Secret gardens aren’t always beautiful

Step 1: Temptation

Her fingertips grazed the stone wall of the garden as she slowly pushed the iron gate open and stepped inside. The air around her was still except for the occasional sound of twigs snapping underneath her feet. Curiosity filled her as she wandered deeper and deeper into the unknown. The snakes slithering softly beside her remained hidden

Step 2: Fascination

Her attention was captivated by the lichen covered stone gargoyle in front of her. Its grotesque, sadistic smile frightened yet somehow managed to charm her at the same time. At her feet she saw a clump of wild berries growing. She bent down and picked up a handful of them oblivious to the presence of the cold skin of a snake curling itself around her ankle. Who knew the difference between blueberries and belladonna?

Step 3: Captivation

Her mouth stained with the juices of the black fruit she moved forward towards the vines covering the wall. Roses. Her mothers voice came rushing back to her . Be like a rose. Charming and beautiful but able to draw blood when needed to. She twirled a tendril with a reminiscent finger and a soft smile on her lips. That was the one advice she never seemed to have trouble following. Her nostalgic reflection however didn’t allow her to feel another vine slowly making its way around her neck in a seducing manner.

Step 4: The Trap

At last a vast field of red. Red like an angry sunset. Red as fire. Red. The only colour visible everywhere. Her mind was reeling, her lungs were on fire. Fire. Red as fire. Her knees buckled as she fell in the midst of the Poppy field. The world seemed to spin around and and realised she was falling, and falling, and falling as the world grew smaller, and smaller and the Red grew larger and larger. Red like gore. Red like death. Red as love and red as hate. Red memories. The tendril around her neck tightned, restricting her airways. She felt a sharp pain on her ankle and cold skin curling up her leg. Her lungs were burning more than ever. Maybe if she gave up it would all be fine. Maybe if she just closed her eyes. Maybe if she finally fell asleep. Maybe if she just...

***

Neha

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