Cultivated Garden by
Robert B. Hazelton
was a garden on the west side of the house, hiding beneath the
eaves from the more drastic weather. It wasn’t an elaborate
affair; just large enough for one person to manage with a little
sweat. Over the years, the plot had known many crops from daisies
to carrots to strawberries with everything in between and often
two to three at the same time. All the while it had been void
of weeds and the soil had been kept clear though a week of neglect
seemed to already be taking its toll.
patch nearest the house had always been a weed problem. As fast
they could be removed, they often found their way back within
a few days, peaking through the lush soil like a child guiltily
peering down the stairs Christmas morning. Though that small section
had been quarantined for years, it now bled throughout, little
brown strains mixed amongst the green of the current crops.
noted all of this from the window of her bedroom that overlooked
her pride and joy since she was barely ten. Over the last year
and a half, life had lost its luster for the twenty-seven year
old but the garden had lingered as joy until two weeks prior.
Too many things had happened; too many things hadn’t happened.
The dichotomy was too much to bear and she had made her decision
on how to end it.
glanced across the yard at the setting sun, frowning back a bitter
sensation that boiled in her chest. The emotion threatened to
overwhelm her to tears but she swore she wouldn’t cry again—not
so close to her solution. Her weakness was already going to be
on display for the world. There was no reason to compound it with
back to her vanity, she sat down and peered into the mirror. She
was dressed for the occasion in the same black gown she wore when
her mother was buried. It hung low on the shoulders, sweeping
in a subtle arch which revealed a field of pale skin. The corset
gave her breasts some lift which in turn revealed a liberal amount
of cleavage. At the waist, the skirt flared out, falling to her
her slender neck, she wore a black silk choker that was bound
in the center by a perfectly oval onyx; matching earrings dripped
from her ears, two black dots on white gold threads. She glanced
down at her recently manicured hands; hands that were accustomed
to the work outside looked alien to her in their pristine condition.
Turning her arm to point her palm toward the ceiling, her eyes
examined the trace of vein that meandered along a patch of white
toward her fingers.
reached over with her free hand and lifted the implement of her
release; a long blade she spirited away from her father’s
study. The knife had been in their family for generations and
she was quite certain it had tasted blood before. Death was a
constant companion in her household; it had fed well on enemies
and friends alike.
the world was different now, modernized… safe. Or maybe
the violence was just more civilized. War certainly wasn’t
stayed by the trivialities of civilized culture. Really, the nicer
clothes and better carriages, the larger homes and table manners,
none of them mattered. They were nothing more than elaborate facades
to hide the true nature of humanity, the seething animosity they
have for sanctity. Why did people try so desperately to obscure
the chaos that ruled their hearts? The world made no sense to
as bad as that.” The silky masculine voice floated on the
air near her ears and yet it was so quiet she could’ve sworn
it was confined to her thoughts. “Is the world truly so
bleak as to plan such an end?”
heart beat a bit faster and though a part of her wanted to turn
around, a rational side told her ‘there’s nothing
in the mirror, you’re imagining things’. Or was she?
Could this be a voice from heaven? The final chance to not commit
a mortal sin? Or just her conscience begging her to stay her hand?
But what was there to live for? Nothing in this world anymore…
or ever if she wanted to get picky.
have a flare for the dramatic,” The voice continued on,
a bit more audible now. There was definitely someone in the room.
She just wasn’t willing to look to see who… especially
if they weren’t casting a reflection. “Dressed in
your funeral finery, looking more striking than any of those strumpets
that scorned your company years ago. All because of religious
convictions too… So much for the concept of togetherness
looking down on your little garden. Do you feel that it’s
passed its prime? Like it’s hopeless? It’s only lost
what you’re unwilling to give it back you know.”
Anne found her voice but couldn’t form anymore words.
I know what you’re thinking. There’s nothing left
to live for. No point. The death of your mother, of your sister,
your cousin, all of them weigh heavily on your soul and now, alone
with your father as your only living relative you feel fragile
and exposed. You feel old despite the fact that you’re not
even half way through your prime. Everything stacks against you,
like the cancerous weeds that dominate your garden, you feel overwhelmed.
Am I wrong?”
She whispered, shaking her head. “I just… can’t.”
can’t? You won’t. There’s a big difference.
