I search the garden, behind every bush and tree trunk, in among the trellises of cascading beans and peas, all the places a precocious six-year-old would deem a magical queendom. She wasn’t in her bedroom or the den, not lurking in the ghostly shadows of the infinite corridor, so the garden is the only place she could be.
I cross the lawn and enter the copse behind the hedge covered, rural Irish style, with yesterday’s washing, pinned with twigs instead of pegs. Branches rustle and there’s a childish giggle from the tree-house above my head. That’s her realm, a place I’ve never been invited, never trespassed in all the time I’ve stayed here. It existed long before my friends moved in; nobody knows who built it but it has stood the test of stormy winters.
I see the rickety ladder leaning against the trunk, teasing me, a subtle warning with a frisson of foreboding. I need to know she’s safe, seeing as she was left in my care, so I scale the tree rung by rung; sweaty fingers grip rough wood, its splinters sharp against my skin.
The platform looms above me. Silence tickles the hairs on my neck. I raise my head above childhood’s parapet and come face to face with mutilated dolls: torsos, limbs and heads, muddy parts dug up from the flower bed where they were buried last week in a funeral game she loves to play.
Kim M. Russell, 5th May 2019
Magaly says that, after a conversation (or 3) on phobias and fears, she thought those 2 could bring interesting stories to life.
For today’s prompt, we can either write a new story (of 313 words or fewer), inspired by phobias and/or fears, or we can take one of our old poems and turn it into a new short story (of 313 words or fewer).
I have chosen to turn an old poem into a story of 239 words. It’s one I wrote and posted last July called ‘Treehouse Terror’, which I have renamed for this prompt.