This will be our little secret.
A zephyr carried the alluring fragrance of fresh air and earthy tones only a forest could provide. Beams of light were scattered through the canopies as a young girl’s sneakers left imprints on their path. Her steps slowed and she quickly glanced at her brother who was less than eager to keep her pace. Her dimples appeared as she dashed ahead.
“Scotty! Look, look! Just like the lady had said!” Her guileless excitement energized their halcyon atmosphere.
Scott’s brow rose as he observed her haste. “It’s only a single flower; anyone could have guessed we’d come across one.”
Lowering to her knees, she tilted her head and admired the sight. The radiant, golden hue of the petals was captivating. She gingerly plucked it from its roots, pollen ever so gracefully bouncing from its surface. Inhaling deeply, the majestic scent funneled through her nose.
“I’m happy you found one, Lex, but let’s get going. We’ll be in trouble if we’re not home before Mom . . . We aren’t even supposed to be out of the house.”
“But that lady said there’s going to be a whole bunch of these! Once we find the first one, it’ll lead us to her garden.”
He shook his head. “One is enough and now that you pulled it, no one else will be able to find it either.”
A scowl replaced her happiness. She trudged over to him, marigold in hand. “You’re terribly boring. At least smell it.” She practically shoved it into his nose.
Scott recoiled as he was assaulted by the plant. He shoved her arm aside and waved his palm before his nose, coughing violently. “Alexis, what did Mom . . . Oh wow, that smell.” His defensiveness dwindled as his hacking subsided. He felt a curiosity bloom. With renewed vigor, he asked to hold the mesmerizing yellow plant. “I’ve never smelled anything like this before. She said she had an entire field of these that are all different colors, right?”
Lexy witnessed the change in his attitude and nodded eagerly, afraid to lose his interest if she hesitated to respond.
“Okay, let’s take a peek—grab an assortment and be on our way. We have to be home before Mom. I’m not going to be grounded again.” His focus drifted from her crystal irises to the discolored, pinkish areas coating Lexy’s left arm.
“Yes! No problem!” Her vocal cords trembled with excitement. Before she spun on her heels to continue, she laid her palm out. “I want my flower back; I found it first.”
Scott rolled his own electric blue eyes as he handed back her possession.
Birds sang to one another overhead as they proceeded along their stroll. It must have been well traversed as the path had minimal grass and was mainly dirt. More trees lined the passage and their branches began occluding the sun; making it difficult for even tiny streams of light to find a way through. Leaves rustled above as creatures bounced across them.
An eeriness cemented itself within Scott. “Maybe we went the wrong way. Let’s turn back, Lex, I can barely see my hands in front of my face.”
“No, Scotty, we are so close! The lady said it would get dark.”
He envisioned the woman they encountered at the market. They were in search of roses for their Mom. They hoped it would make her smile again. Unfortunately, their combined worth was less than a cost of three. Their hopes were dashed until a gardener approached them, gloating about a wondrous secret she held dear.
After explaining their situation and how their Mom had been suffering, she graciously told them how to reach her land of paradise. She referred to it as Heaven’s Garden. She told them they could gather as many as they could carry to bring home and surprise their Mom.
We never even learned her name or how to thank her . . .
Another ten minutes passed until they discovered the next marigold which was vibrant orange.
Lexy, without hesitation, ripped it free and sniffed the sunset petals.
“You have to stop pulling them from the ground. How is anyone else supposed to find their way?”
She responded with a heavy yawn. “It’s a different color, I had to have it. Here, smell it!”
“She said there would be an array of colors when we arrive.” The scent swirled through him, sending another wave of excitement through his limbs. It practically rid him of his worries.
“We must be close,” Lexy announced as she tucked the second finding into her blonde ponytail. Her robin’s egg dress brushed her legs as she hurried further into the pit of the forest.
It only took seconds before Scott lost complete sight of her.
“Lexy?” He shouted, fear now dripping down his spine. He rubbed his eyes as he whipped his head back and forth. “Alexis, stop! Where are you?” His voice reached new octaves as he screamed: “Can you hear me?”
He was now at full speed, his boots scraping away at the terrain. He was faster than her and she only had a slight head start. So where was she?
The droning of insects filled the ambient scenery as he zoomed mindlessly ahead. More marigolds entered his periphery, now growing in clusters alongside the path. But eventually even the bright shades of the flowers couldn’t penetrate the darkness engrossing the forest. How is she this far ahead? Where did she go? I’ve been running for like five minutes!