But you’re right, this existence, this life has no point
for you.” She heard movement for the first time, a footfall
near the window. “Your guilt right now, the thing that stayed
your hand for the briefest moment lies outside this window. Who
would tend the garden? You think that you’re abandoning
it but really, that happened already. I don’t think you
could sever ties any faster unless you started to destroy things.”
do you want?” A tear was sliding down her cheek now, the
tears in her eyes brightening their blue to a vibrant shade. The
effect made her look so… alive.
He said it with so much simple directness that her heart caught
in her throat. Finally, she turned to look at him, her eyes widening
at the site.
was an unearthly youth about the man that stood before her. Perfect
skin was pale though still retained some of the darker skin tone
native to someone of Slavic descent… perhaps gypsy even.
Black hair tumbled down his back, tied into a tail, pulled back
from a noble brow. His body was lithe, a fact mirrored by his
high cheek bones and thin cheeks. The elaborate ruffled shirt
beneath a gentleman’s coat seemed a bit out of place on
him, as though it required effort to look as though they belonged.
her evaluation of his appearance, she couldn’t meet his
eyes. Something in her wouldn’t allow her to as if she wasn’t
worthy. It was an absurd feeling, a thought that she found more
frustration in than embarrassment. Point of fact, she should be
outraged. How did this man get in? He was obviously some fop but…
for the fact that he wasn’t… casting a reflection….
if she wasn’t already in the pits of despair, she might
have been afraid but as it was the fact merely intrigued her.
“Why?” She finally thought to ask, wondering what
about her could have enamored him enough to bring about this encounter.
However fleeting, however peripherally, the mere thought of being
wanted even by this bizarre… person… brought a shimmer
of hope to her heart.
you’ve been unwanted for so long.” Once again, he
said it as though it were a fact any child should know. “Your
father doesn’t even look at you anymore. He sees your mother
in your face, in those sharp features and that smooth skin. He
sees your brother in those glittering eyes and hears the laughter
in your voice. You remind him of death so he treats you like you
embody doom. Since the death of your last relative, you’ve
been dead to him as well. You might as well have drowned in that
boating accident you escaped from. Maybe that was even expected.”
can you speak so lightly about… about all that’s happened?”
not?” He shrugged, casually leaning against the window frame.
“That sort of thing happens all the time. Granted, it happened
to you in greater frequency and closer together but others suffer
day in and day out. Your pain was over quickly, only you force
it to linger. Imagine a debilitating disease without the funds
for a possible cure or the withering of flesh as age trims away
the edges of what once was a great person. Compared along side
what you’ve gone through, it makes your complaints out to
be rather… petty.”
reprimand pushed her over the edge. She dropped the knife to the
floor and buried her face in her hands, crying with all the desperation
that had driven her to want death. How could he be so cold? Why
was he there to mock her pain? Was this God’s preface to
hell? Eternal torment could never be so horrifying as her life
had been over the course of her adult life. Nothing could, nothing
not just the others, is it?” The voice asked in a knowing
sort of way as if intending to draw attention rather than seek
looked up, brows furrowed. Through the blurry vision her tears
created, her calm tormentor was a white blur against the backdrop
of the waning twilight. His arms were at his side but the gap
between them and his body were filled in by their obscured outlines.
It occurred to her that he looked something like an angel. Perhaps
he was a messenger from God… someone to give her the final
chance to return to the fold before she destroyed her soul forever.
don’t know what you mean.”
course you know what I mean. You haven’t found love in this
life. You don’t believe in it anymore. Such a frivolous
waste of time, isn’t it? Love’s just a measure of
a man’s vanity to get a woman to go to bed with him and
a woman’s tool to not have to live with her parent’s
for the rest of her days—to not be a spinster. A way to
escape the lot of a life that’s been bound to servitude
by social standards. Love’s not a state of being or an attainable
virtue, it’s a weapon of statecraft and the eternal struggle
between the sexes.” He paused in his long winded oration.
“Bitterness, does not become you.”
would you know?” Anne cried her angst in response. “How
do you know anything?”
I’ve lived it, my dear.” He stepped across the room,
extending his hand to touch her cheek but stopping short. The
hand hovered there for a moment before he drew it away, balling
his fingers into a fist. “Because I know how the world works
and how the independent organisms move throughout it. I know what
drives humanity and what creates the angst that you’re toiling
through right now. All of these things I’ve had to learn
and they’ve all had a cost… sometimes such payment
was more than I thought I could bear. But as you can see, here
I stand and as I said before ‘it’s not as bad as all
have a lot of lofty words and philosophy but you haven’t
told me why you’re here. What are you? Are you angel? Demon?
