Tuesday, August 16, 2016

A Garden of Darkness - WEP GARDENS Challenge

Darkness hides in the bright colours. . .tread lightly. This is my Garden.

Taken at Monet's Garden in Giverny, Fr., by DG Hudson

All around me, the scents of wisteria, and honeysuckle weave into my dreams. The smells of summer nights settle heavily in my mind.  It's my favourite time, the resting time of flowers when the stamens release their pollen, as the air cools. My flowers fill the air with the smells of perfume, of rare tea and fragrant herbal sachets.



Rose Portrait, by DG Hudson, Rainforest Writing


It's the dark hues, the sultry warmth, and earthy smells that lure me back again and again. The Temptress grows here, a deep, blood-red old-fashioned rose that smelled of the fields of flowers in France. Just watch for the sharp, sickle-shaped thorns. Next to it is Chicago Peace, with its petals painted warm orange with ivory and pink shading. Clematis, the charmer vine, climbs the old arbour in the corner, showy with its large purple blooms.



Wikipedia Creative Commons - by Michael Palmer*

Come into my little sheltered garden and if you look closely, you will see roses with thick large thorns, and thorny brambles forming a natural barrier on the edges of my hideaway. Many para-gardeners, or hedge witches don't know about thorn horticulture, or understand the properties of the thorn itself. I do. I know the uses of the Black tulips, their petals closed in the evening air, and the blue flower of periwinkle nestled against the dark green leaves, but the best, the Grand Black Rose, I do not yet know. It was a gift and I have yet to study it.

Clomp, clomp, clomp! A small stop. Then, the sound started up again. The noise came from heavy footsteps on the flat stones of the garden path, a meandering line paving the way to my secluded spot. Someone was coming, as if on a matter of importance. . .who would dare interrupt my retreat?

Then, I saw the creature coming towards me,  He looked like the hunchback who terrorized Paris, a fictitious man. Yet, here he was. And here I was, alone.


"Begging your pardon, m'lady," he said, "but I have been told to bring you out of this doomed garden."

"Doomed? Why do you say that?"

"I'm forbidden to speak for the master, but I bring a message: Himself would like to see you. . ."

"Oh, would he? And where would Himself be that I should come to him?"

"He is waiting below in a carriage." A Carriage? What is Himself thinking?

"I will do this thing you request, but I must grab a shawl."


"This one?" The hunched over creature held up my red shawl, the colour of fresh blood.

Damn him. How did he do that? "That one will do."

She twirled the shawl over her shoulders as she rose from the bench. Himself had better have a good reason for this. I'm vulnerable outside of this place of sanctity.

They walked down the stairs toward a dark black chaufferred carriage. A curtain pulled aside. . .

"Herself is lovely this night. I have a errand for you, my dark one."

"What if I don't agree?"

"Oh, but you will. You are under my protection, and under my spell. Herself has no choice."

"Perhaps."

"Agree and you will be released from the dark garden. You will have the light."

In answer, she turned, slipping the knife made from a giant thorn that absorbs moonlight into her hand and stabbing Himself right in his eye, then using it to slit his throat.

"I happen to like the dark garden. Himself does not know me well. . ."

The little hunchback had disappeared in smoke as Himself melted into a puddle. They had not known about the giant thorn's magic.  She quickly stepped down from the carriage as it too disappeared and made her way back down the stone path to her refuge, humming to herself.

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Please leave a comment to let me know you were here and tell me how you feel about gardens or gardening. Do you like to grow flowers or veggies or both? Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read a short fantasy. . .!

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WEP - A GARDENS short fiction post



The Gardens prompt is all about creativity. What picture comes to mind when you hear the word 'garden'? It may depend on whether you like to garden or just like to observe the artistry and style of other gardens. Denise and Yolanda, or literary hosts for WEP would like you to tell how the prompt inspires you. . .enthrall us, please.

FLASH FICTION, POETRY, NON-FICTION, PLAYSCRIPTS, ARTWORK OR PHOTOGRAPHY.  It's your choice of medium, and genre, but the word count should be about 1000 maximum. Check out more details at the WEP site, and there you will find the entrants participating in this challenge! Be sure to enjoy the variety of garden delights by visiting the links and commenting. 

