Hemlock Water Dropwort
One of the most poisonous plants in the world. All parts of the plant are extremely toxic and have been implicated in several cases of livestock poisoning. The poison acts by constricting the muscles causing sudden death, loosening the facial muscles, and causing facial paralysis, leaving the victim with a smile on their face.
* * *
It was just an ordinary morning like every other day. I opened my shop’s door, turned on the lighting, and prepared everything else, ready to welcome my customers who would start to come anytime soon.
I owned a botanical and flower shop. But different from any other ordinary one seen around this city, besides selling decorative plants, fertilizer, and other plant materials, my shop also provided exotic and rare botanical plants and some botanical elixirs from plant extract.
The shop wasn’t too big. There were many shelves filled with plant pots and materials, and I used the main counter as my activity center. Dimly lit and located at the corner of the street, my shop didn’t look so flashy, but it sold various botanical items and was the only of its kind around, making it never run out of customers.
Like any other day, I checked my appearance once again in the wall mirror. Here I was, standing tall with a plain white shirt and chino pants, my brown wavy hair neatly combed back, looking dapper as always. I was ready for today.
I sat behind the counter, waiting for my first customer to come. I didn’t have any assistant here as I didn’t need help from someone who wasn’t as competent as me. I could handle everything by myself.
Day went by, and customers started to come.
And another one.
I served them like the good owner I was, as always, a routine I had done every day for almost three years now. It was already afternoon and almost time for me to close my shop, but I was still waiting for that one particular customer. That one hadn’t come yet. I checked the watch on my wrist and decided to wait for a while.
Still, no one came.
I sighed, and walked towards the front door, ready to put the closed sign on it.
“Hey wait, are you still open?” a sudden voice greeted, making me look at the speaker. It was her: the special customer I had been waiting for all day. “Can I come? I promise I won’t be long,” she said.
“Sure, come in,” I replied, gesturing to her to enter the shop.
She walked in, and I followed her from behind. As I watched her picking some stuff from the shelf, I couldn’t take my eyes off of her.
She was beautiful.
She was so beautiful.
She started to come here often around a week ago, and she came often—sometimes to buy some fertilizer, sometimes just to look around the various plants. And she hypnotized me from the moment I saw her. Her beauty was so alluring, drowning me in her. Long sleek hair, soft fair skin, a dainty figure, a feminine form that suited my taste, completed with those little dimples that appeared when she smiled. She was such perfection.
She wore a casual shirt with jeans and sneakers, but that didn’t diminish her charm. Even though I would prefer that she dressed in a more feminine way, she looked more beautiful in a soft, flowing dress and a few-inch tall heels.
“So how much are these?” she asked, standing in front of the counter, ready to pay.
I snapped out of my daydream and processed her payment. She thanked me and smiled as I handed her the paper bag filled with her stuff before walking towards the front door, leaving my shop as I kept staring at her from behind. When she was finally out of my sight, I smiled, turned off all the lights, and locked the shop door.
My day was over.
* * *
She came again the next day; this time at noon. It wasn’t a busy hour, so it was just me and her at the shop.
“Excuse me, do you have some anti-fungal spray for indoor plants? My Monstera got brown spots on its leaves. It’s because of the fungal infection, right?” she asked from outside the counter.
“Yes, you’re right,” I said. “Wait, I think I have what you’re looking for. It must be around here.” I looked for the anti-fungal spray she asked about on the corner shelf behind the counter. I searched for it for a while as she looked around the shop, waiting for me.
“Hey, what is this flower? It’s beautiful,” she said, trying to reach the flower pot from the top shelf.
“Don’t touch it! It’s poisonous!” I snapped as soon as I saw the flower she was referring to. She looked at me, startled. I cleared my throat, feeling sorry for startling her. “Uhm, yeah. You won’t die just by touching it, but still, it’s dangerous.” I pointed to the warning sign on the top shelf. “You should read that.”
“Oh, right. Sorry,” she muttered. “I didn’t see it.”
“This is your spray,” I said, handing her the anti-fungal spray she needed. “Do you need anything else?”
“No, thanks,” she said, smiling at me. Taking her wallet out of her bag, she asked, “So, how much?”
“Ten thousand won,” I said while packing her item and processing her payment. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to snap at you earlier. It’s just if you’re not careful, it can be dangerous.”
