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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A man goes to his neighbors house for lunch, but discovers something more.

Submitted: December 29, 2013

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Submitted: December 29, 2013



I arrived at Howard Duncan's house at around 1 p.m. He had a modest little house with light green siding and a black roof. The only thing that was peculiar about the house was the fact that he had a bright yellow door. Of all the things to have on a green house, he had a yellow door. This only caught my attention for a minute however, because my eyes started to explore his beautiful garden. It was filled with all different types of flowers. There was a stone pathway to the front door which separated the vast garden. To the right of the yard growing in the lively green green grass were yellow-orange Begonias and next to those were bright, white Apple Blossoms. All of those were surrounding a tall Japanese maple tree. To the left were purple and white Angelonia and pink Hibiscus. There were also flower beds that the path spit filled with a bright yellow flower that I did not recognize. I thought to myself that I would have to ask them what they were.

Howard Duncan was one of the people who lived in me and my wife's neighborhood. He was an older gentleman who lived in our neighborhood for as long as I can remember. I first met him when my wife and I moved into our house. It was three years ago and I was 26. I also had a twelve year old son named Jake. Mr. Duncan seemed like a very nice gentleman. He was a short, round man. He and his family moved from Scotland a long time ago when he was very young, so you still hear the Scottish tinge in his voice. He said hello to me and welcome my family to the neighborhood. Even showed us around. The best parks to walk in and even the places to eat.

I hadn't seen him for the past year though. His wife had just died of a heart attack. It seemed like he was in mourning so no one wanted to bother him. Out of all the years I've known Howard I have only met his wife, formally, once. And that was, once again, when my wife and I had moved in. She seemed to be very shy. She had tired eyes.

Since we hadn't seen each other in a while, my wife suggested that I call him and make plans to have lunch with him. I called him on the phone and without hesitation he said yes. Even though he said yes he only wanted to eat at his house. And so there I was to have a friendly lunch with my neighbor.

While I was admiring his garden, a voice came from ahead.

"Like what you see, eh?" I looked up and saw Mr. Duncan standing on the steps to the house. He had a smile on his face. I was glad to see this. I was afraid that he might still be in grieving.

"It gets me every time. You wouldn't believe how jealous Julia is," I said. He chuckled at this. "You know it's because of you I have to hear her nagging," I started to make an over exaggeration of my wife's voice, " 'Oh Steve, why can't we have a garden like that? Why don't you do any gardening?' " At that point Howard was laughing at this and invited me in.

"Would you like some tea," he asked as we stepped through the doorway. I asked for coffee instead and he happily obliged. Even though he was laughing and smiling, I could tell that there was something in his laugh that wasn't all the way there. The smell of peppermints invaded my nostrils. It was strong but not too overpowering. It made me feel very relaxed.

"Please, sit down," he said, and motioned to the soft leather chair.

"Don't mind if I do," I replied, and sat down sinking into the chair. "So how have you been Howard? Is everything going well? I haven't seen you in a while."

"Every thing is great," he said with a sigh.

"I know with Sarah passing away, it's been pretty hard on you."

"Yes, well, it has. I miss her very much. But at least she doesn't have to suffer anymore." I took a sip of my coffee. There were all differnt sorts of small sandwhiches on a plate on the coffee table. I took one and took a bite. "She loved that garden very much. Her favorites were the Apple Blossoms. She loved tending to it even more than she did looking at it."

There was a silence after that. But Howard broke it by saying, "You know, my mother started that garden. We traveled by ship, and she was carrying a few flower seeds with her. You see, we couldn't have any flowers in our old yard in Scotland because the ground that we had was infertile. So my mother said that the first thing she would do when she got a house was to plant those seeds. And decades later, here they are."

"That's a very great story Mr. Duncan. Oh hey, I meant to ask you, what were those dark yellow flowers in the bed along your house," I asked.

"Ah, those are California Poppy, beautiful aren't they," he said with a smile on his face.

"Very much so," I replied. There seemed to be just a few minutes of us staring at each other. Almost like he was trying to avoid saying something.

"Steve, uh, I don't want to be rude, but, uh,. . . I suspect your son may have been damaging my garden," he said finally. I was very surprised to hear this.

"In what way did he damage it," I asked curiously.

"Well, he started picking at my Begonias one day and I saw him. He took a whole handful," he said, trying to hold his happy disposition.

"I'm sure that he didn't mean anything by it. I mean, maybe he was just trying to, I don't know, give it to a crush."

"YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND, THAT CANNOT HAPPEN!," he suddenly screamed. I was in shock. He had never screamed at me, or for that matter, anybody like that before.

"Why? What's the matter with that?" I asked. He began to settle down. But his eyes started to darken at the same time.

"You see Steve, a few years back, before you even moved into this neighborhood, there was a couple who lived in another house that was bulldozed. The Matthews I believe their names were. They were a lovely family with very. . . lively children. A little too lively if I do say so myself. They would always like to look a my garden, maybe even smell the flowers. And I was okay with this. But soon, they began to start picking at the flowers. Now I told their father about it, just as I am telling you now. But they just kept picking, and picking, and picking." I was beginning to become frightened. "But then one day, the family just disappeared. Vanished gone forever."

"What happened to them Howard," I asked, not really wanting to know the answer. He looked up at me.

"Well, they made the flowers grow very well," he said as a smile started to creep across his face. I stared into his eyes. I dark abyss of grey.


































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