Too Good To Be True

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

I'm sure you've heard the saying.

Cover image:

Too Good To Be True

There’s a saying that goes along the lines of: if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. If only we’d kept that in mind.

The house was a bargain, an absolute steal. And the fact that it had a garden, a big one at that, made it a no-brainer. We couldn’t afford to turn it down, in spite of the work that was going to be needed.

From when we got up until we went to bed, we’d be working on the inside. We ripped out and replaced; we stripped off the dowdy wall-paper and we painted.

All this stuff didn’t come cheap, but we saved a fortune in money for what we paid for in sweat. One room downstairs, the kitchen, and a bedroom done, the two of us struggled to get the bathroom clean. No matter how much effort we put into it, there were these rusty colored marks that we just could not get rid of.

“A new bathroom suite?” I hadn’t wanted to suggest it, but Jim just nodded.

“It’ll have to wait for a while though.”

“Okay, I guess we can live with it, just so long as it’s done by winter.”

That settled, we decided to start work on the garden.

Perhaps ‘garden’ wasn’t the best way to describe it. Honestly, it far more resembled a jungle. The thing was it was spring, time for planting and such. We were a long way off that though, because there was not even a glimpse of the earth.

Jim got working with the shears while I clipped at the brambles with secateurs. You know, I didn’t even feel the cuts that the thorns made, not until we took a break. The blood had been dripping from my fingertips, down to the earth where I guessed it had just been soaked in.

“You’d best go and clean yourself up,” Jim said.

I’d gone inside and washed my hands beneath the water that glugged its way through the pipes. It looked a bit rusty too, so we’d have to add new pipes to the list. Whatever. It was only when I’d finished washing and had dried my hands that I realised we had no antiseptic cream, not even a band-aid.

By the time I got back outside, Jim had cleared a patch and was heaping up the rubbish that we’d cut down. I got back to work, clipping a few more brambles that trailed across the remnants of a path that Jim had uncovered. It was evening before Jim set light to the pile. It didn’t want to burn but eventually the flames took hold.

I guess it was the smoke from the bonfire that attracted the old guy. He seemed a bit odd as he looked at us, shook his head. “So they finally got rid of the place then. What are ya doin’?”

Jim and I shared a glance. Not even an introduction and this guy wanted to know our business. Strange question anyway, for I’d have thought it was pretty obvious what we were trying to do.

Finally Jim spoke. “I think this’ll make for a fine garden once we get it cleared.”

The man frowned. “I’d not be putting a spade to the soil if I were you, lad. Old man Hennessy, well, he was a bit of an oddity; had his secrets, if you get my drift.”

We waited for him to continue, but instead of enlightening us he just turned and walked off. Jim and I shared a glance and shrugged. Old man Hennessy clearly was not the only oddity around these parts.

It took us the best part of a week to get the garden cleared enough for us to even think about putting spade to soil. Then, after what had been a warm fine week, it rained for four days solid. By the time we got back outside we had forgotten all about the crazy neighbor and his warning.

Strangely the ground was solid. You’d have thought with all of the rain that it might be a bit heavy, but the spades should have had no problem getting through the top part at least. We were on the verge of giving in when finally my spade went deep into the earth. It had to be at the exact spot that I had been bleeding, I guessed, for blood seeped beneath the metal. Surely I’d not have bled that much.

I went to take a step back, but my feet, they wouldn’t move. I looked down and there were these hands coming up from the ground and holding me in place. One at a time they inched further up my legs until they were secured around my knees.

“Jim!” I’d found my voice a bit too late, for I was down on my knees and being dragged down to choke on the soil. I’d tried to grab his hand but Jim, he’d lost it, was totally freaking out, screaming and shouting.

The neighbor was there, shaking his head. “I warned you,” he said, then disappeared.

When the soil had covered me, when it had filled my ears, my mouth, my lungs and blinded my eyes, I guessed that I was to, all intents and purposes, dead to the world. But I wasn’t alone. Old man Hennessy had more than one secret buried in the garden alongside me and here we’d be until someone found us.

Submitted: April 20, 2020

© Copyright 2021 hullabaloo22. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:


Mike S.

Another Scary-gooder, Hull!

Mon, April 20th, 2020 7:06pm


Thanks for giving this a read, Mike.

Tue, April 21st, 2020 11:46am

Vance Currie

This story brought back memories of developing and maintaining gardens, only to move house and start it all over again. Unlike your protagonist, Hully, gardening never grabbed me. I see that you ended the story as if it were to continue. Perhaps to grab more victims?

Mon, April 20th, 2020 8:34pm


It wasn't intentional, but now that you've planted the idea, well, you never know. Thanks, Joe.

Tue, April 21st, 2020 11:36am

Sue Harris

I knew something sinister would happen, but not this! A well written, riveting story, Hully.

Mon, April 20th, 2020 9:00pm


Thanks, Sue!

Tue, April 21st, 2020 11:35am

Donald Harry Roberts

grim...nicely done

Mon, April 20th, 2020 11:33pm


Thanks for giving this a read, DH.

Tue, April 21st, 2020 11:33am

Keke Serene

Everyone knows you should wear garden gloves working outside aha! Nice read, Hully! :D

Tue, April 21st, 2020 2:19am


That's true. Thanks, star-jas.

Tue, April 21st, 2020 11:32am


A scary, dramatic, well written story, Hull.

Tue, April 21st, 2020 2:21am


Thanks so much for giving it a read, Rob. Glad you enjoyed it.

Tue, April 21st, 2020 11:31am

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