“No worries. My bad, I didn’t read the sign.” She smiled at me, putting the item in her bag. “Thanks for warning me. Have a great day,” she said before leaving my shop.
“Have a nice day, too. Thanks, and come again,” I said, slightly bowed, and once again staring at her back until she was out of my sight.
* * *
I had just finished packing some online orders from my customers when I saw her coming to my shop the next day, beautiful as always. She smiled slightly and bowed before wandering around the shop, looking for what she needed.
“Find what you’re looking for?” I asked after a while, standing beside her as she looked at some fresh flowers on the front shelves. “Do you need any help?”
“Ah, well. Actually, I’m not buying anything today,” she said a bit shyly, giving me a big-eyed look. “I’m just looking around at your flowers and plants, I hope you don’t mind.”
Oh, she was so pretty. Her eyes were so pretty. Big eyes with big pupils and long lashes. How could I say no to her? She could stay here as long as she wanted, and I’d never mind.
“Sure, take your time,” I said, smiling at her as she smiled back.
“Your plant collections are impressive,” she said, pointing at a bright pink plant. “You have various plants I’ve never seen before.”
“Ah, yes. It’s Syngonium Pink. It’s a quite rare tropical plant, rarely sold in Korea, famous for its pink-colored leaves,” I explained. “You like it?” She nodded. I pointed at the pot beside her. “And this is White Philodendron. It’s an indoor plant, easy to maintain. Maybe you’re interested in keeping it at home?”
“Ah, no.” She slightly shook her head, chuckling. “My Monstera at home is enough for me. I am still learning how to take care of it. This Philodendron is so beautiful. It’s a pity if I take the wrong care of it. By the way, I’m a bit curious about your poisonous plants yesterday.” She pointed to the shelves at the back of my shop. “Can I take a look at it? I promise I won’t touch them.”
I smiled as I tilted my head, gesturing to her to follow me to the back shelves. I put on my gloves and reached the top shelf, taking some flower pots in my hands. She looked at my moves and I could see curiosity in her eyes.
“This is Oleander,” I said as I showed her a beautiful pink flower with little pink buds and green leaves around it. “It can be used as an ornamental shrub since it’s not too toxic, but if it’s accidentally eaten, the poisonous symptoms can vary from vomiting to even coma,” I explained, and she looked at the flower, amazed.
“And this purple one is an Opium Poppy.” I showed her a glass vase with a purple-yellow flower in it. “Three drops of Opium extract can make you sleep all day. Five drops can anesthetize a big animal, and if you took an ampule of it, it can make you see death.”
She gulped. I could see she started to feel uneasy. I reached the corner top shelf, at one vase that was hidden at the corner back, and took it carefully as it was fragile and the most poisonous of them all.
“My favorite,” I said, showing her the dainty white flowers in my hand and looking at her eyes. “The Hemlock Water Dropwort, one of the most poisonous plants in the world, striking your neurotic system, causing a sudden death with a smile on your face.”
“Smile?” she asked confusedly.
“Yes, the toxic loosen your facial muscles and causes facial paralysis, leaving the victim of this poison with a smile on their face when they die.” Placing all the poisonous flowers back on the top shelves, I said, “Beautiful, huh?”
“Well, I won’t say beautiful,” she said, unsure. “But that’s impressive.” She looked at me as I took off my gloves and poured some drink from the jug at my counter table.
“I know. They’re all fascinating and impressive with their own beauty.” I handed her a cup of drink. “You want some tea? It’s herbal tea, but don’t worry it’s not from the poisonous one,” I said as I smiled jokingly at her.
“Thanks.” She chuckled as she took the tea. “So, are all of these for sale? Or just your personal collection?”
“They’re for sale, but only for certain people. You need to have a permit to buy it,” I told her, sipping the tea in my cup. “I also have to have a license from the government to sell these kinds of things.”
“Why do people wanna buy these poisonous plants? Aren’t they dangerous?” she wondered as she took a sip of her tea and sat at the counter chair.
“Yes, they are, but if you use them in a certain way with the right amount, they can also be medicine. Or, scientists can buy them for their studies and experiments.”
“Oh, right. I see.” She nodded slightly. “You really have an extensive knowledge about plants,” she said, looking at me impressed.
