Evergreen…

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Cold starlight and winter winds, the only caress on a faded cheek. Memories slither through the gaps in the trees to people the night. She hadn’t walked this path for a long time. The first time, she had been young; half a smile at that, bitter now, an uneasy motion of lips that have forgotten softness. Weakness! The softness, or the forgetting? She wonders, just for a moment, shrugging off the answer. It doesn’t matter. None of it matters any more. Just one more nail in the coffin.

She is too old for this.

Even the spade is too heavy. Cursing arthritic hands, she uses it as a cane instead. At least it has rained. The ground will be wet…

Through the broken gate and into the wood. There would be bluebells in spring. Now, though, the place looks forlorn, draped in ivy and the last brittle leaves. The sack hits a stone. She winces. It is getting too much for her, but there is no-one she could ask for help. No-one left.

She had never asked. There had never been anyone who would have understood. So she has never told…

A fallen trunk gives her a place to rest. Warm breath makes ragged ghosts in the night. She would have to stop soon… maybe this will be the last time she would visit the wood. Or… maybe not.

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Not far now. Her handiwork begins to surround her. Exotic trees of all ages flower out of season, the planting of half a century makes a spiral of colour in the moonlight of the little clearing. Children play here in summer, finding fairyland under the blossom, poets find inspiration in its delicacy and lovers a secret bower of beauty when the moon is full…
For a little while she walks through the trees, reaching out a hand to caress the bark , the tenderness of a lover in her fingertips. She can lose herself in memory here…

Not tonight, though. Soon the frost will come… there is another tree to plant…

Weary already, she carefully cuts the turf and lays it beside the sack… winter green against the fragile pink branches that peep from its opening. When she is done, the sapling will grow undisturbed. Evergreen, this one. It will outlive her, she knows. She breaks the earth and begins to dig. Deeper and deeper. A satisfaction in the ache of muscles long accustomed to the work. Slower though, now… after a lifetime…

Finally it is deep enough. Just wide enough for the roots to be spread, but deep, very deep.

She drags the sack closer, taking out the sapling and gently spreading root and branch she lays it aside. It will be a beautiful addition to her secret garden. Then she tips the body head first into its narrow grave. He’d lasted longer than the others… she thought, as the earth closed over him. He deserved an evergreen…

x sheff jan 082

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at scvincent.com and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email: findme@scvincent.com.
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53 Responses to Evergreen…

  1. Wonderful and chilling. The images go perfectly with the story.

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  2. Éilis Niamh says:

    Fantastic story, Sue! Really creepy.

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  3. Widdershins says:

    Still, the Summer Queen will have her due, stubborn or no.

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  4. stevetanham says:

    Positively evil! x

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Susan Scott says:

    Positively chilly! Lovely evocative writing Sue, had no idea it would go this way ..

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  6. jenanita01 says:

    Evil,? I don’t think so, this is too atmospherically beautiful to be evil. Beautifully written, Sue…

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  7. alienorajt says:

    Fabulous, Sue – love it! xxx

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  8. Well that ending sure changed the “ahhh’ feelings of a special garden! 🙂 Well done!

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  9. What a mood you’ve created here, Sue, creepy and beautiful at the same time. The images are a perfect fit. Puts a whole new meaning to “secret garden”. Wonderful piece. Bravo. ☺

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  10. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    Another gripping story for you this morning… Sue Vincent at her story telling best.

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  11. I have no doubt this is based on true storIES. I can empathise with her.

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  12. Beautiful and haunting

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  13. I was writing a really fascinating comment when my computer crashed. First time I’ve ever had a computer do that, and this bugger isn’t even a week old!
    Anyway, I was saying what a chilling little tale this is. I love the illustrations too, so creepily evocative when you know the outcome. I would like to know though, is the body her old man, or is it a…baby? Tell me it isn’t a baby.

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  14. Julia Lund says:

    Beautiful writing that wooed me right to the unexpected end.

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  15. olganm says:

    Wow! You pull no punches dear Sue. Fabulous. And I agree with everybody that the images complement the text perfectly (and vice versa). 🙂

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  16. Beautiful photos and words!

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  17. A haunting scene. Oh my. Chilling story and especially so because the woman isn’t young and we do not know what was in the sack with the evergreen.
    “He’d lasted longer than the others…” puts me in mind of beast rather than man because a man would be too heavy to carry along with the small tree. You don’t have to tell… 😀 😀

    Love the eerie illustrations as the story unfolds. ❤ 🙂

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  18. Oh my!! What a shock at the end! She must be very strong to carry her lover, AND a tree!

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  19. seanbidd says:

    Like flesh between bones, a story with ambiance deep inside the night shadows of a wood’s companion… Love the tale!

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  20. She’s fairly strong if she can carry both a body and a tree. Great creating of the atmosphere, Sue.
    Well done as always. 🙂 — Suzanne

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  21. What a wonderfully creepy story, The photos were eerily beautiful and fitted the story beautifully!

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  22. Delightfully creepy! Great photos and storytelling.

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