In the deep woods of the south, nestled among sprawling fields and whispering pines, lies a town where time seems to stand still. The days roll gently under the blue skies, and livestock thrives; crops never fail. The grass is a type of green you´d think existed only on the palettes of a painter. At the center of the idyllic town lives a peculiar little girl. With her cherubic face and laughter, tinkling like bells chimes in the wind. Lily was the heart of the townsfolks. She roamed the streets barefoot, often with a crown of wildflowers woven into her raven-dark curls; happiness seemed to follow wherever she went. Lily was a living blessing, a symbol of the pure joy and innocence the town held within its borders. The folks called their town “the happiest place on earth,” and for the most part, they believed it.

Sam stuck out like a sore thumb, trying to smudge himself into the picture, always leaving streaks that wouldn´t quite blend. His attempts to fit in were half-hearted at best, like wearing a clown nose to a funeral. At the town’s monthly potluck, he´d accept the meat pie with a grin that was more of a grimace, quickly passing the pie off to the dogs, skulking around for scraps, thinking no one noticed. But in a town where everyone´s smiles were dialed up to eleven, Sam´s four-and-a-half doesn´t seem right.  


The town’s daily waking, an ancient clock tower standing in the middle of the town’s gathering place, rang, a sound familiar and comforting cascading down the streets and through the windows like a gentle wave. Rubbing the sleep from his eyes, expecting to see the sun barging in uninvited to his cluttered room, he saw a single daisy., just sitting there on his nightstand. Without thinking, Sam grabbed the chunkiest book within arm´s reach and smacked it down on the daisy-like he was trying to wind a carnival game. His heart, hammering in his chest, was a wild mix of slippiness and pure panic. Clothes, he needed clothes. He wiped his shirt over his head as a second daisy appeared on his nightstand. This couldn´t be happening. He quickly crushed the second intruder, its petals squishing between his fingers. Bathroom-now. He bolted, gave the toilet a flush that felt more like an exorcism, and tried to calm his racing heart.

 Heading downstairs for breakfast, the last thing Sam expected was Daisy, round three, making itmself cozy on the kitchen table. The sight of it had him frozen, an icy dread slithering down his spine. Being “chosen” by the daisy in this town wasn´t like winning the lottery; it was more like drawing the short straw in the worst way possible. The town might be all sunshine and rainbows, but this? This was the shadow lurking behind the curtain, and Sam just got a front-row seat. 



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