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Dark Purple Clematis Image
by Michael Palmer:
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

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81 comments:

  1. Loud applause. Never, ever underestimate a hedge-witch.
    I really loved this and would love to visit her sanctuary too (after being given permission).

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    1. Thanks, EC, glad you liked the fantasy. I think this story morphed about 3 times and I had to search for visuals! I'm sure you would get permission. . .

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  2. Himself did definitely underestimate Her! Loved it, and a garden any time of the day or night is lovely to behold. A beautiful sanctuary always! I love gardening but the temperatures have been too high and I'm forbidden to venture out so it's very overgrown. Weeds galore, oh dear. I'm looking forward to the cooler temps of fall when I can tend to them better. Your inspiration for the story was outstanding! If only I could take such lovely photos, I'd say it was practice, but I think the true artist with a camera just knows! Beautiful!
    Thanks, D. G. your entry for the WEP Gardens Flash Fiction Challenge was superb!

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    1. Herself and myself are pleased. I wanted to show the Black Rose of Turkey but couldn't find a free use image to show. I tried to decide what to write and flipped from one thing to another. I finished this at 2 am as I was on a roll. . .and I don't like the heat of day either, cooler suits me just fine.

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  3. Loved your fantasy, D.G.! What a superb story set in the doomed garden. Perfect setting. Your descriptions of the garden (and its inhabitants) are wonderful. It has a nice taste of 'inner' Paris, the Paris most don't see...luckily, in this case.

    Thanks for joining us this month! Always lovely to have you along.

    Denise :-)

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    1. This looks to be an interesting reading challenge as well, Denise - such wonderful variety in the posts, poems and stories I've read so far. I would like a dark garden, as well as a light one, more for the scents and colours than the vicious thorns.

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  4. Began so innocent and took a dark twist. But good for herself!

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    1. It doesn't pay to incur a woman's wrath. Thanks for reading my entry, Diane!

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  5. She knew her thorns. That garden was paradise for her.

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    1. A good reason for gardening, you get to know the plants like the early hunter-gatherers. . .and Herself was tired of being told what to do.

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  6. I am not a gardener, but love to wander through them and look. And smell the awesome fragrances. Loved this piece of dark beauty. I might kill to stay here too, lol.

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    1. A place of calmness, even if there were thorns beneath the beauty. . .sometimes we have to resort to harsh solution, eh?

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  7. Her private garden sounds wonderful, and the twist at the end was a surprise.
    I used to love gardening, I still enjoy it, but don't do as much as I used to.

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    1. I don't do as much as I used to either, but that's due to time and flexibility crunches. . .

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  8. Hi DG - that was such an interesting read - don't take the woman away from her protective zone. I do love the way you used the thorn as a weapon - they are ... but not often used as such ... and the black rose - I'd love to have one of those in my garden ... when I next get a garden.

    I shall be thinking of Herself and Himself ... he wasn't so all powerful ... and spending time in one's garden, so the plants are like children: well known for their quirks as they go through their growing life each season ...

    Cheers - mine will appear late Friday my time! - all the best - Hilary

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    1. Very good analogy, Hilary, plants are like children - they need TLC and the right environment. Looking forward to reading your entry on Friday or Sat our time.

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  9. Himself didn't see that one coming. Don't mess with a witch and her garden, doomed or not.

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    1. Power corrupts and makes the person a little arrogant most times, but only Himself and his lackey considered the garden doomed, not the lady Herself.

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  10. I loved this "thorny" story. From personal experience I know some people can be "witchy" as in "don't mess with my garden." Beautifully written.

    On the reality side...I have tried a few gardens in the past but circumstances were never with me. I would love a space to grow vegetables. I also love to pull weeds and get my hands in the soil. Gardening can be healing...better than house work for sure.

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    1. Yes, and healing is something important for the caregiver as well as the person being cared for. I have been pricked by many a thorn, but the roses are worth it, I think. . .

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  11. I like the way you mixed your dialogue with the magic of the garden and the hunchback, the phantom, that she saw.
    Good story.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Patricia

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    1. I was unable to comment on your post, it wiped my comment. . .but I did enjoy reading it. Some of these systems just don't like each other, sadly.

