I woke up early in the morning, the sun just starting to stream in the window. I made my way downstairs and said hello to my little house plant. The little spot of green is my only company in the entire house against the wood walls and floors.
Reaching the kitchen I gathered my breakfast. Today was a little treat, a bowl of Flake Cereal. It was a little sugary and it got soggy quickly, but it was only once in a while. The guilty pleasure was just a small treat. I ate healthy food full of protein and vitamins for all my other meals.
By the time I finished my meal, the sun was streaming in the window strongly. Bright beams of light filling and saturating the room fully. My morning had escaped me a bit, I quickly gathered and cleaned my dishes. Near the door I put on my favorite orange tie and went out into my front yard.
Taking a little time to myself I took a look into the beautiful shades of greens. There were small pops of color, some pink, purple, or yellow. My little yard is my place in the whole world. My place of peace and nature, the fruit of hard work and love. I've worked on and off to gather all the different varieties of plants and even more care placing them in the yard. Keeping the tall ones together and far away from the other low growing ones that covered the ground. The short and stubby plants making a carpet across the yard.
I keep the other decorations rather simple. They consist of some rocks in between plants, acting like a natural fence and some seashells. The walkway was a path of bright white rocks that sparkled in the sunlight. The sun which seemed to be moving at a quicker pace this morning. I need to be going now, weeding tossed on my 'to do' list for this afternoon.
Coming home my eyes felt tired, more so than usual. But I parked up a bit entering my yard. The refreshing color bringing me back to life. I went to put dinner quickly away first. Tonights would be baby shrimp and fresh mussels. I checked my little house buddy and returned outside.
My weeding routine starts at the front of the yard. I have the tallest plants here to provide a little privacy to the house. Being furthest from the house I leave some weeds here to help cover any gaps at the bottom. Taking care of this area isn't my favorite, but it needs to be done. Today I took a little bit longer, as I've let it go a bit more than usual.
Moving onto the smaller plants in the heart of the yard i started enjoying myself more. The shorter plants starting to creep over the brown speckled rocks. I trimmed them until they were back in place and I was satisfied with the job. My last task is simply brushing off the dirt that had built up on my seashell decorations. All eleven of them were scattered around the yard, some chipped or cracked, but brought everything together. Finished I stretched my muscles from side to side, my body warm and loose from the work. Hungry I went inside to finish the night with my roommate. He was surely getting impatient waiting for me to join him.
The next morning I woke from a dream. It had a melancholy feeling to it, but I couldn't remember any specific details. My mind was a bit foggy from it, but something else was not right in the room. The usual strong morning sun was missing. Instead the room was dim as if the world was wishing for more sleep.
Outside the world was overcast. I saw my neighbor outside. Henry was in his yard which was odd. He usually worked nights and I didn't see him very often. Working opposite schedules we never usually crossed paths unless it was a holiday.
Stretching my sides I began to get ready to begin my morning. Today I would have a better breakfast of kale and seafood salad. Much healthier than the sugary cereal from yesterday. Perhaps the cereal and it's extra sugar made me tired. I would need to check, maybe they had changed the recipe again. Or perhaps it was time to find a different treat food. Finishing up I headed outside. The morning thrown off without the strong sunlight.
Even my morning stroll was interrupted. Henry was calling out to me, waving me over. There was no border between our yard as there was no reason for it. Henry was always respectful, usually tired and kept to himself like me.
"Peter!", he said as I approached,"The sky is strange today. But I just wanted to ask, has anything gone missing? I'm just asking because some of my lawn decorations are missing."
Henry gestured to his house.
Not, Henry is a good neighbor, some would even say the best. He kept to himself, not noisy, and polite. But he lived a little messier, his yard kept tidy but not manicured. His lawn decorations were scattered around along with some rubbish. There was no rhyme or reason for them. Just by looking over I couldn't tell what was missing.
"No, but I also haven't had the time to take a good look in my yard. What's missing, maybe it just blew into my yard. I'll take a look and keep my eye out for it."
"Thank you. I'm missing my little…. Oh,what do you call them…" Henry pondered,``pinwheels! That's it. My little rainbow pinwheel. The thing that spins.
I nodded,,"If I find it, I'll bring it over to your house. Listen, Henry, I've got to be going or else I'll be late. But I'll keep my eyes open for it!"