“Alexis!” His bloodcurdling cry startled himself. How could I let this happen? What if she gets hurt again because of me? Why did we do this? “Aleeeexis!”
“Scotty! Over here!”
Scott nearly collapsed as the soothing melody of her voice finally answered. Tears coated his lower lid as he abruptly turned toward her direction. In perfect clarity, the horrid cave the forest created came to a complete halt as sunshine illuminated an exit. Standing at the mouth of the exit, Lexy’s silhouette was highlighted with both flowers entangled in her hair.
“I-I wh-what . . . where did you go? Why didn’t you answer me?” He rushed over and embraced her.
“St-stop, you’re hurting me,” she whimpered as she pushed him back.
His relief just as quickly warped into frustration. “Could you not hear me? Is this a game?”
Her brow’s furrowed as her lips puckered. “I kept responding to you every time! You even ran past me. I was chasing after you!”
He mimicked her puzzled expression. “H-how’s that possible?”
There was a moment of silence as Lexy reached upward and released another yawn. “It doesn’t matter as we are finally here. Look!” She gestured to the pasture behind her.
Beneath the light of day, rolling hills painted the horizon. Pastures of beautiful hues and shades decorated the landscape. Tree’s bordered the majestic sight, encompassing the miracle. White puffs were scattered above the sea of marigolds. A breeze of fresh air wisped through, the flowers dancing upon its arrival.
Mouth parted and eyes wide, Scott staggered forward with Lexy on his heels. They waltzed through the field, the waves of petals coasting by their thighs. “It’s breathtaking . . . Heaven’s Garden.”
“Wow,” Lexy murmured as she gazed. “How did we get so lucky?”
Scott reached the apex of the first knoll and was taken aback. “Apparently, we aren’t the only ones.” He raised a single finger.
She followed the direction in which he pointed and was shocked—almost annoyed by the amount of children laying amongst the marigolds. “Th-this is supposed to be just for us! Why do we have to share?”
“There is at least thirty other kids here. Could this lady really have spoken to them all?”
Lexy plopped onto her bottom. “That’s not fair. Though, they have the right idea. This looks like such a peaceful place to nap.”
“The woman seemed so proud of being the only person to know this secret . . . Why is she so eager to tell everyone?” He looked over to Lexy whose head had made a pillow out of flowers. “Get up, Alexis. We can’t stay for long. We have to be home before Mom and I’m not getting grounded because you’re too tired.”
Her eyes remained closed as she mumbled, “You . . . must be tired . . . too. Only . . . a minute.”
The serenity and heat swarmed him. He hugged himself, stretching his back. Ruffling his brown hair, he gently lowered himself beside her. “So strange. It’s not even midday and I’m exhausted as well.” He rubbed his face before relaxing. “Just a few minutes . . . and then we’ll go.”
The flowers performed another recital as wind rushed down the hill and shook powder from their petals.
“What do you mean it has to be twenty-four hours? My children are missing!”
The police officer briefly glanced at the stars decorating the heavens before he repeated the phrase: “It has to be twenty-four hours before we may declare them missing. Have you contacted your neighbors?”
The woman’s face twisted as her fingers curled into the blonde locks on her scalp. “They were to not even leave home this morning! Is there truly nothing you can do to help?”
The officer sighed. “I’m sorry, I really do care, but we have about several dozen other cases of missing children that we are trying to solve. Their parents even disappeared as well after attempting to locate them. My forces and resources are already stretched thin, so if there is a slight chance they may appear with a loved one, please check there first. If not, return tomorrow and we’ll discuss further.”
The woman gawked as the male departed. She radiated with anger and hatred, but mostly fear. She felt utterly and completely helpless. Tears cleansed her cheeks as a different woman approached her.
“I overheard, I’m terribly sorry to hear about your situation.”
She sniffled and wiped her nose. “I wish there was someone who cared or something I could do.”
The woman retrieved a marigold from her jacket. She gingerly plucked a single petal and offered it to the grieving woman. “Have you heard of Heaven’s Garden?”
About the Creator
I'm an author near Philly. I want to create a new world for readers to lose themselves in.
I love anime, video games, and most Netflix series, but I probably haven't seen the movie you're talking about.
There are no comments for this story
Be the first to respond and start the conversation.