Gardens inspire me in so many ways. I’ve included gardens in my other works so many times including my Eternal Curse Series and other short stories such as Our Place. I actually wrote three different stories in preparation for this challenge, but I couldn’t keep my word count down or limit my story lines to tell the whole story I wanted to tell. Finally, I gave up and decided to simply share part of a story. The sample below is the introduction to a fantasy adventure that still exceeds the word count a bit. Oh well.
“Agent Trence Howard to see Professor Jardin,” announced the short round woman with chestnut skin. She pulled from her front blazer pocket a folded booklet of identification and smirked impatiently.
The clerk glared up at her through his glasses and sighed. He reached for the booklet and responded, “So you are. You are Agent Howard, and let’s face it, pretty darn lucky.”
Trence pocketed her identification back into her red blazer and clicked her matching heels together. “Is there going to be a problem here?”
“Oh no; no problem here.”
The clerk stepped away from his desk and pointed down a long hall leading into darkness. Trence nodded her head and then followed behind him quietly. Her red heels had no reason to clink at this time.
“What makes you think I’m so lucky anyway?” The clerk paused a moment to look Trence in the eyes and then turned to continue down the hall.
“You do realize that you’ll be the first to enter the professor’s private quarters? I mean, you must realize there has to be a reason why you had to get a letter from the judge in order to force your way in there.”
“I did what I had to. As long as the professor has nothing to hide, there shouldn’t be any problems.”
This time, the clerk stopped without turning. “You can find it from here. It’s the only door at the end.” Trence sighed and lifted her skirt, letting her heels express her annoyance. After a few steps, the clerk called out. “We all know he has something to hide, but some of us trust he has his reasons for hiding it.” Trence didn’t respond as she marched forward.
The hall seemed to narrow and grow cool. Moisture lingered in the air with a sweet fragrance, like a mist of rose water. Soon the floor seemed to soften. Try as she might, her heels had been quieted by the cushion beneath her. Just ahead the shape of a door could just be made out in the silhouette of light streaming from behind it.
Hands shaking Trence scolded herself, You are an agent of the High Court; nothing will happen to you here without dire consequences. She grasped the handle of the door and took a deep breath as she plunged forward.
Tripping on an odd green wire, Trence fell forward, dropping the booklet she’d placed in her hand as she opened the door. Expecting to hit the floor hard, Trence was surprised to end up in the arms of a tall thin man with a scruffy beard and emerald-green eyes.
“I’m so sorry to barge in like this. I didn’t mean to make such a scene.”
“Well, this is quite a surprise. I assume you are from the High Court. I must say, I was expecting a man.”
“Of course, you were; everyone expects me to be a man. In any case, I’m here to inspect your work in order to find answers concerning your achievements in biochemistry.” Trence straighten herself and dusted off her skirt. The button of her blazer had popped off and it made her feel a bit vulnerable, but she wasn’t going to let the thin man know that.
“Straight down to business, are we? Shouldn’t we at least have introductions?” The tall man bowed and extended his hand. “I’m Professor Jardin.”
Trence patted around in search of her identification, ignoring his extended hand, and then huffed. “I seem to have miss placed my credentials, but I assure you, I am Agent Howard and we should be getting straight down to business. I understand you keep a garden and a laboratory, aside from your exclusive collection of books.”
“You mean my library?”
Trence blinked. “Sure, your library. I assume this is it we are in now. Should I begin by cataloging the books?”
“I don’t know if you should handle the books; they are so rare and delicate. Surely they can’t be of any real importance.”
“Perhaps Professor, but that’s for me to decide. I can at least discover what the books are about and list them alphabetically.” Trence looked beyond the floral-toned book bindings, taking in the smell of fresh moss and a subtle trickle of water. “Is your garden nearby?”
The professor smiled and the corner of his eyes sparkled. Trence shook her head thinking she was seeing a glare, but from where she didn’t know. “Yes, the garden is near. This is such fun. I think you may actually figure it out before long.”
“Figure what out. How exactly is this fun for you, Jardin? Don’t you understand that your life’s work is under investigation?”
“Of course, I understand, but soon you’ll be wondering why, now of all times, I am being investigated.”
“It’s not for me to wonder why. I’m here to collect data for the initial hearings. That’s all. So, now, please where is the garden, where is your lab, and where do you actually work? You must have an office; at least a desk.”
“I have all of those things and more. It’s all here. Look around and open your eyes.”
Trence pursed her lips and pushed air through her nostrils. Of course, the only female agent in the Court gets stuck working the cuckoo case. “Please just tell me what I want to know so we can move this along.”
Professor Jardin stepped toward Trence and begin to speak when something caught his attention. He shook his head and closed his eyes. “Professor, what are you doing? It seemed like you were going to say something.”
Jardin kept his eyes closed but begin to turn his head from side to side. “Ah, it seems we’ve found your missing credentials and a red button. Are you missing a red button?”
Trence looked around briefly and then stared at the professor with his eyes closed. “Yes, I had a red button.”
Jardin lifted his head and opened his bold emerald eyes. “That’s good because they are right behind you.”
Slowly, Trence began to turn around, clenching her fist and wondering why she was letting this man get to her. Before she completed her turn a wall of vines took her breath away. It wasn’t there a moment ago and yet it was a wall, lush green cords and orange buds, some hanging from the unseen ceiling and others shooting up from the mossy floor. Her credentials and button rested neatly in a nest of leathery leaves emerging from the surrounding foliage.
Without turning back to the professor, Trence eeked out, “Who exactly are we?”
1099 words- We are Jardin 2016 Copyright © Toinette J. Thomas
Seeking full critique.
On a separate note, I’m seeking reviewers for an anthology I did not contribute to. See my review here. Click the image below to learn more.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords