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The House Outside The Garden

It's the time of year of decay; that's probably why it's a time for the supernatural, when the season is turning and summer is over, through return to earth. Only fruits are left, to rot and deliver resting in the ground germs to grow again next season: a promise of renewal from Nature, her contract.

The House Outside The Garden

The garden and the living-room of the house both needed a lot of work, before the couple could move in there. It was cheap. An old woman had lain dead in there. It was haunted by her and a man made of moss.

Apparently, she used to sit all day long on a chair in the garden, because she was lonely.

When she started out, it was just on the door-step. There she would provoke passers-by into comment or argument.

The woman next door passed her regularly with: “Alreet, Brenda?”

Although meant as a rhetorical question, it instigated replies such as: “Well, you've got to be, haven't you? I've nobody to look after me”.

Pretty soon it was obvious there was another reason why she sat outside so much. A strange smell was leaking out of her house.

It became worse as the autumn set in. It was a smell like rotting leaves.

Every day, well into the darkening, chilly evenings, she would sit on the door-step, waiting to entrap passers-by and waylay them of their attention.

The neighbours stopped speaking to her and even the cats stayed away.

One day a man said he had come to read her meter, which was odd as she had in “Smart” meters.

“It's not working,” she said, standing in the middle of the garden, where she had moved her chair.

It was dusk and the last stop before he knocked off, he told her. That was why he was so late.

“It's using an awful amount of electric,” she said.

“How can you tell that if it's not working?”

She looked at the ground and pointed. “By these. They tell me.”


“There! There! There!” she shouted at him, stabbing the air with her finger towards the ground. Then she pulled out from somewhere a glowing green rod with a light on the top of it that seemed to be changing colour. “Inside is out and outside is in.”

“What are you talking about?” he stuttered, taking a step back.

“Inside is out and outside is in....Outside is in...and inside is out,” she kept repeating, “and underneath is on top and on top is underneath. I have the table lamps outside now, where it's lighter. It saves on electricity.”

Green pustules were emerging all round him from the ground. What he at first thought were plants or toadstools were green lamps starting to luminesce from grey to green.

“Come on, stand here and you'll see what I mean.” She smiled, revealing a gaping hole. She too was starting to glow an eerie green. At first he thought it was a lawn on which she was standing but it was not of grass, but of moss, like a carpet. The lamps were lighting it up like a bad fairy dell. “This is my home. This is my carpet. It's so comfortable, like plush pile. Won't you lie down in it? I'm just going to draw the curtains.”

A cold blast of leaves from a nearby tree swept into his eyes as she said this, stinging his face.

“I'll see you when I come back from the garden,” she said pointing to her house, but all that could be seen of him was an arm with a clip-board poking out of the moss in the gloomy garden that was her house.


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