European countryside: 1928
Title: "The Garden"(Ch.#1)
Starring: John Foxx
Related song: "The Garden" by John Foxx
Comments: A romantic man vacations in the countryside, only to discover a hypnotic fate....
1928(Somewhere In Europe)
Finally, the journey had ended. Long hours in the
city, painfully tedius wage earnings and saving had finally allowed him
this more than well deserved vacation.
Stepping into the bed and breakfast, he apparently
had caught them at a quiet moment. Few people, save the owner and his wife,
were busy cleaning and dusting the hallway paintings. And after some warm,
personal welcomes and meal schedule information exchanges, his suitcase was
laying on the bedspread of his room.
It would only be a single week, but he intended to
make every moment stretch into a thousand. It would be as if the week was
more of a month, or three months in his mind.
The sweetly decorated, turn-of-the-century room
held a little lantern for reading, some handmade wall hangings, and delicate
curtains. Though what seemed to grab his attention more was the landscape of
green outside his window.
He pulled away the draperies to look out onto the
unfolding trees and rolling grasses.The sun was still high overhead, and he
was curiously full of energy. So, he ventured downstairs, had the owners
point him to his complimentary bicycle rental provided in the b & b's
As the wife rolled it out to him, a couple arrived
for a honeymoon visit, which distracted her. John mused at their banter
long enough to know it was best to go ahead and slip out the door, rather
than wait for 'good days' to happen.
It was greatly enoyable to be riding again, he thought
to himself, following the small dirt path. He hadn't been on a bicycle in
a few years, making this an additional treat.
The landscape was wonderful, and the air was sweet
and supernatural in it's appeal. He was half tempted, even though he'd just
arrived, to stay an extra week and tell his work he met up with a
'countryside accident' of some humorous sort.
Unfamiliar with the area, he assumed most people
hadn't caught on to this financial and eye pleasing bargain. There didn't
seem to be any homes or farms nearby. Just lovely forest and further
But a curious division in the path up and resting
car up ahead made him wonder if he'd been wrong. Once there, he stopped
his bike, and like a wondering child, leaned it near a tree and began
following it. If it was someone's property, he could always walk back to
road after all.
The warmth of the sun was beginning to make him
sweat a bit, though he didn't mind so much. It was a welcome change from
a cold and drafty Winter lasting well into his Spring back home.
Removing his hat, the path wound to his right, and
curved and went far, far ahead of him. The clearance wouldn't accomodate
a car, but was perfect for a person to wander along.
Many minutes went by, and he began to think that
there may not be a residence after all. But upon pulling back some hanging
branches, there stood the most remarkable mansion he had ever had the
pleasure to see.
His mouth hung open as he followed the path onto
circular stepping stones and onto the building's front steps. It was massive
in width, with a front porch that wound around to go behind the home. John
looked in both directions, but opted for knocking on the front door instead.
He grasped the giant brass door knocker and tapped loudly. He swallowed,
paused, and thought he heard someone singing outside. Perhaps from the back
of the home, he pondered.
So, hoping not to frighten anyone, he walked along
the porch's side, which became an expansive covered patio. Vines and lush
plants hung over the sides of the awning, all fighting to dominate
this wonderful place for visual glory. But finally, the small sounds he heard
became clear in the form of a kind looking, slightly older woman using her
watering can on a few large potted ferns. John softly cleared his throat and
placed his hat politely on his chest. She turned around to notice him, though
to his relief, wasn't startled.
"Yes? May I help you?",she kindly inquired.
" I'm sorry,' he stammered, realizing at that very
moment he was infact tresspassing afterall.' But I am staying at the Bed &
Breakfast down the road, and was out for a bicycle ride..."
She laughed and set down her can, wiping her hands
off on a nearby blue rag.
"Rose Winington, pleasure to meet you..."
"John", he said nervously, "John Foxx. I work in the
city at a office-though nothing very exciting I'm afraid."
She nodded and sighed."Oh, no need to give me any
explanation John. This place hasn't had visitors in over 8 years, and you
don't seem quite dressed for snooping." He smiled nervously, but was thank-
ful for his choice of more conservative white clothing in the midst of the
"Well", she sighed,"do you like the place? I haven't
met a single person who hasn't-not to boast."
"Oh yes", John exclaimed," it's nothing like anything
I've had the chance to even glance at where I'm from. It's so big, I can't
imagine the effort involved!"
The woman nodded and looked out toward the back yard.
Though with so many hanging plants and the structure of the back area, he
couldn't see anything at all yet."Unfortunately it won't be mine to tend much
longer.My elderly Uncle Nigel who passed away a year ago was more than able
to employ someone to care after all this. But after that, with all the
servants and groundkeepers moved away, I'm the only one left to water even
the tiniest plant!"
