Tuesday, August 16, 2016

WEP - A STONE GARDEN

This is my entry for the WEP Gardens Flash Fiction Challenge. Please be warned the story took a dark turn. It wasn't meant to, but when I write I go where the prompt takes me. I've been working on my WIP The Snowman, and I'm afraid the antagonist took over this project. 
This picture was my inspiration, especially when I envisioned it in a winter setting. 


Gardens always mean something else, 
man absolutely uses one thing to say another.

~Robert Harbison, Eccentric Spaces, 1977


A STONE GARDEN

Janelle finally arrived home. The day had been exhausting, and the drive seemed to have taken hours, when in truth, it had barely been one. Fresh snow always slowed traffic to a crawl. She almost wished she'd rented a place in town, but when a childhood friend had offered his fabulous home at no cost, well, it was perfect. Too good to be true, but that was before the harassment started. Now she dreaded coming home.
John Hughes's elegant house was located on a ridge over Cheat Lake just minutes from the University of Morgantown. The police had suggested she update the security system, but she was house sitting and needed his permission first. John immediately agreed and gave her the number of a security firm. The police and the company she'd contracted had suggested cameras. Janelle vetoed the idea—at least inside the house. The last thing she wanted was to be a YouTube sensation.
Threats originally came in the form of letters addressed to the bitch in residence. At first, Janelle thought it was a joke. She was new in town, a professor at the university with John as the only other person she knew well. John suggested that maybe his former girlfriend was the target, but the letters became personal when they included pictures of her. Her stalker had taken them as she went about her day at the university and around town.
After contacting the police, Janelle learned that several women had received the same threatening letters. The police assured her the man was harmless. They suggested that he was just trying to create terror on a broad spectrum but would never follow through. She prayed they were right, but soon after her visit to police headquarters, the phone calls started. The messages were grotesque and sexual in nature, the voice mechanical.
Janelle almost packed her bags after Detective Malaren informed her she was the only one receiving the threatening calls. Fear gripped her fully, but she found her courage and made getting the security system updated, her principal goal. Detective Malaren also suggested a roommate or bodyguard. She agreed.
Tomorrow the installation would happen and tonight she would play host to her first personal bodyguard, all on her tab. Until this creep was behind bars, Janelle didn't want to be alone in a large home several miles from town. 
Before unlocking the door and switching on the lights, she checked the road leading to the house and wondered where the bodyguard was. The security firm assured her he'd meet her at the house, would probably be waiting when she arrived. He wasn't. Janelle blamed the snowstorm.
All she wanted was a soft chair and a glass of wine, but instead, started a pot of coffee, and searched the refrigerator for staples to begin dinner, wondering if she should make enough for two. She noticed that the house was unusually cold, verified via the thermostat. Worried that the furnace was on the blink, she went to the den to build a fire. The air was more frigid than usual. French doors leading out to the deck were standing open. Snow had drifted inside. Had she forgotten to latch them? The wind on that side of the house sometimes popped them open if left unlocked. She wondered if the new security installation would fix the problem.
Turning on the exterior lights, she stepped onto the deck. During the darkness of winter, the owner, John, wanted to see his beautifully landscaped yard. Spotlights highlighted the bridge across the small creek, and a new layer of snow covered evergreens, Japanese maples, and massive boulders. 
Statues of angels graced the area, each one featured in a heavenly glow. The recent snowfall made it a winter wonderland. Most mornings would find Janelle seemingly mesmerized by the beauty of the garden while she nursed a cup of coffee and contemplated life. The panorama brought her joy, and no matter the season, the changing beauty filled her with peace.
Tonight, at this moment, the cherished Vista froze her to the spot. The beautiful winter paradise was now her nightmare come tangible.
Someone had shattered the angels and splattered them with blood. Most of the spotlights now glowed red. On the frozen creek laid the torsos of three women. Their naked bodies staged grotesquely. Their heads hung from the ornate bridge, tied in place by their hair. A trail of blood flowed from each body. Beheaded on the icy creek and immediately strung up on the bridge. Their grisly end caught in deaths final scream.
Janelle recognized the other women tormented with the beast's haunting letters. The sight sent her reeling backward. The sound of her screams dragged her into a living nightmare where there was no escape.
Someone stood in her way. Janelle fainted. He caught her. Held her inert body and looked beyond her to the scene in the snow, a smile splayed across his face.
Written in blood above the bodies - a crude message -Welcome Home, Lover.

