Stolen Garden

A Red Dress Club writing prompt

Someone has stolen something from you (or your character). Something of tremendous value. What will you do to get it back? Or will you give up?

Write a post – fiction or non – and tell us about it. Word limit is 600.

This post revisits fictional characters originally seen in “The Garden”, and immediately follows last Friday’s prompt: “Educating the Angelic Flower“. It can also be read as a stand alone.

For those who wanted to “turn the page”.


Stale air surrounded me, as if I was a toy packed in an attic box.

My eyes fluttered open, flashing the unfamiliar room as if viewing a slide show.

Yellowed afghan covering my body. It itched.

Iron bed frame with a clean white dress draped over it.

Wooden cross on the wall with crucified Jesus.

Ancient wall clock ticking loud enough I winced.

Moth eaten white curtains framing the tiny window.

My new husband watching me from a chair in the corner.

Fear raced up my spine, as the nightmare flooded back to me.

The hot farm water smelling of sulfur, rinsing away the outdoor grime.

The curtain rod ripped away, clattering to the ground.

The white hot needles as my wet hair pulled me out of the tiny tub, my shin banging against the edge.

The fury in his eyes as the hands I loved wrapped around my throat, his strength branding my naked body with the cold towel rack behind me.

The words spat at me.

Dirty. Ungrateful. Whore. Ruined.

The fight to breathe as the outer rim of my world dimmed before a black curtain fell.

It had to be dream.

Lily, you’re awake. Good. I was worried about you.”

I opened my mouth to speak, but only a croak emerged.

It hurt to swallow.

“Here.” He stood, walking next to my bed.

My heart skipped a beat. I wanted to flee even though his body blocked the door.

He delicately picked up a glass of water on the nightstand. “Lily, drink this.”

The water soothed the dryness even as my throat struggled to gulp it down.

The cold water dribbled down the corner of my mouth, over my neck, and onto the towel beneath my still wet hair.

It had to be a dream.

Prepared with a small towel in hand, he wiped away the liquid trail. “Lily, I let my anger get the best of me.” He caressed the top of my head and frowned at me, as if I was an ill child. “You were careless.”

Nausea danced in my stomach.

Not a dream.

“You are my angel. My Lily. You will be the mother of my children. I cannot tolerate filth or dirt, especially on my perfect flower. You promised me.”

Guilt. This I knew, witnessing his temper once before, after tracking mud into his apartment. The anger. My promise never to do it again.

My excitement over the space, the land, and the garden cloaking the memory from view.

“You ruined the dress. You destroyed my gift to you.”

“I’m sorry.” My voice a whisper. I shouted with my eyes, trying to say what my words couldn’t.

His face softened. “There are rules, Lily. Follow those rules, and we can be happy. Break them, and there are consequences.”

I managed a weak nod. I wouldn’t forget.

He smiled, his face transforming into the man I loved again. “Excellent. Dinner is in thirty minutes. Do you need help getting ready?”

I shook my head.

He hovered over me, planting a soft kiss on my forehead before backing away. “Very well. Do not be late, Lily. Grandmother will not tolerate it.”

The door clicked behind him.

I fought to rise, the splitting headache and the tucked in sheets holding me prisoner.

Finally, I swung my feet to the bare wood floor, clad only in a foreign flannel nightgown, the hazy nightmare dissipating after his smile.

He was my life. I’d sworn to be his. Forever. To love, honor, cherish, and obey.

He promised me babies to hold.

I’d given up everything for this wish.

He could steal my garden too.


Constructive criticism wanted and greatly appreciated.


About Kelly K @ Dances with Chaos

Kelly K has learned the five steps to surviving of motherhood: 1) Don't get mad. Grab your camera. 2) Take a photograph. 3) Blog about it. 4) Laugh. 5) Repeat. She shares these tales at Dances with Chaos in order to preserve what tiny amount of sanity remains. You can also find her on her sister blog, Writing with Chaos ( sharing memoir and engaging in her true love: fiction writing. It's cheaper than therapy.
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17 Responses to Stolen Garden

  1. Frelle says:

    Again with the repeated knife stabs in my heart. Oh you just kill me with the vividness of this. It’s morbidly beautiful, the way you tell this tale.

  2. soberjulie says:

    Wow well written!!
    I hate the situation which I can see so easily, I was absorbed.

  3. Yeah, you’re right. Some of your characters are NOT likeable or relatable. But girl, you can bring the dark and scary and evil.
    Going forward, do we see venom from the grandmother?

  4. C.Mom says:

    The power of these words…the vividness that brings goosebumps. I find my self pulling for your eyes to actually be able to shout (“I’m sorry.” My voice a whisper. I shouted with my eyes, trying to say what my words couldn’t.).

  5. Very good!
    And yes. I. Want. More.

  6. angela says:

    I mean this as a compliment, so don’t be offended, but wow you can really bring the nasty! The details and vividness of the scene you’ve painted turns my stomach, and then I think of The Garden and can’t wait to find out how this story becomes that one.

  7. Ilana says:

    This was my favorite piece in this storyline yet. Every detail felt vivid and necessary. I loved how you were sparser with your words but they packed just as powerful a punch. Even more so. I also know that moment all to well when you wake up and briefly think that bad thing didn’t really happen. You captured that well. I honestly have nothing critical to say!

  8. Nadya Booyse says:

    Love the story and you were rerally great with the imagery.

  9. Kim says:

    Lordy! This was so well done. Love me a deranged lunatic who can seem perfectly normal. I’ll be back to follow this one!

  10. Kir says:

    ths story is so powerful and so truly scary, but I love it. I can’t wait to see where’s it’s going from here and this piece of it, written in the one sentences sequence at the top, I truly loved. Almost James Patterson like, you told us all we needed with so few words. Excellent.

  11. Overall, well done, Kelly. I’m a fan of sparser writing in general so I liked that.

    The beginning could be stronger, in my opinion.

    Stale air surrounded me, as if I was a toy packed in an attic box.

    My eyes fluttered open, flashing the unfamiliar room as if viewing a slide show.

    You have two similes in the first two sentences. Not sure how much they add.

    Yellowed afghan covering my body. It itched.

    Then you have this sentence, which is actually a fragment. It should be “A yellowed afghan covered my body.”

    But then the “it itched” seems out of place with the flow of the first two sentences. So it could be “An itchy yellowed afghan covered my body” or “The yellowed afghan itched my body where it covered me.” Something like that.

    Also, why does he keep saying Lily? Is that something he just does?

    If this was the first time he beat her, I can’t believe a smile from him would erase it. Maybe more backstory is needed to answer why she wouldn’t ask what the eff was going on.

    And a grown man of 30 is dropping trou for his grandmother? Lots of ickiness there – how has he acted “normal” for Lilly?

    You’re definitely painting a creepy scenario!

  12. Galit Breen says:

    Oh, GF always so chilling, so crystal clear in front of me!

    I loved all of the details that placed me there- the quilt, the cross, the clock. I could hear their voices, see their feelings.

    I loved this part: “Nausea danced in my stomach. Not a dream.” for the perfect use of few words, powerful punch.

    I can honestly say that I want to know more about these creepy peeps. What does that say about me?!


  13. MamaRobinJ says:

    This really is dripping with nastiness. Good job! The blame from him really comes across. The part I’m stuck on is whether I believe he would really be sitting there when she wakes up. Is that intentional? Does it say something about the kind of person he is? I’d like to know 😉

  14. Mandyland says:

    Creepier and creepier. I want Lily to run, but at least I know she’ll get some sort of revenge in the end.

    I have no concrit. The only thing that niggled at me were the similies at the beginning, but Cheryl already covered that.

    I feel like you’re writing a horror book and I can’t put it down!

  15. Kelly says:

    Holy crap! This was so chilling. I love how vivid you can make a scene with so few words.

    My only drawback was this line….
    “The white hot needles as my wet hair pulled me out of the tiny tub, my shin banging against the edge.”

    I can’t really picture what is happening here…how is the hair pulling her out of the tub?

    The rest….I just want to scream “GET OUT!”

    Love it!!

  16. OH Kelly!
    This was gut wrenching!
    Writing it now from Lily’s perspective was a fantastic idea and made me hold my breath the entire time.

  17. So last night my computer and all technology hated me and I tried to leave a comment here. I will try to paraphrase here again… OMG this is just so scary! and I love the creepiness of it. He is one really awful guy and I can’t wait for him to get in the “Garden”.
    I’m dying to know what she means when “she gave up everything” what’s the everything. I can’t wait to find out. please turn the page again…

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