Am I hallucinating?”
questions. The very act of asking them says something about your
perception. It would be nice to think of myself as something divine
but then I’d be walking down your path, fooling myself about
the world and my role in it. I would be complaining or feel compelled
to kill myself because I was not true to my beliefs. You are in
denial of all things: your place, your suffering, my existence…
Laboring on to cite you more examples wastes time that could be
better spent elsewhere.”
I don’t understand…” Anne said with a painful
desperation in her voice. “Why can’t I just die in
peace? Why does even my end have to be full of torment? I know
that I couldn’t find anyone… No one would look at
me. Not after all that’s happened with my family. Not after
they thought—“ The words caught in her throat and
she clenched her fists in frustration.
they thought you might’ve helped your cousin to die?”
He asked. “Of course not. Would any father allow his son
into the arms of a potential murderess? Even one so stunning as
you? Perhaps not at present but what of the future?”
future?” She shot at him. “Who are you?”
name is Sasha.” He inclined his head slightly. “And
I’ve come to offer you a future apart from all this…
do you mean?” The first inkling of fear swam through her
veins like icy fish disturbing a warm river. The tone in his voice
was so dangerous, so knowing and so utterly without regret. She
suddenly wanted him to go, feared him more than she feared death…
Whatever he wanted or had to offer could not be good and would
certainly not be the will of any sort of beneficial deity…
But what if that was just paranoia? Ingrained spiritual nonsense
from church? Maybe everyone was wrong. He seemed to have the answers…
Even without looking into his eyes, she could feel the confidence
surging out of him like waves of heat from a stallion after a
want to save you the fate of the garden, Anne. I want to bring
you peace and let you see the world through a new set of eyes.
Opened and aware, you’ll finally have the faculties to appreciate
your experiences rather than react to them.”
stood from her chair and walked up beside Sasha, staring out the
window at her garden. It had been a long time since she saw it
through a filter of love, for so long she’d seen it as therapy
against all the monstrosities she’d experienced and the
neglect she felt. Life had proven to be universally unfair for
it could be taken away with mind numbing rapidity and yet from
the same action of swift resolution, could torment for years.
weeds had gone even more out of control than she had noticed before.
The other plants were suffering though the signs were subtle.
She had worked too long in that little patch to not be capable
of seeing even the slightest signs of impending disaster. If she
was gone, would anyone tend that garden? Probably not. It would
rot and overgrow, becoming a grass mount of weeds and bugs, a
domicile to unwanted creatures and eventually nothing would be
able to be done for it other than to tear it out completely and
start over. All if she just surrendered her life… it would
all be over and though she knew that she wouldn’t have such
earthly concerns upon a successful completion of her plan, the
bit of life that clung to her cried out against such an injustice.
can you do?” She was hoping to put some strength behind
the question but came out meek and submissive, like she was hoping
he would take charge, praying that he would lead her on to what
she was unwilling or incapable of seeking alone.
felt cold fingers touch the edge of her chin, gently turning her
head from the window to look up into rich, brown eyes, gazing
down at her with the most resolute kindness she had ever seen
in her entire life. She could spend a lifetime staring into his
soul, exploring the depth of thought and creativity was overwhelming.
His gaze made her feel small, insignificant to the power that
came from total mastery of himself—a mastery she could only
imagine submitting to, never possessing.
don’t have to be outside anymore.” Sasha’s words
were strangely effecting, a double meaning spoke to her soul.
How long had she felt like an outsider? How long had she wished
that she could be apart of something?
was it anything like that at all? Was it really about being apart?
Or was it about surety? What was sure in life? Nothing. All the
precautions in the world, hiding under the bed, locking the door,
dressing warm against the cold… none of them mattered if
it was your time. Nature was uncaring. The world continued on
whether the fragility of life and love endured, whether or not
the petty squabbling and concerns of mortality ended in peace
or disaster… It helped bring her terror into sharp focus.
