The Secret in the Garden

Sorry, been short on inspiration and time but recently managed this:


The handball bounced high toward the tangled, draped fingers of ivy covering the dark green bushes near the fence-line of Bruce’s long backyard.

“I’ll get it!” cried eleven-year-old Matt, shoving his mate out of the way as he bolted after the ball.

Bruce, the same age, sprung after the ball and yelled, “No, you won’t, I will!” On the run, he practised a jumping side kick that sent Matt into the concrete near the house. Their very own makeshift “court”.

Matt leapt to his feet and ignored blooming red grazes on his leg as he tore after Bruce. “You cheater!”

Bruce stopped at the bushes to see the ball under them. He crouched low. His arm stretched through sticky cobwebs for the red ball but it lay a good yard away – just out of reach. With one hand-sweep, he pushed the cobwebs aside. With the other, he tried to reach in again. A growl stopped him mid-reach. His spine shuddered. He yanked his outstretched hand to his lap. Matt arrived him in time to hear the bushes rumble. The ball rolled out of sight.

“What’s that noise?” Matt asked in a small voice. He pushed his black-frame glasses over the bump of his once-broken nose.

“We need our ball. I’m going in,” said Bruce.

“Don’t. You don’t know what’s there,” countered Matt.

“You’re just saying that because I’m beating you,” said Bruce. “I want to win.” He reefed the vines aside. Then he got on all fours and crawled over the damp earth under the bushes by the back fence.

A distorted shadow slid in the space between Bruce and the ball. Bruce froze. His eyes remained planted on the shadow but he glimpsed a blur in his peripheral vision as Matt scooted for the back door, shoulders before his feet.

The darkness launched for Bruce and, in a split second, he contemplated running or staying to fight.

Bruce raised his arms ready to attack but the shadow had no respect for any civilized rules of engagement, something Bruce discovered the hard way. Bruce panicked. The shadow slipped through his guard and funneled up his nostrils while he gagged. A year of training had never prepared Bruce how to fight for possession of his body. Confusion engulfed him. After the evil gained control of his body, it turned to his soul.

With ease his consciousness was pushed aside, as though this thing was practiced at stealing body and soul, and inside Bruce’s mind he shrank from the invading evil. Terror filled Bruce in the portion of his mind he was cornered. The evil sought dominion of his mind until only a teeny portion of Bruce survived and the evil engorged him. A triumphant leech.

By the time possession of his body and soul was complete, the back fly screen burst open and Matt raced toward him with Bruce’s mum close behind.

Bit-by-bit a smile filled his face and the new-Bruce flexed his hands and ran them through his flaxen hair while blue eyes turned black with a pleasurable, evil twinkle. He picked up the ball, left the garden and yelled, “I have it!”

Sustenance, come to me.