The police found Janelle's body on a pedestal in the garden. Sitting in the lotus position with an elaborate pair of feathered wings crudely sewn into her back and a pentagram cut into her chest. The only other wounds were the deep cuts on her wrists. She'd bled out in place. Paralyzed by drugs, Janelle had been unable to move while the horror played out. The other women had suffered the same fate. They'd been aware of the torture, the beheading, and their assailant.
The security firm insisted the owner, John Hughes, had canceled the bodyguard that Janelle had hired because he was on his way home. When they reached John, he was still in Europe and would be for the next six months.
***
Stone downloaded the pictures to his computer and masturbated as he relived each delicious moment of the night before. Several loud knocks on the ceiling startled him from his pleasuring.
"Stowie, breakfast!"
         "Coming, Mommy."


***
997 Words / FCA
Yolanda Renee © 2016

Enjoy more entries from the WEP Gardens Challenge from the list below!






63 comments:

  1. OMG! Your creep-o-meter is zinging into the stratosphere! I never saw that grotesque ending coming! How humans can bloody a beautiful landscape, a perfect garden. So if your story is any indication of The Snowman, you're going to scare us witless! It's fun to be back into WEP, isn't it?

    Denise :-)

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    1. Writing about Stowie is like that! He takes over the story line. I'm afraid I have a hard time railing him in. :)
      Thanks, Denise!

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  2. The killer just went for broke. Very chilling! Who was he though? Or did I miss that?

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    1. Stowie is the antagonist of my WIP. Lots to be said, but that's a whole book! :)
      Thanks, Diane!

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  3. Oh the ending did take a dark turn. But, I'm like Diane and want to know who he is and how he was connected to Janelle. I thought it was going to be the security guard or maybe the home owner.

    Thoughts in Progress
    and MC Book Tours

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    1. Poor Janelle is Stowie's first love. Too bad she didn't know that though! Thanks, Mason!

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  4. Hi Yolanda - well that's me done admiring sculptures in a garden again ... or living alone! Way too young for that sort of thing - or thoughts ... poor mother ... brilliantly written - with an excellent ending - please don't wash and repeat though!!! Cheers Hilary

    PS my post will go up late Friday my time - I may need the link moving across as I'll be away .. thanks!

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    1. Hi, hilary!
      I'm not sure I could live alone and write these tales either. Truthfully, the first time I wrote something like this I was checking the door and the windows. Scared myself! :)

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  5. That is one end garden I never want to see. Psycho kid? Or really screwed up momma's boy. Gruesome one indeed, enjoyed.

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    1. I'd love to see the garden, just not spend the night. :) Thanks, Pat!

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  6. Nasty. And so very clever. Loved the twists, and am grateful there are no statues in my garden.

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    1. Hi, E. C.!
      True, I've always loved the angel statues. So many possibilities for great stories! The best so far is the Dr. Who episode!

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  7. Creepy and nasty as EC said! And for some reason-likely the woman being in the house alone, I thought of the movie Scream. That bridge was a perfect focal point for the ending. Interesting about the owner being conveniently away, if he planned to come home, or someone else called for him. . . That's the trouble with small towns and places outside of the mainstream. Beautiful but dangerous. I really liked the beginning then I started seeing the warning signs. . .great buildup too. Yes, I can believe your character was influencing your literary writing!

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    1. Hi, D.G.!
      Boy he is. Taken it over truthfully. Scares me too! :) Thanks, appreciate the great comment!

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  8. Well, that is creepy, and disturbing. No more late night chocolate-covered cherries for you girl :)

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    1. Ha, Ha, so true, but honestly I've given up the chocolate covered cherries! Maybe that's why? :) Thanks, Donna!

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  9. What a horror story! Terrifying.

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  10. Yikes! Creepy and horrifying. Nicely done.

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    1. I knew you'd enjoy it, thanks, Christine!

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  11. I'm so curious as to the identity of the murderer! Great story, so creepy!

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    1. He's a very, very bad boy. Man actually, but his mom treats him like a kid. He loves it and he loves his art! Thanks, Laura!

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  12. Well, that creeped me out! Great horror, Yolanda.

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  13. I will probably never house sit for anyone after reading this story. I don't know how you do, but you have a way of drawing out the mundane things in life and making them gruesome. Especially the ending, "Coming Mommy." was like the A-Ha light came on. Excellent writing.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Patricia

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    1. Hi, Pat, it does make the prospect seem horrid! Thanks, appreciate the compliment!

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  14. That was a seriously creepy story.