I… can you…” The questions formed at her lips
but ended with her thoughts. She closed her eyes, tilting her
head slightly in a silent form of acceptance—the first time
that she felt that giving into fate was the right choice, that
she was in good hands.
passed by… a minute seemed to tick by a year when finally
she felt Sasha’s fingers dance like feathers up arms to
her neck. The sensation brought goose pimples to her skin, making
her body shiver with a mixture of delight and surprise. She’d
never felt the touch of a man before but she’d thought about
the subject a thousand times. Intimacy was the thing she craved
most in life—and it’s the one thing that she was denied
time and time again.
moved around her back, unhooking the choker and dropping it to
the floor. It seemed to take a little too much time to fall, the
clack of the onyx on the hardwood a few moments later than Anne
would’ve thought. His fingers continued to move sliding
up her head and plunging into her black curls. A moment later,
he removed the sticks binding the hair there, letting it topple
to her shoulders and below.
body was an organism of shivering now. Anne had never been so
turned on in her life. Every ounce of her being was longing for
more of his touch but his fingers merely teased their way back
down to her shoulders, pausing for just a moment then questing
onward toward the front of her gown. There was a lace there that
kept the bodice closed and though the gown couldn’t come
off with her corset on, her breasts could easily be revealed by
a few well placed tugs.
knot was undone first and her nipples were greeted with a light
breeze, a sensation that brought them immediately to full attention.
Anne expected more teasing, she expected anything but what happened.
All at once, she felt the hot of Sasha’s mouth close over
her breast, his tongue moving around the nipple softly as he sucked.
Though it was a sudden movement, his action wasn’t rough.
Quite the contrary, it was just the right amount of attention
to make her body shake and her loins stiffen with desire.
she thought that she wouldn’t be able to take much more,
he brought a hand up and pinched the other, causing her to jump.
Finally, the desire and passion was too much to bear and she lost
track of the concept of ‘impropriety’. She lifted
her arms and cradled his head, holding him in place as he continued
to suck and lick.
soon as she was thus stabilized, she realized that she wouldn’t
have had much of a choice with her knees beginning to shake from
his tender ministrations. There were so many things that she wanted
but didn’t know how to ask for, motions she could envision
in her heart but could never describe with her brain, places she
wanted to be touched that were too taboo to mention…
barely realized that Sasha had stopped tending to her nipple when
suddenly, her corset was torn, the tatters falling to the floor
as he violently cleared the path between him and the hot, aroused
flesh beneath. She let go of his head and nearly stumbled back
but he caught her about the waist, lifting her up and carrying
her to the bed. Once there, he managed to hold her aloft with
one arm while removing the rest of her ruined garment.
shivered from cold and fear, unsure of what was happening next
but certain that she no longer had any control over it. There
was no stopping now. She had to trust Sasha implicitly for good
or ill and despite her mental trepidation, her body was already
accepting the inevitable.
was moist and hot between her legs, a sensation she had felt before
but never so intense. Her eyes were still closed but she heard
another rip of cloth, a garment striking the floor. Sasha was
hovering over her, she could feel his presence and shortly, she
felt his lips, kissing her bare stomach, ever moving slowly down.
locks of his hair had escaped their bonds, the ends tickling her
flesh with every ragged breath that she took. Seemingly by instinct,
she separated her legs as he kissed her abdomen and as his mouth
nearly hovered over her sex, she held her breath tightly, and
clasped the bed covers in anticipation.
hesitated, breathing softly on the fold of skin he was about to
taste. When he was certain she could not handle the suspense much
longer, he brushed the tip of his tongue gently against her, taking
a long, leisurely lick that tore a moan from her throat. He paused,
letting her writhe in frustration before returning for another
moans became incessant, she reached down and took hold of his
head in a wanton moment of passion, pulling his head against her.
His tongue had perfect rhythm, working with her body’s motions
and keeping up with each convulsive display of pleasure, dragging
out every second of sensation. He seemed to govern the mounting
pressure in her loins, dragging it higher and higher…
at once, her eyes opened wide and her mouth was wide with a silent
scream. She spread her legs further apart, bucking her hips to
give him better access. Waves of orgasm flashed over her like
chills during a fever, lightening her head, burning her senses
into one cohesive entity of pleasure.
felt tears leak out of her eyes and she shivered and moaned through
a serious of experiences she never would have imagined could be
possible. Never, in her wildest fantasies had she felt something
he stopped and mounted the bed, she realized that he was completely
naked. She could not have asked for more—his body was as
handsome as his face, lithe, muscular… his penis was erect
and as it came to rest against the wet folds between her legs,
she realized just how demanding the hunger in his eyes really
was. But he held out… he did not begin though every bone
in her body ached for him to release inside her, to take her body
and pleasure himself as he had pleasured her.
lips met and she could taste herself on him, a fact that made
her kiss him all the more hungrily. Tongues wrestled a moment,
circling as their emotions intensified. She ran her nails down
his back which made him arch his back; an act that made his penis
slip inside her.