“I’m a botanist. I took Biology and Botanical Major back in college.”
“Oh, wow. No wonder you and your shop are impressive!” she exclaimed, looking at me wide-eyed.
Not as impressive as you, though.
Looking and talking with her up close just made me realize her beauty more. I could see her detailed features, like her pink soft lips, her pink blushed cheek, her big doe eyes that always had a spark in them. She really was one of a kind.
I wanted to make her mine.
I wished she was mine.
“I think I have to go now,” she said, looking at her watch. “I have some work to do.” She stood and smiled. “Thank you for your time today, it’s so interesting to hear the story behind all these plants.”
“No worries, you can come here anytime, and I’ll tell you about some other plants.” I held out my hand. “I’m Taehyung, by the way.”
“I’m Lily. Nice to know you, Tae.” She shook my hand and smiled back at me. “Bye, I’ll come here again sometime. Have a great day!”
“Have a great day, too.”
And with that she left my shop, leaving me stunned and staring at my hand that she just touched.
Lily, Lily, what a beautiful name. Just like the meaning of a lily flower, she was a purity with a sweet and innocent beauty. I breathed in my hand and could smell her sweet scent. Lily, Lily, you drowned me into you.
I’d make you mine.
I’d make you mine.
* * *
Days passed and she came again and again to my shop. We were getting closer as we became friends. I knew she worked at a publishing office nearby, and that was how she came across my shop. She knew I made plant extract elixirs besides taking care of this shop. I knew she preferred coffee, but she couldn’t resist my Calendula tea. She knew my deep interest in botanical plants, and we both talked a lot about it. She knew I loved my flowers, but she didn’t know that right now I only had one flower that filled my head.
The more I got to know her, the more I got deep into her. She was a very nice person, friendly and lovely to talk to. But still, what attracted me the most was her beauty. She was so magnificent, even all my flowers couldn’t match her charm. She was ethereal.
I really liked her. I wanted her to be mine. And I knew I had a chance. Yes, she was a beauty, but I was also a personable person myself. I knew I was a good-looking guy as I used to get attention from girls at a very young age, even my female customers liked to flirt with me sometimes.
But no, I only wanted her.
I wanted my Lily.
I wanted my Lily to be mine, and we all knew that I always got what I desired.
* * *
But maybe this time I couldn’t.
I felt jealousy burning in my heart when I saw her coming today with a guy holding her hand. I crumpled the flowers in my hand unconsciously when I saw her giving me her wide smile, and I tried my best to smile back at her and the guy beside her.
“Hi Tae, do you have any Butterfly Pea flower seeds? I wanna try to grow them at my house,” she asked, sitting at the counter, just as usual. “I heard it can be boiled into herbal tea?”
“Yes, it can. It’s good for your health, too,” I said, handing her a pack of flower seeds from my drawer. “It has lots of antioxidants for anti-aging.”
“Thanks, sounds great.” She smiled at me. “Ah, by the way, I haven’t introduced you guys. Tae, this is Jungkook, my boyfriend,” she said, tilting her head to the guy beside her. “Jungkook, this is Taehyung, my friend. He’s the owner of this shop.”
We both got acquainted, and I kept a narrow look on him. A tall muscular guy, around my age, with a fully tattooed arm and a piercing in one of his eyebrows. Quite good looking, not as good as me of course. He was wearing a casual shirt with jeans and had a nonchalant, smug look on his face.
Jerk. Total jerk. He was the type of guy who just took benefits from his girl and then spat her out when he was done. How could Lily end up with a guy like him? She should be with me, an educated classy guy with a good sense of manners, not with the likes of that rascal.
“Tae?” Lily asked, snapping me from my thoughts.
“Ah, yeah, sorry,” I stuttered, getting out of my thoughts. “What did you say?”
“I asked what pot is good to plant this flower in,” she said. “I also want to buy it.”
“Oh, wait,” I said, looking for the suitable pot from the shelves. I handed her a medium-sized terracotta pot. “This will do fine.”
“Great, now how much are all these?”
As I proceeded with her payment, I kept staring at Jungkook. He was now looking around my shop with a bored look on his face. Tch, he couldn’t even wait patiently for his girlfriend to do what she liked. How could he be a good boyfriend? And Lily, why couldn’t you take your eyes off of him? What was that glimmer in your eyes, why did I never see those sparks before?
