Here, I attempted experimented with story-telling through description.
A lone tree stands. Its thick, golden bark radiates colours of light around me. Rays of gold fill the air. I inhale the rich light, filling my lungs with unnatural pleasure. Stepping out of my haze, as if enchanted, I allow my feet to carry me towards it. I wander on, only barely aware of the fluorescently-glowing grass scratching at the soles of my feet. On the soft blades of grass lay diamonds of frost. I am warmly at peace in this unknown world, yet racked with confusion; there is no sun, no sky, still a tree taller than the greatest mountain lies ahead of me. There is no wind, no rain, yet the grass, lain with frost, grows green and thick. I do not know what this place is, and I do not know how I got here, but within this tranquil bizzarity I know I am home.
I feel a sudden rush of awakening as I slowly get nearer to the tree. The light shines strongly here. The air takes on a new density. I reach out. The magnificence of the majestic tree engulfs me.
A wild wind rustles the boughs. Suddenly, the tree turns to bloom. Birds race to perch on the branches while pink blossoms flower out, coating the tree in petals of silk. I listen to the song of birds, I hear them laughing. I watch the tree dancing to the beat of the wind. I hear the gentle fall of the water into the river. Swerving my head, I catch the reflection of the sun on the splashing waterfall. One touch and this world awakes revealing a perfection never seen or known before. The light blinds me. Then my mind travels.
Suddenly I’m back.
The exposed light bulb fell on the floor, its shade smashed on the carpet. The flash of light blinded my eyes, plunging me into utter void. His boiling breath soiled my mother’s face. Dangerous eyes flashed into hers. I could feel her fear, her humiliation, her regret for talking faster than her mind could think. Like thunder, my step-father’s voice blew the house apart, roaring into every bedroom, every hall, through every door of our small mansion. Silence. His stone arm lifted and fell on my mother’s soft face. I heard the slap, I heard the gasp and I heard his breath. Together, they were like a carefully stewed potion of hate. A witch’s wicked work. His feet bouldered the floor as he stamped out the room. With her tears dampening my world and her black hair shadowing my home, my mum crumbled to the ground. I looked back at the light, and again, all I saw was blinding white.
Tears spring to my eyes at the bitter memory, but this world is far too beautiful to allow bad thoughts to remain. Yet in all its beauty, I feel as lonely as this majestic tree, the only one of my kind in the most enchanting of lands. I listen to the birds woo each other with songs of love, and I feel so full of love yet empty for no return. I watch the blossoms fall together and see partnership in even the flower, yet I’m alone.
I release my thoughts with the water that flows under the bridge. I follow the river, across the lime grass, jumping between stepping-stones on the way. The frosty droplets splash at my feet. I bend to catch them. Just as I reach out, I hear the chuckle of children in a distance. Instantly, I stand and jump from stepping-stone to stepping-stone, overwhelmed by the prospect of overcoming loneliness. Following their light laughter, I run fast. through amazed eyes, I stop and gaze at the grandest gates ever created. Slowly and faultlessly they open, as if awaiting my arrival. I step through.
Children are chasing each other through rows of small trees of purple blossoms. Girls run with their hair chasing them. Boys play with grins tickling their ears. I see a small, silver bench, deserted and lonely, and I remember the park from my window.
The wind growled through the bare trees that bordered the vandalised park. I gazed out of my window, pleading with the wind to blow me away. It didn’t listen. Neither did they. The small, wooden bench sat isolated in the cold with indecent images scrawled across its dirty panes. The house was unusually quiet. I faltered into the living room and sat cross-legged on the trodden carpet. He was there, sprawled across the sofa with my mum sitting at his feet. Without warning, my stomach groaned. I froze in embarrassment. He mistook it for passing wind, and with that single act, my ‘home’ erupted once again; “How dare you disrespect me in my own home!” he spat, rising from his position. I began to stutter, stupidly explaining it was my stomach rumbling. Unexpectedly, he was on me, screaming and hitting. “Liar! Liar!” I curled, protecting my frail body from the blows of a bull. That evening, I looked to my mother with an eye as black as his heart, and told her I wanted out. She cried. I cried. And as usual, it was forgotten with the setting sun.
The sun shines down in this garden, illuminating the bench. I walk towards it and sit. I glance around at the garden once again, taking in the smiles and laughs; and I leave through the grand gates, confident of my return.
I find a second path and follow its unfurling way. Shortly after, I see towers peaking out behind even more majestic trees. I walk on, gathering pace, excited at the first view of building in this world.
I freeze. I gawp, for the bricks of this castle are formed of gold. The towers reach to the sky, and this third garden is more imposing than all the others. Trees of various fruits embellish it, and its fountains host the most beautiful birds. From the ground grow tulips of red and purple and roses of cream and red. Pearl snow drops line the borders, enhanced by size and shine. Lavender bushes of immense vibrancy fragrance the air. Rivers of milk and honey stream through bank walls of pearl stones, winding in and out.
I reach the grand doors and walk inside the palace. Its beauty is entrancing. I walk on under chandeliers of millions of diamonds, up the finest oak stairs with the smoothest finish, through rooms of pleasurable fragrance until reaching a room. I open the door to find a white desk. On it stands a mirror and a small sheet of paper. I can feel my heart banging beneath my chest. Droplets of sweat form at the crease of my brow. My hands grow clammy. I learn what I already know.
I sat on my hard chair gazing into my cracked mirror. Staring back was a face of forlornness. My door remained shut, blocking out the noise, the screams and the fear. I looked down at the 40 pills spilled out on the murky, white desk; the brown bottle from which they came lay in eternal sleep. A glass of ice-cold water was disposed of in the corner. Slowly, I counted them out, “one two three… twenty-nine, thirty. That should do it,” I thought. My hands trembled like the lamb midway through slaughter. I took a gulp of the ice-cold water to steady my nerves, felt it slicing through my throat for the last time. I grabbed the pen and paper, and wrote.
I know what the paper will tell me. I wrote it. I’m home. Alone. Forever regretful. ‘Sorry’. These gardens will imprison me. These gardens of beauty and harmony. These gardens of love and freedom.
These gardens of paradise.