Shelline had been warned to stay away from the door. Her blind grandmother had related tales of horror that supposedly occurred behind the leafy stone walls. “It’s a devil’s garden,” Nana had whispered hoarsely late at night when Shelline couldn’t sleep. “And a labyrinth to darkness from which there is no escape except by sacrificing that which you hold most dear. How do you think I lost my eyesight?”
But it had been a year of terrible adversity with the death of Grandmama in January and Shelline’s parents in the summer. The creditors would soon come to take this house and gardens, and Shelline would be shipped off to nasty Aunt Philippa. Shelline began to cry again as she wandered back to the stone wall and the vine-covered doorway. What could be worse than this life, she decided.
The air beyond the door was damp and cool, smelling faintly of mint. This isn’t so bad, Shelline thought… maybe I could stay here and be happy. A brook with bubbling fresh clear water caught her attention and fruit trees abounded. Beyond them, she discerned a vegetable garden and skipped off to investigate further. A scampering golden puppy joined her, licking her hand with its warm tongue.
“I shall name you Angel!” Shelline told the puppy as it wagged its sweet little tail.
Shelline and Angel strolled through rows of tomatoes and cucumbers and strawberries galore. Down the line was a scarecrow, but he wasn’t the least bit scary and bluebirds twittered around him. Angel woofed at the birds and Shelline giggled. Further back was a hut that seemed to be filled with gardening supplies.
As Shelline and Angel walked around the wooden structure, a familiar figure greeted them. “What took you so long?” hissed Aunt Philippa. “There’s much work to do.”
Written for Crimson’s Creative Challenge 101 (double the word count, oh well… I’ll follow the rules next time)
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