Five Card Story: Mother's Garden

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a Networked Narratives story by Masooch created Feb 06 2017, 09:18:20 pm. Create a new one!


flickr photo credits: (1) Mind on Fire Photography (2) Mind on Fire Photography (3) cogdogblog (4) cogdogblog (5) cogdogblog


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There was something interesting about my mother's garden, yet at the same time it was particularly ordinary. It had everything a garden should: blooming, fragrant flowers; decorative stones lined up just so; neatly trimmed trees lining the perimeter; a quaint little pond with water lilies sifting about. I had no issues with lounging on one of the wrought iron chairs on the adjoining patio, possibly to read or to just sit and listen to the birds when boredom made her Wi-Fi-less house unbearable.
But, as I said, there was something interesting about it—something I feel like I shouldn't exactly be sharing quite so liberally. As such, let's keep this between us, yes?
It's not often the people come to visit my mother—she's not the most agreeable sort of person—but when there is company, they always marvel at the garden, entranced by some force I suppose I just don't understand. It's just... well, it's not unlike any other garden I've ever seen around here, so why was it so popular, so like a flame for the moths that were these guests?
I asked my mother one day—asked her what was so special about the garden. I was only met with a mischievous smile and a sideways glance out the kitchen window in the garden's general direction. Unsatisfied, I pressed further on the afternoon of my next visit. Sparing you the tedious details, she suggested I see the garden at that night, after the sun's been set for a while.
Night came, and the nearly-full moon cast a wash of pale, blue-gray light on the garden. I sat in my usual chair, tapping a sporadic rhythm on my knee, unimpressed. After a good fifteen minutes I turned, sending a glare through the lit kitchen window where I could see my mother watching me, smirking. If she was playing some prank on me...
There was a rustle from behind me, and my head whipped around so quickly my neck cracked.
The moon seemed to be hovering exactly above the center of the garden, and as my gaze slid down from it to the line of trees below, I saw the bushes shift and part.
I felt my stomach sink to the patio floor as a foot, then a leg, then the rest of the body of a tall bearded man broke through the foliage with slow, deliberate steps. His entire being was this pale-white color—from the top of his still, combed hair to his dapper, rather antique clothing, to his fancy-looking shoes. He walked across the grass, delicately avoiding the smaller flowerbeds that dotted that part of the lawn. I watched him come further into the moonlight and step onto the cobblestone path and felt a jolt at the sound his foot made.
It sounded like it was made of stone, as did the next step, and the next.
That was it, wasn't it? This man... was a statue... was entirely made of stone.
I stared at him, gaping, halfway risen out of my seat. For a moment it seemed like he was staring at me, but he swiveled around on his feet—the grating sound not unlike that of a mortar and pestle—and just... stood there, in the center of the garden.
Half a minute passed before I realized that that was all that he was going to do: stand there and stare out at the garden. Feeling my heart pounding in my chest, I rose the rest of the way out of my chair, taking care to do so silently, and ever so carefully bolted back into the house, slamming and locking the door as I did so.
Safety assured, I rounded on my mother, who was leaning against the kitchen sink, lips pressed to stifle her amusement.
"What—on EARTH—is that?" I panted, gripping her arm and pointing a shaking hand at the stone man outside.
My mother smiled—imagine that, a grown woman being pleaded at by her terrified child, and she smiles.
"Oh, he comes around every now and then," she said flippantly, like she'd just discussed the day's weather.
I spluttered further questions, but she held up a hand and explained, "I had a garden party with friends a few months back—do you remember? We had it outside and stayed there way into the night. That's when he showed up. I don't know where he comes from, and I don't know where he goes when he leaves, but he does seem to be rather taken with my garden, doesn't he?"
She ended her tale with a trilling laugh, leaving the room and leaving me more than a little bewildered.
Let's just say I visit my mother quite often now, mostly to watch that spectacle again and again—that man coming, sitting, staring, going. I haven't brought up the courage to speak to him just yet—would he even be able to talk?—so I've taken to just staring out the window every chance I get, staying up to the wee hours of dawn. I was drawn, just like mother's other guests, and never regarded the garden as ordinary again.

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flickr photo credits: (1) Mind on Fire Photography (2) Mind on Fire Photography (3) cogdogblog (4) cogdogblog (5) cogdogblog

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