Serial Saturday – [Horror] Die, Blossom, Bloom #15

Saturday again. Time for another instalment from my novella, Die, Blossom, Bloom. 

Last time, TED Harris had started to dispose of the body of the boy, JORDAN BUTLER-THOMPSON, that he had killed when he had discovered the truth behind what Ted had done to his wife. This week, Ted has a chance to reflect on what he has done.

You can read the first part HERE and the most recent part HERE.

This week’s part:

Ted walked around the front of his house and saw the full extent of Jordan’s plant carnage.  In the light of day he could see that the damage was far greater than he had estimated.  Plants had been ripped out of the ground and thrown across the garden.  Some were on the pavement beyond the wall.  His treasured climbing rose – Sissy’s climbing rose – had been pulled away from the wall.  It lay forlornly on the grass, petals strewn across the lawn. Unfastening the cuffs of his shirt, he knelt down and started to replant some of the healthier specimens by hand, digging shallow holes before dropping them in and patting the soil around their bases.

He was bedding in his third pant when he heard a familiar voice.  Eyes half closed and unshaven, Ted looked up. Mrs Butler-Thompson stood at his garden gate.

“Mister Harris,” she said, looking up and down at Ted.  “You look in need of a good night’s sleep.”

Ted stood up and wiped his hands.  He tried to smile as he looked at Mrs Butler-Thompson.  “When you get to my age, that’s not as easy as it sounds.”

“I’m sure,” she said, not looking at Ted.  Her gaze played over his garden, and she leaned to enable her to see beyond him, to his back garden.

“Are you looking for something?”  He made no effort to block her line of sight and simply stood, shading his eyes from the glare.  He had no more energy for the fight.

“I was just looking at the awful mess your garden is in,” she said.  “It’s such a shame.”  Ted could not be certain, but he thought the hint of a smile tugged at the corners of her mouth.  He had always imagined she was capable of sabotage, but never truly believed she would do anything about it.  And now her grandson had paid the price for her petty desire to win a village flower contest.  He was convinced she had put Jordan up to his late-night antics.  She had somehow persuaded the boy to do this, and he had paid with his life.  As the thought struck Ted, he felt bile climb his throat.  He covered, raising a hand to his mouth to stifle a cough.  Mrs Butler-Thompson appeared not to notice and continued.  “With so little time left, you won’t be able to enter the competition.”  She didn’t sound upset.

“Well I still have a few days left.  I think I can turn it round.”  He had no desire for this woman to see how much this hurt him.  His beautiful garden – his wife’s beautiful garden – was all he had left of Sissy.  At that moment, his resolve was steadfast: this woman would not beat him.  He may not win the ‘Haverly in Bloom’ title, in fact the odds were now decidedly against that, but he would put up the best fight he could.

Mrs Butler-Thompson smiled. “Yes of course you can.”  She glanced towards the back garden again.

“Is there something else?”

“No,” she said.  There was a brief pause as she shifted her weight to the other foot.  “Well, yes. I was supposed to be meeting my grandson this morning.” She looked back to Ted. “For a coffee.”

“Why would he be in my garden?”  Ted turned away, looking towards the back of the cottage.  His skin began to prickle.

“No reason.  I’ve been searching for him all morning.  Mrs Cheshire hasn’t seen him, and she knows everyone’s business.”  This, at least, was true.  Mrs Cheshire was the owner of what could loosely be called the village café.  She had bombarded Ted with questions following Sissy’s death.  Ted had not shared his wife’s illness with anyone, especially Mrs Cheshire, but that had not stopped her asking questions.  When no answers had been forthcoming, she had started fabricating the truth, and several versions of what happened had been passed around the village, none correct.

“Have you spoken with his parents?”  He felt like he needed to take a deep breath, but he remained still, his voice even.

“I have, but they tell me he sometimes comes in late and goes out early.”  She turned away from Ted, and he knew she was uncomfortable. It offered an opportunity for him to take a big gulp of air, which he did.

“Well maybe that’s what he did.  Youngsters like him, he’s probably got himself a lady-friend somewhere, or perhaps him and his mates went out drinking.”  He noticed his hands trembling and drove them into his pockets.

She fixed him with a stare. “I don’t think so.  My Jordan does not drink.”

“A girlfriend then?” He shrugged and attempted a smile.

Mrs Butler-Thompson scowled at him.  “Well, thank you for your time, Mister Harris.  I would thank you to keep your opinions of my grandson to yourself.” She turned on her heels and walked away. Ted sucked in more air and breathed out slowly, sinking to his knees as he did.

 

More next week…

If you want to read the whole thing now for FREE, you can do so HERE.

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