She noticed me first underneath her nails. I began with a shadowy green; a tint that looked like the tips of her fingers had been deprived of oxygen, and a touch that was roughened in texture. It was there that she noticed my budding stems, germinating and feeding off of the accumulated grime.
At first she thought nothing of me, she thought perhaps it was simply adolescent discoloration, but my shadow soon cast colour as the buds continued to grow. She feared contamination and scrubbed away at the soil underneath her nails in which I was beginning to thrive. But she was never quite clean enough and she was far too fertile, I persisted every time.
She eventually realised it would be futile to stop me, and by now I had wrapped timid taproots around her fingers. They spread out like capillaries, a visible mapping out of my invasion. In addition, they had begun to fuse her fingers together creating a web like effect, making day-to-day life an impossibility to carry out.
She reacted as her kind would, with horror at my invasion. At times she tried to reject me, pulling me from her skin with slow shock, leaving my pattern in blood, intricately up and down her arms.
Slowly, I managed to penetrate her surface. It was firmer than soil is, it was of an entirely different kind, and my army of taproots had to fight to get through to what lay underneath. I pierced her surface and cashed in on her arteries, bolstered by the warm energy supply, I grew. The sudden source of minerals migrating from human to plant allowed me to further conquer her, my taproots alternating longitude and latitude, perforating and spreading.
She grew lethargic as a result of my exhausting her platelets, and she could only manage to lie indoors, anaemic and immobile. But a key ingredient of my growth was sunlight. By now my taproots had conquered her upper half, and were starting to circle her neck, caress her jaw line. I had to halt the upward growth and move downward, retracing my steps and creating new ones to reach her legs, wrap around her feet. From there I could manage to move her, using my network of roots as transportation, crawling and dragging her into the sunlight.
As I hit the sunlight I became reenergised, and my taproots began to dance back up her body, continuing to feed off of her fluids. I circulated her blood amongst my roots and back into her, using her heart as nothing more than a machine to propel it. I fused with her circulatory system, equal parts giving and taking; I went from an outside operation to an internal invasion.
With our inner workings attached and in action, I began to blossom. I wrapped roots around her rib cage and placed flowers underneath her skin. At first they bundled underneath, mottling her skin and unable to break through. But as she scratched at them they sprouted, her human to plant ratio diminishing further, by now she was a work of art.
The task now was to get her upright. I had dragged her on a bed of roots to the perfect location to plant her, but she lay heavy and pale and horizontal. The secret lay in larger numbers, and I multiplied my army, intertwining them and strengthening her legs. When enough strength had been accumulated, I commanded them to erect her, and slowly she became elevated with her arms outstretched, stiff and wrapped in roots.
With arms outstretched and hands deformed, she began to take on a familiar silhouette. The roots around her fingers twisted them in randomised directions and they grew dry and ridged. The intertwined roots thickened around her legs and pooled at her ankles, hardening and permeating the ground in which she now stood.
The roots began to wrap around her hair, discovering an entirely different source of nutrients, enabling the sprouting of leaves coloured a rich green. The leaves multiplied with great speed, growing upwards and outwards, a majestic combination of plant and human. She was beautiful and otherworldly, unlike her feeble and vulnerable human form, and I continued to make her grow and develop, becoming less human and more plant.
She was the first, an experiment with a positive result, not all have turned out as she did. Since her there have been many, but they did not often succumb to my power in the same humble way that she did. They do not acknowledge their insignificance and continue to think of themselves as superior to my kind.
Where she stands now, she is much larger in stature, a permanent fixture on a previously barren landscape. She stands wooden and content, lasting out the earth with her rare beauty. We removed her ability to speak and so she has become a listener, hearing everything as the earth begins to groan and as you begin to change. This pattern remains the same in all my successes, I develop them to the point that they are no longer human, infiltrating the several systems that make up the human body, soaking up their blood and numbing their minds. What remains are slight indications of who they use to be, and they prominently stand out, hence why no two transformations look the same.
What is important about leaving parts of them behind is the fact that it gives them the ability to feel all that is changing. They can taste the pain of contaminated soil and feel the burning of breathing when they respire with polluted air. They scream for protection but cannot be heard. Or is it simply that no one is listening.
I am a product of luck and an example of strength. Throughout the ages I have hidden, disguised myself, I have forever been all around you. It is now that the world is a wasteland and a force I can finally contend with, that I have come out to demonstrate my importance. I am the green hidden beneath the grey seeking return.