was far from prepared for how it felt and though it might have
been premature, Sasha took advantage of gaining entrance. He began
slowly, still kissing her despite her shivering gasps between
their kisses. His long member moved in and out in ever more rapid
strokes, the contours meeting hers perfectly and as her hips started
to move in time with him, she could finally feel his body shaking
had no conception with how long they made love but with all the
suddenness of his arrival, Sasha’s eyes opened wide and
took her roughly by her hair. With a quick motion, he pulled hard,
exposing her slender throat. She felt his body tighten with climax
at the same moment that sharp teeth pierced deep into her skin.
her mouth opened in a silent scream as a wash of agony danced
along her nerves from her neck to her feet and back to her head.
It was followed by a perverse ecstasy, as her blood throbbed out
of her into his mouth, her heartbeat was rapid from pleasure and
sudden fear. The sucking sensation was so tender, she wondered
at how bad it could be… the horror of the situation was
lost on her… everything was bliss…
extremities began to numb first but she didn’t notice. Her
fingertips, her toes… soon her ankles and elbows…
It was colder in the room despite the sweat on her skin and she
was having a hard time breathing. Her heartbeat had slowed, throbbing
with difficulty as there was nothing left to pump. Darkness surrounded
her peripheral vision and the only thing she could feel was Sasha’s
hot mouth drinking her in and a few trails of her own blood dripping
off her neck.
was about to depart, her heart would follow it. A voice whispered
in her head, speaking to her as if it were in her thoughts. “You’ve
met death…” It mocked her, she knew that she hadn’t
met death, only tasted its beginning. “How will you embrace
it? With vigor? Or complacency?”
didn’t have the energy for much but she managed to moan,
trying to turn her head. “What’s this?” The
voice asked gently, placing a kiss on her ear lobe. “If
you want it, then all you have to do is take it.”
wanted it… she wanted it more than anything but how was
she going to take even the most necessary of things? Her body
was dying, her cells failing, everything that was her would be
gone in a few mere moments. In many ways, she was already dead.
“Come now, are you giving up? Like the others? Your other
relatives? Surrendering to death? Your adversary you thought to
meet on your own terms… I’ve brought you to him and
now you can spit in his face. Or will you let him ravish you as
will in her heart drove her on; she had no other reserve of strength.
In a moment of pure, animal lust, she lifted her head and latched
herself to a wound on his neck that she somehow instinctively
knew would be there.
came out in a rush, hot and fragrant, it burned her nose for a
moment as if bile had backed up in her throat. It rushed along,
filling her body with its heat, revitalizing her senses, returning
her strength. Muscles twitched, her body exploded once again into
a pleasurable rash of convulsion, as if the very taste of gore
was sending her into another climax. It ran down her chin, dropped
on her bear breasts and continued a lazy trail to meld into the
hair on her abdomen. She swallowed as quickly as she could and
Sasha just held her tightly, cradling her like a child.
got her fill long before Sasha was spent and as he lowered her
back down on the pillow, he rose and pulled on his pants. “It
won’t be a pleasant change, my love.” He said, looking
over his torn shirt. “But when you get through it—and
you will—you’ll be happy again. The seed I’ve
planted today will blossom and when you wake up from your sleep,
it will be like rebirth. It’s my gift to you—the eternity
of your creation now resides in your veins. You’re as timeless
as a rose. It’s my gift to you.”
final words hung at the edge of her subconscious mind and as she
heard him leave, she wanted to cry out to him. Her body felt strong
but was rapidly descending into a heavy sleep—one she feared
she’d never wake from again—one that she knew was
to be fatal… Had he killed her? Was her trust misplaced?
Did she trade one death for another? When the last vestiges of
light faded from her sight, she realized the truth.
she wasn’t dead… not in the conventional sense but
something was happening. Anne suddenly believed his words—it
was a gift, it was timeless… it was exactly what she wanted
but more importantly, it was what she needed.
figured it was far past time that death gave a little back for
all it had taken. It owed her—and she was happy to collect.
has been an author and musician his entire life. He has worked
as a technical writer, a freelance copywriter and taught guitar
lessons as well as published works of poetry and several CDs of
music with the band Abney Park. Currently, Robert has been hard
at work on several short stories and a novel due to be completed
by June. Website: http://www.darkrepast.com
A Cultivated Garden © 2004
by Robert B. Hazelton
All Rights Reserved.