John felt very sorry for her. Age had been kind to
her face, allowing for her full grace to come through in every expression.
"However", she continued,"Someone will be buying my
old Uncle's home soon enough-the agreement will be done by the end of the
month. Until then, I can enjoy the last few moments of my visiting childhood
and tend a few things, you know?...Oh, but my manners, would you like to see
the garden, since you're here?"
It was true, his curiosity was going wild to see the
back of this amazing place, let alone the chance to see a garden that could
be attatched. Not being able to tend one of his own back in his lonesome flat
in town, he was completely in love with gardens.
He agreed with enthusiasm, and followed her out an
opening, where on either side, was inclosed by two 9 foot hedge walls,
forming a hallway to a small iron gate. A little sqeak, and inside he stepped.
The only thing that could have made what lay before
him more beautiful would have been an outdoor orchestra, playing sweetly. But
easily, this was the most amazing garden he had ever in his life been able to
His breath was stolen, allowing his eyes to do the
work of his lungs in sustaining him. Flowers of all kind of variety rolled
and climbed over more foliage, and structure. Additional hedge walls formed
enchanting smaller 'rooms', which held fountain after fountain. Lilipads,
complete with lesiurely frogs drifted over the water's surface. Butterflies,
dragonflies, hummingbirds, ladybugs and bumblebees danced over the thousands
of gorgeous colours, looking like faeries, carrying whimsy on the wind.
Time seemed to stop, but John suddenly realized that
Rose had been explaining aspects of the garden to him all the while. She
heartily laughed, saying that everyone who loves the country has the same
reaction when they first come there. He numbly nodded in agreement, and
looked over to an area where he hadn't explored yet. It was a small clearing,
at the back of it all, where stone flooring had been laid, a last fountain,
and two short pillars lay on either side. However, only one pillar, the left
side held a lifesize statue. Rose continued her history lesson while John
walked over to the artpiece.
About 4 feet off the ground, a more lovely
interpretation of a female he had never seen. Her lovely Grecian features
were framed in mounds of curling locks, which cascaded down her neck, rolled
over her shoulders and poured down her back. A grand, delicately carved
wreath of stone flowers crowned her head, and slow, drapings of fabric
spilled over her generous curves. He looked down at her tiny, daintily made
feet, and marvelled at the attention to detail. In her arms, was a large
stone basin with real planted wildflowers growing inside.
Finally, John awoke from his spell and turned to
apologize for perhaps not responding properly. Rose laughed again, and
behaved largely unphased. He thought perhaps she was truly happy to share
all she had about her beloved Uncle's masion, knowing soon it wouldn't be
available to her anymore.
"But why don't you keep it yourself-rehire some
people to tend here", he asked pensively.
"Oh, I am a dollmaker, and I will always be. If
I'm busily making them, I have to be in my shop in town to sell them. And way
out here in the country, there is no place for them but to sit. And, I'd
rather use my inheritance on what I love to do, not just memories and the
upkeep, you know? It's a hard decision."
He could see the saddness on her face, though her
explaination was brave. But she changed the subject back to the garden at
hand to lighten the mood once more.
" If you notice, this lovely maiden has no one to
compliment her on the other pillar. But the amusing thing is, even in all
my years of visiting and spending time with Uncle Nigel, I never thought
to ask why."
John looked at the empty pillar, then back at the
lovely statue. Why indeed would someone not place anything there, but pour
so much detail into everything else here?
Rose began again,"Well, I am afraid I must be going.
Would you walk a lady to her car?" Reluctantly, John allowed her to take his
arm and walk away from the beloved hidden garden.He knew that he must have
appeared terribly rude, over and over in this introduction with this fine
woman. But he found himself distracted, like a child, in a place was stole
his very heart.
Chatting quaintly walking back to the main path,Rose
ended their conversation with a handshake and a final offer that renewed
"I saw the way you were inside of my Uncle's garden,
and I don't blame you for loving it. But I'll tell you what...you are welcome
to visit the grounds while you are on vacation here. I'll let someone know
incase anyone drops by before next week."
John's heart soared and he found himself hugging the
lady, making her laugh in surprise.
"Mind you", she finished,"the inside will be locked
up, but the garden is available to you." She shook his hand again, thanked
him for his unexpected but pleasing visit with her, and parted ways with him.
He started to stradle his bicycle, actually noticing
the sun was going down, when he turned and looked at the split in the path
again.Longing swelled inside of his chest to take the long walk back up to
the masion even though he'd just departed it. He stared for a long time in
the direction of the grounds, imagining the greenery and the statue.
Resolving to take dinner back at the b & b, he took
up the weight of his greatest willpower, and pedaled back to where he came
from.Though as the sun faded, the nagging longing to return to the garden
burned brightly inside.