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  12. It's the scent of a garden that is almost as intoxicating as seeing its beauty. You caught that in this post.

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    1. I totally agree with that statement about scents of a garden - it's what I enjoy most.

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  13. Kudos for her. Himself should've remembered that every rose has thorns.

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    1. You got it, Olga, men tend to forget all women are not shy violets nor wilting lilies. . .

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  14. I love gardens, but have allergies. I can at least grow herbs in my home.
    I enjoyed your story. I liked the dark garden and the hedge witch. While the ending was satisfying, I wonder how the man caught her in the first place? What is the source of the magic?

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    1. Herbs can add such great scent as well. I too have allergies, I just take a pill when I have garden work. . .I've grown basil inside (due to our dampness here) but most have been container gardens to keep them away from the critters that also like herbs.

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  15. HI, D. G.

    Enjoyed your story... so darkly magical. Terrific tie in with the garden, which is truly the MC here. LOL.

    Your Photos are amazing!!!!!

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    1. One of those photos isn't mine, but thanks Michael. You, I know, can spin some eloquent words yourself. I've loved digging in the dirt (as opposed to dishing the dirt) since I first planted sweetpeas as an 8 yr old.

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    2. It shows in your story.... I enjoy potted gardening.... So thankful that I finally have a terrace at my winter getaway in Florida.

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  16. A lovely whimsical and magical tale. You have such a gift with words, I could almost see, feel and smell it all. Thank you, DG.

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    1. Thanks Robyn, sorry I don't have any chocolate in there. . .I like that WEP encourages short writing, something I have found I enjoy.

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  17. I love the way you start the story and the ending. Great writing as always.

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    1. Merci! The senses dominate in a garden, especially if it's a scented garden to make the bees and birds happy!

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  18. A beautiful piece that draws the reader in. Your use of the senses to create atmosphere is exquisite - and the twist ending so unexpected. Thank you for sharing a great story.

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    1. My pleasure, Nicola. Herself decided she had enough of Himself!

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  19. That was quite a surprising twist you had at the end. Beauty and death and magic all tied together. Well done.

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    1. A girl's got to stand up for herself, and what better weapon than a moonglow infused thornknife? Thanks for reading!

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    2. Hi DG - love that idea of a moonglow infused thorn-knife = a great weapon! Wonderful to read ... cheers Hilary

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    3. That's where the magic comes from. . .and it's very suitable for a garden witch to use her own creations. . . and that would be another chapter in the story of Herself.

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    1. Glad you liked the words and the intent.

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  21. As Robyn says: you have a wonderful way with words. Trifle not with a Dark Lady!

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    1. There must be a reason they are called dark - those who seek the night dislike the light. (most of them)

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  22. What a superb story - I loved the fairy tale quality, the references to flowers and thorny hedges, the humour and the end. Great read.

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    1. I'm fond of the fairy folk and the elven folk, so that may have influenced my writing.

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  23. We all have as many thorns, not more, as blooms...

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    1. A very astute observation, OE! I just wish I had one of those moonlight infused thornknives - a wicked weapon. . .just for display, you know.

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  24. Don't mess with Herself who knows the uses and the magic of thorns! Great story, DG! Relished it. Loved the evocative garden, the setting like a character itself.

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    1. Glad you liked it, even though it might seem strange because of the names. They seemed to suit the tale.

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  25. Ooh, this is awesome. I didn't expect that twist and I loved it! Sorry, Himself. That's what you get for underestimating a tough woman. Great work!

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    1. My thoughts exactly, he thought he had her under his spell. . .

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  26. These garden photos are all so beautiful but that pink rose is just delicious. As for the story.... mmmmmmm....

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    1. I had to leave that pink rose bush behind in another house along with California lilac and wisteria. . .I'm not sure what mmmmmm means. . .is that good or not so good?

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  27. I so enjoyed your story, just so resonant with mystery and wonder

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    1. Thanks. I started out by thinking of what kind of garden I'd write about - the kind that I like, or a dark garden with dark secrets.