Why do you never look at me the way that you look at him right now?
“These are yours. Thank you, and come again,” I said to Lily, handing her the paper bag. I smiled softly at her, trying to compose the burning emotion inside of me. “Take care Lily, have a great day.”
“Thanks, Tae. I’ll come again next time. I’ll let you know if I manage to plant these Butterfly Peas well.” She grinned widely. “Bye!”
Lily then left the shop with Jungkook, her hand around his waist and his hand around her shoulders. I looked at their backs with a cold, blank stare.
Just wait, Lily. I’ll replace him with me.
* * *
A few days later, Lily came to my shop again. We sat opposite the counter table, having a little chit-chat accompanied with my Calendula tea, just like usual.
“Your tea is the best, Tae,” she said after taking a sip. “I think this can replace my addiction to coffee.”
“Yeah, it’s better for your health, too.” I smiled, pouring her cup with some more warm tea. “The Calendula extract can relax and calm your nervous system. It’s good for your skin, too.”
“By the way, my Butterfly Peas are starting to grow,” Lily said excitedly. “I can’t wait for them to bloom.”
“Great! Don’t forget to water them every day and put them under the morning sun so they grow healthily.”
“You’re such a gentle guy, Tae.” She smiled at me. “A guy who takes such good care of flowers must be a soft-hearted one.”
I smiled softly at her and saw she was playing with her teacup, her eyes looked gloomy. She let out a sigh, and I knew she must’ve had some burdens on her mind.
“What’s wrong?” I tilted my head. “Got something to tell me? You can share your problem with me.”
“Nothing. It’s just—” She shook her head slightly. “What do men see in a woman?” she finally asked, giving me a questioning look.
“Uhm, her beauty?” I said, making her frown. “And her personality of course,” I hastily added.
She sighed, leaning back in her chair. “Then I’m not pretty or good enough for him, I guess.”
“What do you mean?” I frowned.
“I think my boyfriend is cheating on me, Tae,” she said, playing with her teacup with a somber look. “I saw some flirty messages from some girls on his phone. I always knew he’s such a player, but I thought he would stop when we got together. But I guess I was wrong.”
I felt my blood boiling. How dare that bastard make my beautiful Lily so blue like this. Her precious smile was replaced with a gloomy face, something I didn’t want her to be.
“Have you confronted him about this?” I asked her.
“No, I’m not sure if I want or am ready enough to know the truth.” She gave me a weak smile.
I looked at her with a pain in my heart. Lily, Lily, why did you have to be sad like this? He didn’t deserve your sadness. You’d be better with me, Lily. I’d never make you sad. I’d always put a smile on your beautiful face.
I couldn’t stand seeing her like this, I felt like I wanted to comfort her. “Lily, do you know what your name means?” I asked, but she just stared at me blankly. “Lily is a special flower that symbolizes femininity and admiration, just like you. You are special and admirable, inside and out. And if your boyfriend can’t see that, it’s his loss, not yours. Don’t be sad Lily, your suspicion isn’t necessarily true, right?” I smiled at her, trying to cheer her up.
She looked at me for a while, processing my words before giving me a slight smile. “Thanks, Tae. I feel better now. You are a gentle guy. I bet your girl is very lucky to have you,” she said before frowning. “By the way, do you have a girlfriend?”
“My girlfriend is a flower,” I said vaguely.
A lily flower. You.
She chuckled. “You really live deep in your botanical world, don’t you? It’s a pity that your future girlfriend has to compete with all these beautiful flowers around you,” she said, giving me a teasing smile.
I just smiled back at her as I poured some more tea into her cup.
Don’t worry, Lily. All these beauties cannot compare to yours. You’ll always be my favorite among them all. And don’t forget to put on those beautiful smiles of yours. They suit you perfectly. I won’t let anyone or anything take it away from you.
* * *
But the next time she came to my shop, she greeted me with tears in her eyes.
It was almost night with drizzling rain, and I was ready to close my shop when I saw her walking towards me.
“Can I come in?” she asked from under her umbrella with a slightly shaking voice.
I let her in, and as she walked in, I followed her. She sat on the counter chair and just sat there for a while, not saying anything as I waited patiently for her to say something.
