Title: THE POISON SEASON
Age Category: Adult
Word Count: 72.000
Poisonous plant expert Kit Magee is devastated by her sister’s apparent suicide. To unearth the truth and set things right, Kit risks revealing she has more than dirt on her hands.
First 250 Word of Manuscript:
Four minutes to go.
“Grindhouse Blues” began to moan its way through my earbuds as I inhaled slowly through my nose. Steady hands, Kit, I willed myself.
The blade in my left hand sliced down the length of the flower, cleanly dividing it. With my right hand I spread open the two halves, exposing its male and female parts. Using hemostat clamps I removed the anthers, the male parts holding pollen, and set them carefully onto the paper plate beside me. Breathe.
I swept a miniature paintbrush gently across the anthers lifting pollen onto the eyelash-fine hairs. Tapping the brush delicately onto the plate, I smiled as the tiny pile of yellow fluff land softly. Exhale.
Less than a minute to complete this phase of my experiment.
As I turned to set the net cover over the plate my jumbo-sized cat Max jumped onto the workbench.
“Shit!” I grabbed him around his fat yellow middle a split second before his paw landed in the pollen. “Max, you could’ve been poisoned.” I hoisted all twenty-two pounds of him up onto one shoulder and placed the cover over the plate with my free hand.
Brugmansia, or Angel’s Trumpet, was a dangerous plant. My sister Margie and I discovered it several years ago at an herb workshop. The host had grown several brugmansia varieties around her property and was fascinated by the plant’s intriguing history as an anesthetic, hallucinogen and deadly poison, earning it the nickname the Devil’s Breath.