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  28. A charming tale of beautiful flowers, magic and a hunchback thrown in...with an unexpected ending.
    Lovely photos too!

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    1. Himself needed a butler of sorts and the hunchback was hired. As for the ending, I think Herself had heard enough. . .thanks.

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  29. LOve the garden and the story. Glad to see you are blogging again, hope things are going well. I loved the pictures so much I have to go back and click to enlarge them, thorns and all.

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    1. I like the WEP challenges; they force me to practice short writing, and they give me an opportunity to use some of my photos. . .the purple clematis photo I borrowed from Wikipedia Commons.

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  30. I loved the story. So charming and yet so dark. The hunchback didn't know what Himself was getting into. I feel like I'd have that same reaction if someone tried to drag me out of my office. No, I don't want sunlight! I LIKE it in here...!

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    1. The hunchback was hired to be the messenger (you know what happens to those) and not a hired bodyguard - but he was under Himself's spell, which prove fatal for him and Himself!

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  31. Hi again, D.G. In response to your comment on my post last week: you say you are caregiver to your husband, so we can indeed relate. Caregiving isn't easy. Takes patience, for one thing, that I've struggled with. But I'm doing better! You also say you couldn't access the page about my daughter. I don't why. But maybe you can cut and paste this URL and get there. http://annbestlifestories.com/jens-page/

    In any case, I hope you have a wonderful week "over there" in your beautiful rainforest:)

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    1. Thanks for the link, Ann, I will go back and read that info about your daughter. This week, we have been a little cooler in Vancouver (for a day or two) The Rainforest suits me better than the hot South USA where I grew up. And it rains in certain seasons which keeps it green. And me cool. . .

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  32. Congratulations on your triumph with this wonderful story.

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    1. Say what? Thanks EC for alerting me to my runner-up status on the WEP challenge. I'll accept with gratitude.

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  33. I felt as though I was in that garden. Beautiful writing and an excellent twist.

    And congratulations on your runner-up status!!!! :D We'll deserved.

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    1. Thanks for the kind words, Chrys! You never can tell about witches. . .

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  34. I loved your descriptions of the garden. It caught my attention even more than the pictures, which were lovely. Nice flash piece!

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    1. You made my day, Shannon! I love gardens so that likely influenced my descriptions. . .

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  35. That, dear D.G., was brilliant. I loved it from start to finish. Masterful work with the characters - my mind went wild.

    Thank you for sharing this "garden" piece.

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    1. My pleasure, Jenny. Hope you'll consider joining the WEP challenge this month if you have time, and like the prompts. Thanks for visiting, please come back around the 19th for another attempt from me.

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  36. I really enjoyed this! The pictures you selected to go with it are beautiful!

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    1. Thanks, Sherry. You are the garden expert for real gardens, I know.

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  37. One person's darkness is another one's light, and I'm glad herself will be able to continue to enjoy the garden. You did a fantastic job, using a delightful mixture of beauty, darkness, and a touch of humor. (Maybe it was just me, but using "himself" and "herself" put a smile on my face.)

    I used to love gardening, but I also used to be young. I can't tolerate the heat nearly as well as I could years ago. So mostly, we cultivate weeds. :)

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    1. When gardening becomes a pain, it's time to switch to container gardening. . .so we can still dig in the dirt. Those names just seemed appropriate when I wrote the WEP entry.

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  38. May we display your header on our new site directory? As it is now, the site title (linked back to your home page) is listed, and we think displaying the header will attract more attention. In any event, we hope you will come by and see what is going on at SiteHoundSniffs.com.

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    1. I've visited your site to see the new site directory, so sure you may show my header. I didn't see my listing there, however, so can you elaborate on where it is?

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    2. Thank you so very much for giving permission. Aside from the All category and the slideshow on the Home page, you can see your header under Literary and Canada.

      I will see about getting a better search bar for the header. For when I went to search for DG Hudson, no results were found, but when I searched for D.G. Hudon, there you were under Canada and Literary. I would really like it if it was possible to search from the other end--such as, searching for Literary and Canada for those looking for Canadian authors, but I do not if such a sophisticated search bar is available for sites like ours without it costing an arm and a leg, which we certainly do not have to give at this time.

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