“He cheated on me,” she finally said. “Oh my God, Jungkook cheated on me with his fucking ex-girlfriend!” She started crying abruptly as she couldn’t hold her tears anymore.
I was stunned looking at her.
“I went to his apartment this afternoon and I saw them making out at the couch, the couch that I fucking bought for him! Oh my God, I’m so stupid! All this time I thought he would change for me! I know he won’t change. It’s already in his blood that he’s a player!” she ranted, burying her face in her hands. “I’m such a fool, I’m too in love with him,” she whispered between her sobs. She cried, cried, and cried. Tears fell through her cheek, and she couldn’t stop her rants.
Oh dear Lily, please don’t do this. Those cries can ruin your beauty!
I couldn’t stand seeing her like this. It hurt me so much that I felt like my heart was also broken just like hers. “Lily, please calm down,” I said, trying to stop her sobs.
“What should I do, Tae,” she asked me desperately, looking like a mess. “I love him so much.”
“Lily, remember when I told you about the lily flower?” I asked. “You know what another fact that makes lily flowers special is their ability to survive after being cut. Unlike others, lilies are hardy and do not wilt easily, even after being picked. Just like you. You are strong, Lily. Don’t let him hurt you; he’s not worth your tears. Like I said before, it’s his loss, not yours,” I said, putting my hands over hers.
She stared deep into my eyes for a while, processing what I just said in her head. She let out a deep breath and finally held her head up.
“You’re right. Thanks for waking me up,” she said, wiping the tears on her cheek. “You really are special, Tae. Your future girlfriend would be so lucky.” She smiled softly at me, wiping her puffy eyes.
Yes, you will be so lucky to have me. Damn, Lily. Even in a mess you still look so pretty.
I looked at her, considering my thoughts. Should I just confess my feelings for her? Was it the right time? Yes, I knew it was the right time. It was now or never.
I took a deep breath and held her hand. “Would you be that lucky girl, Lily? Would you be my girlfriend?” She was stunned there in her seat, looking at me, and didn’t know what to say. “I like you, Lily, from the first time we met, and I know I will cherish you like no one ever before,” I said, looking deep into her eyes. “I won’t make any sweet promises, but you know me. You said that yourself that I’m a gentle man. I won’t make you sad. I’ll always put nothing but a smile on your face.”
She was still stunned, startled by my sudden confession. She looked unsure, her eyes shifted as she avoided my look, but finally, she said softly, “Thank you, Tae. But I’m sorry. You’re so kind, but I never think of you as more than a friend.” She took her hands away from mine. “And I—I know this sounds stupid, but deep in my heart I still love Jungkook. I can’t easily forget him.”
My heart felt shattered.
She chose that bastard over me?
I felt my pride hurt. Never before had a girl rejected me, and for a jerk.
No, I always got what I wanted.
She looked at the mixed feelings on my face, and she felt sorry. “I-I’m really sorry Tae, it’s just.” She stuttered, not knowing what to say. “Maybe I better go home now,” she said at last as she grabbed her bag and got ready to stand.
“No, no, please don’t!” I hastily stopped her. “I’m sorry. I understand. It’s not my place to say something like that to you in your situation right now. I’m sorry.” I sighed heavily, tilting my head to the now heavy rain outside. “Please stay a while. It’s still raining outside, anyway. Would you like some tea, Calendula? To relax our mood.” After a moment, I added, “And I hope we still can be friends?”
I smiled hesitantly at her, and she slightly smiled back, nodding. I left her there for a while to prepare the tea at the pantry at the back of the shop.
It’s okay, Lily. It may not be today, but sooner or later you’ll be mine. Whatever it takes.
* * *
She never came back.
After that day, Lily never came to my shop again. I never saw her around the street either. But that was okay. It had been a couple of days, but I wasn’t worried. I knew she was alright. She was in a safe place and her jerk boyfriend couldn’t hurt her anymore.
She might not come again, but she wasn’t going anywhere. Surely, she would be mine. And it will happen soon.
* * *
“Taehyung, right?” a sudden voice greeted, making me look for the speaker. It was noon at the shop, and I was busy checking the plants on one of the shelves. “Remember me? I’m Jungkook, Lily’s boyfriend,” he said, still with an annoying smug look on his face just like the last time I saw him.
“Yes. Can I help you?” I asked coldly.
