somehow changed. Now my compulsion raged to go at night and transplant vines from my house into neighboring yards.
I see no reason to resist.