Stories: Night Garden

Night Garden

By Barbara Holm
Alison lay in bed listening to the clock tick loudly. Next to her, Greg wasn’t snoring, just laying silently. Sometimes she wondered if he was really awake and listening when this was happening. She quietly leaned over, careful not to disrupt the covers or shift her weight too much. Her long wavy blonde hair fell across her shoulders like a curtain. She placed her ear next to his head and held her breath, listening to his sleeping dreams. At first she didn’t hear anything, but she quieted her own anxious thoughts, closed her eyes and listened harder. She heard Greg dreaming of going to the gym, where only trees were allowed to work out, and he was trying to jog on the treadmill but one of the trees kept making small talk while asking him to name state capitols.Alison smiled at her sleeping friend with benefits/ boyfriend/ hook up partner/ human being she intercoursed with. No one really knew, or ever knows, what’s going on. People her age didn’t really date anymore in the city. They didn’t ask each other out or tell anyone they had romantic feelings for one another, or express vulnerability or intimacy. They just imbibed beer off their tits and intercoursed their friends of the opposite gender. If they did it like a few times in a row maybe they could consider that a relationship. And if they did it and one of them spent the night a few nights in row maybe the darkness in their brains would stop screaming long enough for the sea cows to climb out through their ears and butter their necks like burnt hairy toast. Alison didn’t care.

Alison silently climbed out of bed and wandered down stairs. The clean quiet kitchen reminded her of being a child and sneaking downstairs to hear her parents yell at each other. It was a peaceful, relaxing hole in the universe she could dive into and swim through the nostalgia. The light of the night slipped in from an undisclosed inexplicable source. Blue silver beams whispered around like soft silky lingerie over the white and beige tile and cabinets. Anytime she was awake somewhere that wasn’t lit by sunlight or fluorescent yellow bulbs, she felt like she was up early at summer camp, wading alone through the grayness to the dock by the lake. She poured herself a glass of water and drank it and then had a second glass.

Taking her glass of water with her, Alison walked outside into the front lawn. She looked up and down the silent streets and was disturbed by the stillness. She crouched in the front area, set the cup down, and dug a small hole in the earth with her hands. She sighed as the cool moist dirt drifted through her fingers, emptying away at a particular part of the world, gouging into something, extricating the dark filth of it’s porous soul, and piling the remnants somewhere else, equally in the way.

When she had a small hole neatly created in the front lawn, Alison squat above it and lowered her pajama pants to her ankles. Balancing herself over the hole, she flexed her thighs, keigels, and bum hole muscles. Shutting her eyes tightly, she grunted and groaned, sucking in air as she strained and pushed. She rocked back and forth, almost losing her place in the world, the existence, the universe. A bat flew into the tree above her making a high pitched screeching noise and knocking a bouquet of leaves belligerently to the ground.

After a few minutes of pressure, Alison let a small bloody mess out of her. Looking up at her without any eyes, it made a screaming noise like a cat being beaten as it fell from her body into the hole. Oozing with blood and shit and goo, it wriggled and bulged against the earth. Kneeling beside the hole, Alison smiled sadly and began to use her hands to bury the mass of sticky globs into the hole. One entombed she patted the dirt clumped on top neatly and reached for her water glass. She took a sip of tepid water and dumped the remnants on the fresh grave, letting the delicious mixture of hydrogen and oxygen satiate the soil.

She lay down and whisper-sang to the ground a song about death and going down in a boat under a waterfall into oblivion and never waking up again. Kissing the dirty gently she leaned back on her heels, sitting in the dew soaked grass. As the sunlight crept it’s cold bright fingers over her small city, a green leafy sprout sprung from the ground and a pink flower budded and bloomed into being. Alison plucked the flower, held it in her fingers, and turned her back on the ascending morning.

When Greg came downstairs, Alison had already made a pot of coffee. Still in her pajamas, with her hair messed up and flowing down her shoulders, she was sitting at the table reading her newspaper. On the counter sat a crystal vase with one single newly plucked pink flower.

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