Respite in the Garden, 1930

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The years are heavy.

There are moments in my long life where I am forced to remember how alone I am.

There is a small island on Blood Lake that I have never shown to anyone. If my brother or sister knew it, well, they took that information with them to their graves.

The occasional bird roosts there, but the trees are small, and the grass offers little in the way of sanctuary from the winds, which are known to tear out of the Hollow and whip the lake into a frenzy.

I have not built a pier. There is no need. I am not afraid of getting wet, and I think of this as I jump out of the canoe and drag it up the small beach.

As I tie it down, the wind shifts subtly and brings to me the scent of flowers. It is a smell I’ve not encountered on the island before. Loosening the Colts in their holsters, I climb up the small bank and find myself in a garden.

I can hear insects calling to one another and birds singing, and there, directly across from me, is a woman.

She is bent over, gathering flowers that are not native to this place. She glances at me and smiles.

“Duncan Blood,” she says, returning to her task, “you’re a hard man to get a hold of.”

I let my hands rest on the butts of the Colts, and a sweet laugh escapes her.

“You’ve come to rely on those too much,” she states without looking up. “Give them rest. They would do little to me.”

“Who are you?”

She straightens up and smiles. “No one you know, but one who knows you.”

“Why are you here?”

“To offer you some peace, Duncan. Sit.” She motioned to my left, and a tall, ornate chair took shape beside me.

Cautiously, I sat.

A chair formed beside her, and she sat down as well. “You’re tired.”

I nodded.

“You have had some trouble sleeping of late?”

I hesitated before I nodded again.

“Why?” she asked.

“I’m alone.”

“You are,” she sighed. “I can do nothing for that. I can offer you some peace for an hour or two. Will you take it?”

“The price?”

“It is free,” she answered.

“Aye,” I sighed. “I’ll take it.”

Listening to the singing of the birds, I closed my eyes and slept.

The hour was short, but it was sweeter than any I could remember.

#horror #fear #paranormal

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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