The Lost Garden
By Janna, age 13
Lollipop Kate and Carmella Johnson lifted her up and she climbed over the fence.
"Meet us in fronta your house when ya get back," Maccoy ordered. "That is, if ya even take ten steps into the yard!"
"Wait 'til I come back, Maccoy! You won't be laughin' then!" Ainsley said, all ready starting her way into the bushes.
The group of kids walked away snickering, but Ainsley was determined. It would be a cinch. How scary could it be to explore an old yard? After all, it wasn't really haunted.
So far the hardest part was getting through all the plants. She pushed through bush after bush, twining though tree after tree. Finally she came to a bit of an opening.
As she looked around her, she had to admit that the yard had a pretty eerie feeling to it. Everything was on an incline going up a small hill. There was an old wooden swing set and a big tree of some sort- perhaps an oak. There were also a few old and rotting apple trees. She pressed further.
She went over and touched the swing. She pulled at the rope, testing its strength. She carefully sat on the wooden board that was the swing's seat. There was a breeze, and dry and crackled leaves of red and brown slid across the ground. She zipped her slate blue sweatshirt-jacket to the top of her chest.
The stories the neighborhood kids had said of the "ghost yard", as they called it, filled Ainsley's head. The stories were mostly murders; anything that could make a ghost in the small town possible.
She got up off the swing. She needed to find a souvenir to prove she really had gone into the ghost yard. She started to climb up the hill. She had to duck so that she didn't hit her head on an apple tree branch.
She must have already seen about a half-acre of land. The adults in town said the estate was probably around two acres. In her town, that was huge for a backyard, and the size made it even better for a ghost story.
There was an old garage on top of the hill. It was a faded gray, and she could feel a chill through her spine looking at it. It made Ainsley feel sad and spooked all at once. Against a brick wall, there were bushes with a few delicate raspberries on them. She plucked a ripe one off, and ate it. It was sweet and juicy, so she picked two other ripe raspberries and popped them into her mouth.
She noticed something in the grass by her feet. It was small, green metal basket. It looked very old, with dead leaves and a ladybug carcass in it— in other words, the perfect souvenir. Plus, she could carry anything else she found in it.
She continued along a little path. Boy, would her friends be impressed with her. She was the first kid who'd ever gone all the way into the ghost yard.
When she looked ahead, she stopped short. What she saw in front of her was amazing. It was a complete clearing with a beautiful garden. The small, not-so-white-anymore house was also to the side of it, but Ainsley didn't pay attention to that. The grass was long and wild, and so were the flowers. There were roses, black-eyed Susans, and plenty of other flowers she didn't know the names for. There were purple flowers, yellow flowers, pink flowers, and all different sizes and types, too. The sun shone onto trees, and Aisley felt a moment of peace and harmony.
This was terrific! She could pick a few flowers to show her friends as proof, and then they could all come there and it could be their hangout. She scurried around, eventually picking five different types of flowers. She put them into her metal basket. She glanced at the old house. It was dirty from age, and some of the windows were broken. She was suddenly scared. It seemed so awful and sad, that house, and she wondered if something awful truly did happen there. But then she looked at the garden, and that was rectified. The garden was beautiful and Ainsley knew someone must have loved it.
She could spot a fence not too far away, so she headed towards it. When she got there, she climbed over it, then quickly walked home. She couldn't wait to tell everybody!
Then, just a street before her house, she had a sudden change of mind. She didn't feel like telling the other kids of the splendor of the garden. They wouldn't appreciate it; besides, why couldn't she keep it for herself? After all, it was she who was the bravest of all to take on Maccoy's dare and enter the ghost yard. She stuffed the flowers into her pockets as she approached the band of kids.
Maccoy, Orwin, Chipper, Lollipop Kate, Carmella, little Alvina Boutis, and all the rest of the gang was there. They hovered over her.
"So did you go into the ghost yard, Ainsley?"
"I bet ya didn't go in!"
"Was it scary, Ainsley?"
"I sure did go in!" Ainsley said, proudly. "I went all the way back to where the house is! I saw all two acres of that ghost yard!"
Oohs and ahhs were exchanged.
"Proof?" Maccoy asked, silencing the group.
"Right here, Maccoy," Ainsley said, showing him the basket.
Maccoy looked defeated- and mad about it, too.
"Yay, Ainsee!" little Alvina cried.
"Was it scary?" Lollipop Kate asked.
"Oh, it sure was! I hearda ghost howlin', and I was pretty spooked, but I didn't go runnin' away like a baby. I just kept goin'," Ainsley explained.
After all, Ainsley thought, what's wrong with keeping the ghost stories alive?