Story Sent in by Brent:
I used to volunteer in a nearby hospital, and that's where I met Lara, another volunteer. Unlike a lot of the other volunteers, she was around my age, and so at first we bonded, based on that alone. Then, when it was discovered that we shared several other interests, including gardening and playing music (we were both pianists), we decided to meet up for a drink, off of hospital grounds.
That first drink went well, and a second date was scheduled. I planned to take her out of town a little ways to an open-to-the-public mansion that had a large garden full of rare plants. She hadn't heard of the place, but I was excited to bring her there.
I took her out to lunch first, and it went well as well can be. She was really funny, really pretty, and her knowledge of horticulture, admittedly, blew mine out of the water.
We arrived at the mansion and gardens, I paid for our tickets, and we went inside. According to a brochure they handed us at the front gate, it was apparently one of many summer houses that was owned by a wealthy family, but when it turned out that living off of the family's accumulated wealth wasn't sustainable, the house was sold off to various buyers, and eventually the town acquired it. The grounds were run by a garden club. One of the family matriarchs had been an avid gardener, and she traveled all over and brought back all kinds of rare, not-found-in-North-America plants.
Up until this point, Lara hadn't shown any signs of psychosis. She seemed happy to be there, but quiet. Quieter than normal. She looked back and forth as we strolled, and I had the impression that something distressed her. There were a few other people around, enjoying the day and the flowers.
I asked Lara, "Everything okay?"
She said, "These shouldn't be here. These plants. This isn't natural. She shouldn't have taken them away from their homes. They'll wreck the whole ecosystem. There's a reason why these plants don't grow in North America. They have no idea what they're doing here, the calamity..."
She went on like that for a little bit. I reassured her, "I'm sure the gardeners here know what they're doing."
She pointed to a clump of plants that I didn't recognize. They looked like Brussels sprouts, but apparently, they weren't. She said, "These are invasive. They'll eat the whole garden and soon, they'll eat us."
With that, she leaned over a string line that was seemingly meant to dissuade people from ripping pieces off the plants, and she ripped off a clump of leaves from the plant. She then said, apparently to the plant, "Don't think I'm not wise to you."
Realizing that such an act could get us kicked out or arrested, I took Lara lightly by the shoulders and pulled her away from the plant.
She tore away, then kicked at the plant, then strode down the path, throwing the leaves she had grabbed from it all over, like confetti. She was attracting some attention from the other visitors, and I hurried after her to do damage control.
When I reached her, I put a hand on her shoulder and she bucked away. She said, "I want to be alone, right now. I can't believe this. I can't believe you'd take me here."
"What's wrong?" I asked her, "We can go, if you want. Right now."
She said, "I want to be alone. If you keep talking to me, I'll give you something to scream about. You took me here, and now you're going to have to deal with the consequences."
That freaked me out enough to let her keep walking, on her own. I strolled in the opposite direction, hoping that whatever had attacked her sanity would soon disappear, and we could have a pleasant rest of the day until the end of the date, after which I'd never have to see her again.
After a while, I looked for her, but she was nowhere to be found. We had driven there in the same car (hers) and when I returned to the parking lot, it was gone. It was a nice day, but I was about eight miles outside of town, so I called a friend to come grab me.
Lara and I never went out again.
Story Sent in by Brent: