In the Garden

A short story about a celebration gone awry. Join Elana Peters on her 3-5 chapter journey into the unknown...

Rebecca Peters had a nose like a deformed grape.

It was of a smallish, modest size, slightly scrunched at the top. Her lips were smooth and glassy, her frightened eyes accentuated by a bold blue liner. A maroon skirt swished just below her knees, dangling there as a constant reminder that in pants she'd cut a figure too grotesquely fat to stand at any sort of social function.

She sipped her coffee nervously, seeming surprised at the aggressive heat which spawned from the rim.

"Elana!"

"Yes, Mama."

"Don't keep our guests waiting, now."

"No, Mama."

Rebecca wrinkled her nose, as if at an offensive odor.

"And change into your lavender dress. That one needs a trip to the dry cleaner's like there's no tomorrow."

"Certainly, Mama."

"One more thing."

Elana glanced up, nervous as a kid sent to the principal's office. Would this be about the portal in the attic? If it was, her life may as well have been a withering candle, its flame flickering dangerously.

"Remind your sisters to help me with the sandwiches, and make sure Carlo tidies up his room, then return back to me. If just one thing goes wrong at this party-"

The tired woman shook her head in despair, shooting her daughter a meaningful glance. If the Robinsons got the wrong idea, their whole family would be kaput. Boom boom. Just like that.

"Y-yes, Mama. I'll go find Caroline and Nathora."

"Good idea."

The fourteen-year-old girl marched off in pursuit of her sisters, who were giggling over some magazine, with some sort of spotlight dangling precariously over their heads.

"Mama wants you to help with the sandwiches."

Nathora looked up, still chuckling mirthfully at God knows what.

"Tell her I hate egg salad."

"Well, maybe she won' t make egg salad sandwiches this time."

"She always does."

"You still have to do it, you know."

"Nag, nag. All the time. Leave us alone, will ya?"

"Yeah, leave us alone," Caroline echoed, flipping one of the gossamer pages. "We're doing something."

Elana sighed.

"The Robinsons are coming."

"Oh."

They  looked at each other with something approaching despair.

Then the ten-year-old twins dashed off and Elana ran for her older brother Carlo.

"Pick up your room or Mama will kill you," she gasped.

"Huh?"

"The Robinsons are coming! Today!"

"God damn it."

Elana blushed, not being accustomed to hearing vulgar language.

"Mama should force them to clear out, like the garbage they are. Listen, sis, I don't think you should come to the party."

A blank stare.

"I mean it, sis. Look, the Robinsons are evil in a way I can't even begin to describe. Grab a little something from the table, and run. I'm serious. Take my advice- there's no accounting for these people. And obviously the twins should stay away too."

"But Mama said it's alright."

"I hate to say it, Elana, but Mama can be pretty stupid about these kinds of things."

Then Carlo promptly slammed the door, leaving Elana to ponder his words. She pressed her nose to the window, fogging up the glass. The garden lay outside, peaceful and serene, the perfect place to celebrate a birthday. But some birthday Caroline was going to get.

She didn't know how long she stood there glued to the panes, but it must've been a long time because she smelled tuna and cakes, and saw her mother lugging them outdoors, and minutes later the sandwiches and juices and pastries and things followed, and Nathora even carried a tea kettle all by herself, using the utmost caution. Mmm, Earl Grey and honey chamomile...

"The Robinsons are here!" hollered Mama from downstairs.

 

The End

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