“Uhm, have you seen Lily lately? Did she come here?” he asked, looking around my shop.
“No, she hasn’t come here. It’s been a few days,” I said. “What’s wrong?”
“Uhm, nothing. It’s just—we had a misunderstanding a couple of days ago. I think she was mad at me, and after that, she’s just gone. She never answers my calls or messages either,” he said, brushing his hair back, looking a bit pissed.
Misunderstanding, huh? You really are a bastard.
“I know she likes to come here lately. Maybe she told you something?” he asked.
I shrugged nonchalantly. “No, she didn’t. It’s been a while since the last time I saw her, and no, she didn’t tell me anything.”
Jungkook stared at me with a probing look in his eyes. I looked back at him coldly. If he wanted to intimidate me with that look, it was useless. I would never get intimidated by a guy like him. And I would never tell him anything about Lily. She was safe now; she would soon be mine. That jerk had no rights to her anymore.
He let out a sigh and brushed his hair abruptly. “Alright then. Just tell her that I’m looking for her if she comes here, okay?” he finally said. “Thanks.”
And with that, he left my shop, and as I looked at his back from afar, a smile slowly formed on my face.
* * *
It was late at night when I finally came home. I was a bit late since I had been doing some work in my shop, and after that, I went around the mall, looking for something. Something special.
A gift for Lily.
I opened my apartment door and went straight to my room. There, I saw Lily laid down on my bed, sleeping peacefully. I sat on the edge of the bed, caressing her soft cheek with a smile on my face. So my Opium extract worked well.
I put three drops of Opium extract on her tea that night, and not long after, she fell asleep. I took her home with me and gave her three drops of it the next day, so she never awakened. She just slept soundly in my bed, waiting for me to get back home from the shop every day.
“Hi, Lily, how’s your day?” I asked as I kept caressing her cheek.
I wanted to make her mine on the first day she came to my house, but I couldn’t. I wanted her to be perfectly beautiful when she was finally mine, but she was still missing something. So I had to be patient and wait just a little bit more while looking for what was missing.
And today I finally found it. The perfect dress that would suit Lily beautifully. The flowy soft pink chiffon dress that would match her fair skin perfectly. I also bought some nice accessories and heels to complete her look.
I took everything from the paper bag that I brought and changed her outfit with the new one. “You know Lily, your boyfriend came to the shop today. He was asking for you,” I told her as I dressed her up. “But don’t worry, I didn’t tell him anything. You’re safe with me here.” I smiled reassuringly at her. “He can’t hurt you anymore.”
Trailing my hand on her bare arms, feeling her soft skin, I said, “Damn, you’re so beautiful, Lily. I know you’ll look pretty in this dress, just like I imagined.” I looked at her beautiful figure, now dressed in a beautiful gown, soft and feminine, just like what I like.
Almost perfect, just one more touch. The most important one.
“Do you remember Lily, I told you I won’t make you sad, I’ll always make you smile?” I asked as I reached for my bag, taking out a plastic ziplock with my precious belongings in it. A syringe and an ampule of plant extract that I made earlier at the shop. The Hemlock Water Dropwort extract. The smiling poison.
“You know, I’m a man of my word. I always keep my promises,” I said as I took out the syringe, and filled it with the poison. “And do you know no one ever resisted me before? I always get what I want, no matter what it takes.” I smiled softly at her, caressing her beautiful face.
“Well, it’s such a pity. I prefer to have you alive, but you didn’t give me a chance,” I said, looking at the syringe that was now filled with the poison. I chuckled lightly. “So I have to do this. I have to have you, Lily. My desire became an obsession, and I have to make you my possession,” I whispered to her, smirking. “Now relax, and I will put a smile on your face. Forever.”
And with that, I injected the syringe into her arm and watched a smile slowly form on her face.
The smile now perfectly formed, making her the most beautiful girl I had ever seen in my life. I lay on the bed next to her and couldn’t stop smiling and staring at her, my fingers lingering on her smiling face.
Lily, Lily. Now you are mine. You are mine.
Daisy is an ARMY who started to write because of her love for BTS. For now, she only writes BTS fanfics, but as time flies, she falls in love with the literacy world and might consider writing another story other than fanfic. Twenty-four years old, full of imagination, and such a sucker for good short stories. Say hi and find more about her works on her Wattpad page.