Cover image: Allec Gomes on Unsplash.

True Appreciation

Virgil Sommers is used to people commenting on the magnificence of is an impressive sight.

The grass is always kept perfectly trimmed, and even in autumn you would be pushed to find an errant leaf cluttering up the pristine paths. But Virgil knows that it is not the neatness that draws the eye, but the vibrancy of colors. Each and every bloom is an eye-catching spectacle in itself, while the soil is a rich blend of brown and red, giving the impression of mahogany.

At the far end of the garedn stands quite modest in size, constructed from brick rather than the more traditional wood. The windows on either side are paned with glass, but dso much as re blacked out, and the door is securely padlocked.

It’s beautiful,” you say, and I want to shout out a warning to you. Don’t gush! And please be careful what you promise. But I cannot say a word, must watch from the distance. Virgil is a man who can draw you in and extract words you never intended to say.

You must have made a good impression for he is escorting you towards his tool shed, just like he did me, many years ago.

I can do no more than waft and waiver in agitation, as he pulls back the doors and escorts you inside. He shuts the door quickly, but it can’t keep me out, not now.

Virgil talks and talks, pointing to the more normal tools, like the spade, the trowel, the hoe. Only when he has got your full attention does he show you the grinder. A huge piece of machinery, industrial in size. There’s nothing modern about it, and you cannot help but be impressed by it’s impeccable appearance. No rust, no chips; you lean further and further in to admire those gleaming blades.

Don’t you see the specks of blood that his rags can’t reach? What about those tiny slithers of bone?

She’s a beauty,” you say, just like I did.

Virgil licks his lips. This is the moment he’s been waiting for. “Would you like to see her in action?”

No, say no, I silently shriek, as you say. “Yes, I’d love to.”

And Virgil fires her up and the blades spin, moving together and apart, together and apart in a kind of hypnotic mechanical dance. You don’t even notice as he moves behind you, readies himself to give you a shove.

Too late you think about bonemeal, and the nutrients contained in blood. You scream and shriek but there’s no one to hear, apart from me and I have seen and heard enough.

You’ll take your place in the garden. Your blood and bone will mingle with the remnants of my own, and like me you’ll become a haunter of this beautiful deadly place.



Submitted: December 13, 2020

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Add Your Comments:


Vance Currie

It's getting hard for me to decide by which horror I would prefer not to die of, Hully. I think a grinder would be near the top of the list, but it would be quicker than being buried alive.

Sun, December 13th, 2020 7:04pm


Do you think I'm becoming morbidly obsessed, Joe? I've always leaned more towards horror, but do try to make things a bit pleasanter occasionally.
Thanks for reading.

Sun, December 27th, 2020 5:54am

Mike S.

Another spooky-gooder, Hull

Sun, December 13th, 2020 9:09pm


Thanks, Mike!

Sun, December 27th, 2020 5:52am

Serge Wlodarski

You gotta give Virgil credit for keeping his fertilizer costs down. I've got ginkgo tree in my yard, nothing else has leaves like that.

Mon, December 14th, 2020 2:28pm


Haha! Thanks for reading, Serge.

Sun, December 27th, 2020 5:48am

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