Chatting with him means i'll just enjoy sitting in my yard after work. But it was okay, being kind and friendly was more important than a routine.
The sun had come out by the time I got home. The clouds disappearing somewhere else. Now the afternoon was bright and cheerful again. Ony my way to and from work, I kept my eyes open. No sign of Henry's pinwheel decoration. The darn thing was very colorful, if it had blown away it should have been easy to find, granted I hadn't checked my own yard yet.
When I arrived home, everything was peaceful. Henry must have been inside, sleeping or eating. I wasn't going to bother him today. Going inside I put dinner away getting back into the comfort of routine.
Today I could just enjoy my yard. I had done all of the yad work yesterday. Taking a look around some of my seashells were topped over ending up in random places. I gathered them back up and dusted them off, being careful of the cracks and dents in them. The plants looked fine, nothing was disrupted too much. There was probably a storm of something in the night that tossed everything around. Strange because I didn't wake up at all.
I went through the entire yard at my leisure with no sign of the colorful pinwheel. I'd have to tell him the next time I saw him. But until then I would keep a good neighborly eye out.
I didn't see Henry the next couple of days, he was probably just working. After another week of not seeing him I simply slipped him a note under his door, letting him know I had not seen the pinwheel.
When I finally did see him, another week had passed. He was outside in his yard and he waved me over.
Standing in front of his house, he continued,"Is this one of your decorations?"
He had a large piece of rounded bit of glass with him. It wasn't in any particular shape or design. Just a frosted color of green blue.
I stared at it a bit.
"No, it's beautiful. I don't have any decorations like that. Where did you find it?"
Henry expression turned and he went a bit pale.
He said, "Well, now I'm not sure I want to know. I was really hoping they were yours. But I found then on the other side of my house. Now, I don't mind if things blow in my yard. It's okay, it happens. But I found a neat pile of these things and I'm beginning to worry about where they came from. I'm getting the feeling that they were placed in my yard...on purpose. "
His eyes grew wide with anxiety and worry.
I took a deep breath, he was right. This was strange. I didn't want to think maybe we had a thief or some crazy eccentric in the neighborhood. But it was possible.
"It's very strange,"I said, hoping to calm him down a bit,"You're right about that. Would it put your mind at ease if I helped you move them to the curb. You know, away from your house?"
I was tired from my day, and Henry politely declined my offer to my relief. He simply thanked me for talking with him and assured me he would take care of them himself the next day. Continuing to my house I looked back at him. Henry had left the rock where we were talking and had started back into his house. Journeying into my own yard I took a quick peek at my shells, all eleven accounted for and turned in early for the night.
The next morning I awoke at my usual time and rolled over back into sleep. My day off I enjoyed a little extra morning nap. Waking again, I was shivering. A cold had crept through the house. It was always sunny and warm here. But this was another cold spell that was accompanied by clouds and too much shade. The thought of a cold wind should have been far away in my mind, but here it was. Making my bones shiver and wanting a sweater or blanket.
I went outside to take a better look at the sky. But my heart stopped just as I crossed the threshold. A tall being was standing in the road. It was holding some kind of pole, wearing a whole body suit from head to toe. It's head had no hair or eyes, but a rounded blob sat on it's shoulders.
I didn't approach it, hoping it would be able to get to Henry's house without being noticed. I dashed through the yard and onto his doorstep. Glancing back over my shoulder the thing didn't move or didn't seem to move. I knocked on the door, quietly at first. But that wasn't going to wake him. I knocked a bit louder until he came to the door.
He answered with sleep still in his eyes. "Peter...What's going on? What is it?" I had woken him up after all.
"I'm sorry to wake you", I started,"But did you happen to see anything strange on your way home from work last night?"
My body was blocking his view on the street, not that his tired eyes were focusing on anything at the current moment.
"No, I didn't. Just another normal night. Came home, ate a little thing and went back to bed."
I moved out of his way. Hoping his eyes would wake up quicker.
"I slept in a little this morning. I woke up to a strange chill and there is this thing in the road outside my a look."
He woke up quickly after that. Staring at the street his eyes grew wide. I looked as well, checking to see if it had moved or done anything while I was talking to Henry. Henry was backing into his house..
"Peter, this is too strange first thing in the morning. I didn't see that last night. Something that large just standing there. I would have. How did it get here?"
