Serial Saturday – Die, Blossom, Bloom #1

I read a post recently by author Don Massenzino, which was the beginning of the serialisation of one of his short stories. It really struck a chord with me, and inspired me to share some of my own writing in a serialised form.

I’d like to offer you Die, Blossom, Bloom to begin this series. It’s a work of horror, so if that’s you, then I hope you enjoy it!

Before I get started, I wanted to share with you some of the inspiration behind the protagonist, TED HARRIS.

Ted was, for me, a reasonably easy character to create. He was an amalgamation of my grandad and my father-in-law. Before I go any further, I would like to point out that neither of those two men did anything resembling any of the things that Ted ends up doing, well at least as far as I know.

I think it was something that many men of their times did, but for them, a button-up shirt, trousers and shoes were ALWAYS the way to go. There was no comfy, easy, casual wear. Shirt and trousers.

Ted is the kind of man who will go and do his gardening, on hands and knees, but still in shirt and trousers. At some point, he allows himself to unbutton the cuffs and roll the sleeves up. But not often.

Here he is (grandad!), with me , back when I was cute.

He was a man of his time who spoke and acted in particular ways that shaped the way I created Ted Harris. He was also a keen gardener. His lawns were ruler-straight, and you could play golf on them, they were that manicured!

My father-in-law was also part of Ted Harris. His part in the creation of Ted is smaller, but no less important. He was a very private man, who rarely shared his thoughts and had no time for gossip and idle chatter. He was also a gardener, a groundskeeper at a large park, but that plays a bigger part in The Girl in the Park.

So here we go with Part #1 of the novella, Die, Blossom, Bloom

Part One

Gripping the pillow in both hands, he placed it over his wife’s face and pressed down. Her weak body writhed against him, her arms flailing feebly, but Ted held his nerve and the pillow. She continued to struggle for several minutes, and Ted began to worry not about his resolve but about his strength. He could hear her voice, muffled by the pillow, which he tried to block out and failed. Her voice weakened and then was silent.

Ted awoke with a start. For a moment, the world looked strange, and he blinked his eyes. He looked at his hands, both fists still gripping the pillow. After a moment, his hands relaxed, and he flexed his fingers, before resting them on his thighs. Even in sleep the memories of how things had ended for his wife still haunted him. It had been two years since she died, and he could still not reconcile his actions. He sat up and looked around. He had fallen asleep in his deck chair in the garden. He picked up the newspaper that had fallen on the grass and ran a hand across his mouth. He wiped away the bead of sweat that trickled down the side of his face. The day was warm, but he felt a chill. He looked around, as if someone could see his guilt, could see into his dreams. Chiding himself for his foolishness, he slowed his breathing and sat back into the chair, the dream still present in his mind, but fading fast. He replayed those final moments in his head and winced. It still felt like it had been his only option, and he thought he would have done it again if he had to, but that didn’t stop his heart from feeling the absolute emptiness her absence left.

He took a moment to look around and blinked his eyes until he came fully awake. Ted sat up again. A deck chair was not the most forgiving at his age, and his spine popped as he stretched. He took a moment to take in his garden. The year had been especially prosperous for all of his plants, the climbing roses in particular. The red petals snaked up and over the front window of his cottage, tethered to the trellis he had put up ten years earlier. It had been one of the first things Sissy had asked of him when they moved in, and he had been glad to do it. The roses were the first things that had been planted, and they were thriving. This year, more so than recent years, the rest of his garden seemed to be following suit. The addition of a large compost bin two years earlier had been a stroke of genius. It had taken a year for him to start seeing the results, but his homemade compost seemed to be having the desired effect, not just on his pocket, but also on his garden. Sissy would have been proud, and he was fairly certain that the local ‘Haverly in Bloom’ title was within reach this year, a feat that had eluded his wife in the years since their move to the village. If he could claim the title this year, it may go some way to easing the terrible burden of guilt he felt at how things had ended. He had carried this with him since Sissy had died, and though he would never be ready to move on, the competition had at least proved to be a distraction.

He knew the competition would be tough, it always was; the village was home to some keen gardeners. Unfortunately there were also those in the village that would do their utmost to ensure that Ted remained an also-ran in the judging. His recent success had not gone unnoticed and with the judging only two weeks away, he knew there were still challenges to be answered.

***I’ll get more uploaded next week. Hit follow to make sure you don’t miss any!***

13 thoughts on “Serial Saturday – Die, Blossom, Bloom #1

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