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Flora's Garden

3 years ago
Commended by mizal on 9/11/2018 9:47:25 PM
Flora had a garden that was the envy of all her neighbors. In the lovely little neighborhood everyone had an acre of land to call their own and the houses were fashioned in cottage style. It was a picturesque road and many retirement age seniors had come to call it home in their twilight years. After retiring from a long teaching career, Flora had taken after he name sake and taken up gardening to pass the time. Her front yard was a sight to behold with fuschia, lavendar, marigolds, and even lupines among many other beautiful flower species.

But the crown jewel was the back yard. Passing through a trellis, one would find themselves in something out a fairy tail. A small pond with koi fish and a little fountain was surrounded by flowers and flowering shrubs drank up the sunlight. Wisteria vines with their beautiful flowers climbed along the fence and over the trellis, but the true thing of beautiful was the large oak tree right in the center. The tree towered over the little cottage, its branches stretching wide and its leaves were healthy and vibrant in color. Flora wasn't sure just how old the tree was, but it was one of the biggest oak trees she had ever seen and in perfect health.

In the summer time, Flora's grandson Peter would come to stay with her during the day while his mother worked. Only eight years old, Peter loved to run around in the back yard. He took a special interest in the little cactus garden Flora had most recently cultivated. A particularly strangely shaped rock was the focal point of it. The rock was smooth in texture but almost conical in shape, as if it had once been attached to a much larger boulder but had been broken off.

One day Flora crept out onto the porch and caught Peter speaking with the rock, whispering and giggling as if it were an old friend. The little boy would pause for moments, as if listening to the rock, but Flora could ever hear anything at all. Sometimes her neighbor, an elderly man whose backyard shared her fence, would talk through the fence to her and she imagined a child's mind might mistake his gravelly voice for that of a rock.

But the next few days proved that Peter was more interested in the rock than anything else he had once enjoyed in his grandmother's back yard. No longer caring to run about or ride his bike, he instead sat and whispered to the rock in the cactus garden. Feeling concerned, Flora walked out to where Peter was sitting across from the large rock and asked him what he was doing.

"There's an old man that lives inside the rock. He likes to tell me stories," Peter replied, smiling up at his grandmother as if he really were having great fun.

"What sort of stories does the man in the rock tell you?" She asks, again wondering if her neighbor had been fooling around and telling stories to Peter through the fence. The rock was situated only a few feet away from it and he often walked up and down the fence to go to a shaded bench seat he had in his own yard on the opposite side.

"He says that he loves it here in your garden, because you take really good care of it. He says there are others like him that live in the flowers and they all really appreciate your care. He especially likes the cactus you planted around him, he was lonely before you put them there."

"Does he now?" Flora laughed, realizing that this was just a case of a child's imagination.

"Yes, he doesn't ever want to leave. That would make him angry." Peter shrugged, turning back to the rock.

Flora didn't think anything else of the rock but over the weekend her daugther called her and complained that Peter had been raving on and on about the old man in the rock in Grandma's garden. He was having trouble sleeping at night, having dreams about a very small old man coming in through his window to talk to him at night. Deciding enough was enough, Flora decided to have the rock removed from the garden.

That Monday when her daughter dropped Peter off before work, she helped Flora move the rock out of the garden and into the garage where they covered it with a tarp. Peter was non the wiser as he ate his breakfast and watched cartoons that morning, but when he went outside he was very upset to find the rock gone.

"Where did the rock go, Grandma?" He asked.

"I'm not sure, Peter. Maybe the old man in the rock decided to go to another garden and share his stories with other little boys?" She told him, but her grandson looked concerned at that.

Peter refused to go out in the garden that day, instead claiming he didn't feel well and staying on the couch instead to watch cartoons. Flora busied herself inside, not wanting to risk being outside in case Peter became truly sick.

But, that day nothing seemed to go right.

Flora dropped her favorite coffee mug, shattering it on the floor. It had been a gift from her husband, a souvenir from one his business trips out of the country. She had burnt the grilled cheese she made for Peter for his lunch. And when the boy finally was taken home by his mother, she felt utterly exhausted.

That night as Flora went to bed, she dreamed that she was in her own bedroom floating near the ceiling while watching herself sleep. As she slept, the bedroom door opened and a tiny man no taller than two feet in height walked in. His skin was the color and texture of stone and his hair seemed to be made of moss. His face was that of a very old man carved from stone, but he moved quite well despite the aged appearance.

He stood for awhile, watching her sleep then turned to look at her as she floated above the bed watching him. He smiled up at her, his teeth made of tiny pebbles.

She awoke that morning feeling quite restless. The dream from the previous night had left her quite unsettled. Her usual morning routine was to wake early and make coffee and read her book for awhile before Peter was dropped off. But, as the sun rose Flora was greeted with a horrible sight. Dropping her book, she rushed outside into her garden.

The sun's early morning rays shone upon what remained of her hard work. All of the flowers and shrubs were dead, brown and crisp as if they had been without care or water for months. Even the grass was brown and dying. The old oak tree once so big and strong was barren of leaves as if it were the dead of winter rather than midsummer. Not a single living thing save Flora herself was in the garden now.

As she stumbled through her dead garden in disbelief, Flora came across the rock. It was right back where it had been before, in the middle of the cactus garden. The longer she stared at the rock, the more she thought she saw a face in along its surface and in the sand of the now destroyed cactus garden were small child sized foot prints.

@Mizal can I be free now? :)

Flora's Garden

3 years ago
Yes, this is good.

Everyone else feel bad now.

Flora's Garden

3 years ago

This was really good and quite enjoyable. It also gives me the motivation I need to never do lawn work again, because fuck it, life's worthless and stone men will just wreck it anyway.

Although, the story did not go the way I thought it would. I was well sure Flora would be horrifically stoned to death, rather than just having her garden wrecked. Eh, I guess the stone man isn't half as terrifying as I would've thought.

Flora's Garden

3 years ago
Peter is buried under the rock, it's a frame job so he needs her alive and raving about evil garden gnomes.