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  15. Wow! I think I need to watch a few hundred puppy videos now. You words sliced through every moment and then stabbed us with that ending. Is the killer one of her students? Well done!

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    1. I should have added one at the end so folks went away with a happy memory. Next time. :)
      Thanks, Toinette!
      No, Stowie was a former classmate, she was his secret love. He's getting even because she never acknowledged his presence!

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  16. First of all that Picture is STUNNING!!!!!!

    My entry is also dark and REAL...

    Ms. Renee..... You are certainly the QUEEN of Horror.... Enjoyed the build and the majorly TWISTED ending....

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    1. Hi, Michael, your entry was very REAL! Loved it!
      Yes, twisted, I can be that way. I've spent too much time observing! :)

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  17. Gruesome - what a twisted mind the killer has.

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    1. And some would say the writer too. Thanks, Sally!

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  18. An excellent thrill, Yolanda! Just goes to show that something so beautiful (the pic) can have ugly hidden secrets. Super story! Thank you.

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    1. Some of the most beautiful places on earth hold a very dark past! Thanks, Nicola!

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  19. I'm going to have trouble looking out at my garden the next time it snows. Great job, Yolanda.

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    1. I love a garden in the snow! I hope not, Ken, they are so beautiful then! :)

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  20. Oh my goodness, a friend just gave me a statue of an angel she had in her garden (just moved away). Hmm, perhaps I should take this as a guardian, or ...?

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    1. Sorry, Judy, I love the angel statues! Yes, a guardian for sure!

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  21. This story was horrifying! The beautiful pictures and grotesque images you created within the story contrasted in a very satisfying way. Well done!

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    1. Thanks, Laura, Stowie took over, it's how he is, and I don't argue! :)

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  22. I've read some excellent horror stories in my life, and this ranks up there with them. It's dread that's the heart of a good horror tale, and this story does that perfectly. Even if you hadn't said the ending wasn't happy, I would have still known this almost from the beginning. The photographs are also chilling - perfect. Beautifully executed.

    It has been wonderful participating in this WEP. It's been great getting in touch with wonderful "old" Blogger friends who are all extremely talented in literature and art. I hope I'll be able to participate again.

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    1. We are thrilled to have you Ann, thank you so much for the compliment. You've made my day!

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  23. That was horrifying, yet riveting. I was practically holding my breath all the way through. Stunning story, Yolanda!

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    1. Thanks, Debbie, I question myself when I write these things, but Stowie is a strong character!

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  24. That was deliciously creepy and totally chilling! I did expect some blood and bodies in your garden, and you did not disappoint :) Loved your super scary take on the prompt.

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    1. Hi, Nila, thank you! That means a lot. I'm glad not to disappoint. I think! :)

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  25. Dang, girl! You've got a seriously twisted mind. (Just one of the things I love about you.)

    You outdid yourself with this one. That last part with Stone and his mother reminded me of Psycho... which this dude obviously is. If you can deliver this much creepiness in such a short piece, I can hardly wait until you finish Snowman, so I can read it. (In broad daylight, of course...) (Something tells me YOUR Snowman won't be even the teensiest bit like Frosty.)

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    1. Hi, Susan, and I'm glad I haven't lost any friends after writing such silliness! I do wonder sometimes. I am working on it, and Stowie is helping or hampering, I'm not sure yet. :)

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  26. Oooh this so great!!! I was excited when I read your comment that the story took a dark turn since there is nothing I love more LOL. But I still didn't expect anything this dark!!! This was truly terrifying and gave me the chills. Amazing work, Yolanda!!

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    1. Hi, Julie, means a lot, thanks! Stowie does that very well!

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  27. Wow, that was dark! The thing that impressed me the most was that you took an idea that someone could pad into a full novel and expertly made it shine in only 1000 words. Awesome!

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    1. Thanks, Lexa, your assessment means the world!

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  28. Oh, that was creepy! I'm glad I read this in the morning, rather than last thing before bedtime, otherwise I would have been up all night unable to sleep. I'd have to agree with Lexa - you managed to get so much into just 1,000 words. Very impressive :-) Cheers - Ellen

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  29. YIKES!!
    Excellent piece, Yolanda! Really creepy! *shudders...looks around...checks windows*
    I can imagine the visual of that final scene with her body on the pedestal...gruesome stuff!!
    I really love your writing voice!

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  30. Yikes! Now that is truly terrifying. *shudders*

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  31. Well, pardon my language, but the ending made me say, "Oh shit." Excellent flash!

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  32. Whee! I shuddered!

    But excellent piece. Chilling and gripping.

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