"In Lieu of Flowers": Eighteen year-old Mary Conway woke from a coma three years ago, after a bout with cancer. Unfortunately, she woke without her memories, and had to readjust to life with her parents, boyfriend David, and best friend Catherine. Since then, she has
- Who's to say I haven't lost my innocence already?
Synopsis for "In Lieu of Flowers"
Eighteen year-old Mary Conway woke from a coma three years ago, after a bout with cancer. Unfortunately, she woke without her memories, and had to readjust to life with her parents, boyfriend David, and best friend Catherine. Since then, she has developed a preoccupation with plants, and decided to go into Stanford's premedical program. At her prep-school, she is a fencing champ, but one day, after a tournament, her mind flashes to thoughts of a strange blonde man, and it throws her.
Her boyfriend David doesn't understand what she's going through, but he is preoccupied in any case with the impending divorce of his parents. Given that both are out at marriage counselling, Mary takes the opportunity to announce that she is ready to have sex, finally. Gladly, David takes advantage.
Later that night, Mary, David, and Catherine sneak up behind the Hollywood sign to smoke up and tell each other urban legends. While David and Catherine's are relatively tame, Mary tells a harrowing tale of a scientist who burned to death in the Louisiana swamps, and became a plant elemental - and it creeps them out. The moment allows David the opportunity to extricate himself, so he can deal with his parents' worsening situation. Catherine notes that their friendship is in jeopardy, with graduation on the way. Mary assures her that she will be back, because she's grown roots there.
Later, Mary visits Catherine at work and is surprised to learn that she agreed to go to prom with their gay friend Parker. She points out that David hasn't called her in a while, and as if in answer, he drives up to the diner. He explains that his parents have finally decided to divorce, and the weight of that fact is beginning to catch up with him, emotionally. Catherine encourages him to accept the change, and he responds incredulously that he must therefore just accept that everyone leaves the ones they love eventually. Mary insists that they will never leave each other.
While getting dressed for prom night, Mary admits that she and David finally had sex, to Catherine's great surprise. When Mary arrives at prom, though, David and Catherine disappear, leaving Mary and Parker alone. Parker's assertion that the pair cannot be trusted troubles Mary, and she decides to go out and get some fresh air. Outside, though, she spots both David and Catherine making out with each other on the bleachers.
Filling with rage at the betrayal, Mary's body begins to writhe and tear, transforming her. Her short brown hair becomes distinctive, long, white hair. And when Catherine fearfully asks if she is still Mary, Tefé responds that she is not. Still enraged, she causes Catherine's corsage to grow out, and into her blood stream, ripping her body apart from the inside with thorny vines. Horrified, David demands to know what Tefé is doing, and she responds that she is just doing what comes naturally. The grass from the football field grows long and wraps around him, holding him in place. She explains that the human body produces carbon dioxide that feeds plants, but also attracts the attention of insects, who devour the human flesh, and allow it to be processed into soil. A swarm of insects converges on him and begins to eat him alive.
Vomiting, Tefé begins to remember who she is, and realizes that the authorities will come for her unless she does something to deflect their attention. Using her connection to The Red, she recreates Mary Conway's body, and slits its throat, making it look like a murder-suicide. Though the crime scene makes no sense, the police go along with the jilted lover story. Seeing the news in the papers, though, Abby Holland and Swamp Thing know that Tefé was responsible, believing that she died as well.
Tefé tries to attend David's funeral, but the sting of the betrayal is too much for her, and she has to run out.
Meanwhile, the Conways believe that their daughter was murdered as well, and they are surprised to receive a visit from Abby, who once worked with Jenny Conway at Elysium Lawns. Abby explains that she is there because the Conways deserve answers. Unbeknownst to her, Tefé is watching from the bushes outside.
Appearing in "In Lieu of Flowers"
- Jenny Conway
- Donald Conway
- Catherine (Dies)
- David (Dies)
- This issue is reprinted in Swamp Thing by Brian K. Vaughan Vol. 1.
- Swamp Thing Recommended Reading