After accepting the position as Groundskeeper (**See End Notes), Nicholas is discovering more and more about the fantastical Gardens ... Here, we may finally get into that Cabinet.
END of Chapter Four: I nodded, reaching behind them to get Constantine’s hat. Handing it to the grinning gnome, I stood and brushed off my pants.
“Now, to get into this cabinet…”
BEGIN Chapter Five:
Archie and Constantine stood on either side of me.
“Now, where would the key fit?” I mumbled, probably incoherently, to myself as I dropped to my knees.
I ran my hand over the front of the top drawer. It not only looked dented, it really was awfully banged up. My fingers confirmed some of the depressions were so deep that I feared their depth would prevent the cabinet ever opening again.
Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed Constantine staring at me, unbelieving. From my other side, one of Sir Archie’s musical snorts echoed around us.
I dropped my hands to my side and let my gaze bounce from one to the other. Both of them were staring at me like I had grown another head. Before I could ask, Constantine broke the confounding silence, those hands returning to his hips as one foot tapped out his annoyance.
“What in Ana*’s name are you doing, Groundskeeper?” His brow was as furrowed as I’d seen it yet.
Sir Archie trundled forward to face the flustered gnome, placing himself between the cabinet and me.
“Silence, ye nattering gnome!” Archie held his hand out like a policeman stopping traffic. “Groundskeeper Nicholas here be blessing the vessel of our Garden’s Texts.”
He stepped back with another of his grand flourishes and indicated I should continue.
“At your lead, Groundskeeper.”
I opened my mouth to correct him, but Constantine stepped forward and placed himself in the same spot Archie had just vacated. Only Constantine stood facing me and contritely removed his hat.
“My apologies to ye, Groundskeeper.” Constantine bowed his head briefly and then raised his eyes upward, the volume of his speech increasing somewhat. “And to ye, Ana!” He lowered his voice again. “Proceed.”
A short series of Archie’s melodious musings emanated beside me as Constantine stepped aside and indicated the cabinet with an exaggerated swish of his arm.
They both stood there with their heads bowed, like they were reverently awaiting a prayer or something.
“Guys, I–” But Archie cut me off with an insistent snapping of his fingers, an amazing feat with those claws. The action reminded me of my mom when she was on the phone and wanted us quiet.
“The blessing, Groundskeeper,” Archie chided.
Rolling my eyes, I took a deep breath and held it. What was I going to do? Slowly, I slid all the fingertips of one hand down the entire front of the cabinet as I searched my nervous brain for anything that I could ‘fake’ some sort of blessing with. Instead, I ended up just letting out the breath I’d been holding as I’d tried to think of something.
To my surprise, the top drawer opened slowly with a slight groan.
My two cohorts cheered as Constantine scrambled back on top of the cabinet, and Archie clambered onto my lap, struggling mightily to pull himself up and peer into the drawer as I opened it further.
I gasped. It was so bright inside!
to be continued…
**The Gardens at Weatherbury' is a collection of 500-word chapters about young Nicholas' continuing adventures as Groundskeeper to the unique gardens at the fantastical Weatherbury Estate. The chapters are short to maintain the attention of a pre-teen audience for whom it is written.
CAST OF CHARACTERS:
Nicholas (narrator) - young boy (current age 17), telling of adventures since accepting Weatherbury's Groundskeeper job at age 14.
Constantine – garden gnome and self-appointed on-site manager of the Gardens
Rosalind – (aka Rosa) sentient climbing rosebush whose job it is to guard the Garden Shed
Sir Archibald – (aka Archie or Sir Archie) eccentric pink armadillo tasked with organization and upkeep of the Garden Shed
Sir Phillipe - owner of Weatherbury Estate
George Thrasher – (aka G-Trash according to Constantine) former Groundskeeper, employment terminated by Sir Phillipe in Prologue
Ana - Counted among the oldest of the ancient Celtic gods in Ireland, Ana (also known as Anu, Dana, Danu, and Annan) is described as a mother goddess. She is often portrayed as a beautiful and mature woman and was associated with nature and the spiritual essence of nature, while also representing the contrasting (yet cyclic) aspects of prosperity, wisdom, death, and regeneration. [www.realmofhistory.com]
Starting the New Year off right, folks! ;-) After a delay through November/December, mid-term exams, and the holidays, Nicholas and the gang return! We shall endeavor to keep them on track this semester...
Thank you, as always, for reading me! ;-)
Image of 'Secret Garden Door' from Pinterest [www.pinterest.ca]