"I don't know. I'm not sure. That's why I came right over here. But it hasn't moved for the past few minutes while we have been talking. Maybe there is a chance it can't hear us."
Henry was clearly overwhelmed. He stuttered,"I don't like this. This isn't right. Things are getting strange, too strange for my liking."
"Me neither Henry. I don't know what to do about it either..."
We both sat in his house and watched from a window. The entire day it didn't move, didn't react or budge. We watched as some others went and approached it. Nothing. It's clothes didn't move and it did not react at all. I didn't think it was safe or a threat, but I wasn't going to go near it. No, that could be someone else's job.
I made my way back to my own home before the sun set. Henry had let me out his back door. I moved slowly this time. Slinking into my house as quickly and as quietly as I could manage. The day had been wasted in the worst way. I didn't taste anything I ate. Everything was a blur of worry and stress. I tried to take my mind off of the thing outside with some cleaning. Even so, I kept looking out the windows to stare and make sure it hadn't moved all the time. I don't remember if I actually dusted anything in the house or simple stirred up more dust with my pacing.
Waking up I noticed I wasn't asleep in my bed. I must have fallen asleep downstairs. My aches and pains filled my body. The stress of everything wasn't god for my body. My mind felt a little slower and foggy. I tried to stretch my sides out.
I felt a chill.
This cold was bringing an inconvenience and strangeness in the form of colored alien rocks and giant still beasts. No a second wasted, I braced myself for what I might see outside. Peering out the window I saw that thing had not moved. At least that was the same. Looking down I saw that my yard was in a complete dissoray. My tall plants rearranged into one clump. Some of the short ones completely missing, others dug up and planted in other places in the yard. My shells were also arranged in a line across the yard. I felt chills, this was done intentionally. Shells don't line up perfectly without the help of someone or something. Scattered around like an afterthought were more of those colored rocks. Small ones here and there and a large one randomly throughout. They were different colors than the ones Henry had shown me,but the same matte glassy texture.
As I kept staring outside I finally caught my attention on Henry. He was running to my yard. Well, he looked like he was running he kept bumping into something. Despite that thing that remained in the street, I dashed outside.
Getting closer I could finally see him clearly. His mouth moving but no words were heard. My anxiety was growing exponentially with each passing moment. I tried to go into his yard but my body was met with a strange barrier. It was crystal clear. Looking at the ground I could see where it had pushed and seperated into the dirt.
"Henry! Henry!" I cried out.
He started screaming again. I didn't hear anything. No sound reached me.
We were both trapped, together and yet alone. Not being able to have the comfort of a companion but being able to see one another. This didn't bring much comfort. If we talk maybe it would have eased my mind. But that had proven to be too much.
The field or barrier had tired us out. Trying to dig proved nothing, it seemed to go on forever in both down and up. We retreated, being close to the houses and allowing us to hide behind some of the plants. There was no way of knowing how this… whatever it was, was spying on us, but being under some cover calmed me a little.
The sky was growing darker. I had spent the entire day outside with Henry. I tried to signal to him that I would be going back into the house and wanted him to do the same. I just hoped he understood. As I reached my door I looked back. He nodded in agreement and made a dash for his own home.
Being inside didn't make me feel safe. I looked around, my food was here, my little plant, and my things. There was nothing stopping any giant beast or god or being from coming in and taking everything away in a moment. I could feel my heart racing in me. It's loud thumping filling the otherwise silent home.
I forced myself to eat. It wasn't a great dinner, just pecking on some items in the kitchen. Normally I liked the quiet. But not the heavy and worry filled quiet that I was drowning in now. I moved from the table to sit next to my little house plant. At least he was fine. If he was going to get through this, so would I. I'm better than a little plant, I can take and weather whatever it could.
I didn't want to go upstairs, but there was nothing else to do. And if something was going to come in the night and kill me or kidnap me, I might as well be asleep in my comfortable bed when they did.
I woke up in my bed the next morning. I don't know if I should feel relieved or more afraid. The aches and pains were compounding now. My sides feel stiff and my stomach just an upset mess. I peeked out m window looking at Henry's house. A great feeling rushed over me for a moment. My neighbor was staring at m from his own house. I waved and offered a small smile.
