Honeysuckle Tea


The man fell from the sky, crashed into the thicket, and attempted to shoot her before fainting. Eve Anderson dragged his bloody body miles through the forest– an instinct, not a choice. 

Body-thick vines were cut and woven to create a dome of concealing green. Eve removed the man’s gun and knives from his belt and noticed his little bracelet of braided blue swamp grass. She tied down his massive arms to the bedsides, careful not to harm the band, and cleaned the wounds on his torso with coconut butter, wrapping it in large, soft leaves. Eve made him her honeysuckle tea for when he awoke; its medicinal aroma was so powerfully soothing it could revive the dead. He couldn’t drink it without her untying him.

   Eve’s midnight eyes examined the man’s weapons and bracelet. The knives were unused– clean and sharp. She inspected the tattoos burned onto the sides of the man’s head, the kind of wound that didn’t allow hair to grow back or for anything but artificial skin to create scars. The battered gun revealed chambers with steel bullets shoved into them with haste, riddled with dents and scratches. He must have been desperate to reuse so many bullets. There was little doubt that he’d run and was still running.

Eve’s mother taught her it was acceptable to hide from problems, but never to run. No proud Anderson ran from trouble, except for her father, who tucked her in and whispered goodbye to her in a uniform similar to the man.

Eve poured some of the tea for herself, stepping out of her dome of vines to collect more water from the nearby spring. When Eve returned, she was startled by the man leaving something on the bed, his knives and gun already packed, as her eyes drifted to the torn rope hanging off the bedsides. He hobbled towards her, looked through her soul, nodded, and disappeared into the mammoth trees. 

Eve stepped inside, pondering his nod, and smiled at his empty wooden teacup. Alongside the bracelet, he left a small photo of himself at a campsite at dusk. Flask in hand, the image displayed his arm draped around a smiling, red-faced soldier in need of a shave.

When she was small, that same scruffy soldier left Eve his secret recipe for honeysuckle tea beside her bed the night he tucked her in and whispered goodbye: one stick of cinnamon, two leaves of mint, and one stem of honeysuckle soaked in the pot for five minutes or more. He always said its aroma could revive the dead.