by Kate Garrett
alphabet of flowers
unearth a story in this garden – a sundown walk along the overgrown path, where centipedes hide scribbling twenty times the lines we could manage with two sad hands. here is foxglove to stop hearts and twist guts; a letter addressed to lords-and-ladies who took your breath straight from your lungs, sealed your throat. what tale have you wandered into, while bats sleep and dream of midnight moments to come? hogweed leers far above your head, preparing blisters for your skin, amazed you’ve come exploring willingly beside it. you want the very worst but still your ribcage holds a shivering sparrow, watched by eyeless petalled faces, gripped by words they drip into your skull by some chlorophyll telepathy: ours. you. hunger. decay. teeth. love. soul. soil. the path narrows, the garden widens. you walk on feet. on knees. you crawl.
happy, happy they in hell
each one of you surfaces with a job to do – find a spot where the airwaves become a doorway, dance out into side streets and beer gardens like you belong here. you slide through as cigarette smoke, fumes from broken bourbon bottles. you stand up into a new body wearing denim, flannel, leather. earth is hell put on backwards; you turn to the sea, search for fires and lightning. there are no gasps or squeaks at a glimpse of beaks and rippling arms beneath holographic glamours. not one human sees the beast sent to test them. they’re eager to follow you home.
Kate Garrett is a writer and mum of five with a significant folklore, history, and horror obsession. She is the Magical Editor of Mookychick magazine, and her own writing is widely published. Her work has been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize. Born and raised in rural southern Ohio, Kate moved to the UK in 1999, where she still lives, currently in an off-duty Welsh-border vicarage.