We both looked tired from all that was happening. I didn't want to look outside at the front lawn and the street. So I didn't. Today I simply wasn't going to look outside. The thing could rearrange my yard if i wanted. I give up. SImple as that. Henry and I waved at each other throughout the day. It was the only window I looked out of.
This went on for a few days. I ate a little, trying to conserve food, stretched and tried to move around, and I napped. Eventually I would be forced to go outside and face reality. But for a little while I was okay. Henry had stopped waving. There was no way to establish check-in times with each other. But there was no way to communicate properly. I had food here for awhile. I didn't know what Henry had. Chances are that he would be forced to go out and forage for food before myself. I didn't envy him for not being prepared. I felt guilty for allowing me to be relieved at his situation. Was it selfish?
That was it. I had run out of food. I was munching on my last box of Flake Cereal, the last thing I had to eat in my house. I had woken up shivering with cold. The cold was definitely a sign that something else had happened.
I was happy that my house and plant were still here. Here in this with me, together through all this. I went to look for Henry. My other friend in all this. The side of his house hadn't changed or moved. He wasn't at the window, but he could be doing anything else. I waited for a few minutes, there was nothing I was rushing off to do. He didn't appear. I tossed it up to him sleeping. He was usually a night person anyway.
I checked back later after I finished the box of food. Still no Henry. I did some stretches and still no Henry. I was beginning to worry.
Late that night my stomach growled loudly. There was nothing in it and nothing left in the house. I forced myself to go to sleep. There was nothing to be done about my situation and if I had to go outside I would rather it be in daylight. Not the night time that brought change and possibly more monsters.
In the morning I felt hungry, but less ravenouse. My stomach was still asleep. I prepared myself to go outside. There was no point in a disguise. Something large enough to drop a barrier down wasn't going to be duped by a hat or scarf inn my closet.
Getting ready by the door I braced myself. Unlocking it, I only opened it a bit. Enough to let a ray of sunlight cut into the house. I peeked outside.
My yard had been turned into something completely unrecognisable. Strange new plants waved at me there large leaves the same color. They seemed unreal and fake in a way. Something about the way they moved and stirred. The thing was still there. Just standing like a guard, being intimidating and terrifying.
Opening the door a little wider i saw that everything else remained about the same. There were no angels or demons running amuck. No gigantic battle of Armageddon or spaceships of aliens. Nothing else interesting had happened.
I shut the door.
Maybe I missed something in the house. An unopened box of food tucked into the corner of the cupboard or the back of a drawer.
There was not.
Huddled next to little buddy. The small plant gave me a sense of comfort still. My stomach had woken up now and was demanding food. Something my brain knewI had nothing to give. I told the little plant to watch the house and be brave while I was away. Steeling my nerves I opened the door again. Tossing it wide open and marching out of it. Until it came back and hit my face.
There was a box of flake cereal sitting on my doorstep. Grabbing the box I dashd back inside. I put it down and opened it, stuffing some into my mouth. Who had left it there. Henry was trapped on the other side. I hadn't seen anyone else in so long their names escaped me. I wasn't friendly enough with anyone else for them to isk bringing me food. I sat next to my little plant and wondered if the food was poisonous or not. I'd already eaten some, so now the test was time.
I admit it. Henry was dead. Or maybe kidnapped. Or perhaps abducted. There was no way for me to check or ask. No one to whisper rumors to or about. I don't even know when it happened. He had stopped coming to the window. Stopped waving at me from across the way. Something had come in the night with a cold chill and taken him away.
Riddled with anxiety I lost track of time, and many other things. I stayed inside always. Taking small peaks outside every once in awhile. The boxes of cereal just appearing on my doorstep every other day or so. Never any note or sign of them being from a friendly source. But someone or something didn't want me to die. I don't know if I should be flattered or not, but there was no variety in the food. The sugary flakes slowed my brain and made me put on weight. I couldn't exercise or do much about it. I tried cutting back, but there was just no substance to them. I wasn't going to die hungry, so I just nibbled at them through out that days to make time pass.
The days passed, I don't know how many. My little buddy grew taller, adding a new leaf once in a while. At least he was getting what he needed to grow. I sleep, get up, eat, and watch the clock. My eyes blink and blink, waiting for time to move.
Now I think I've truly lost my mind. Waking up was normal. Eating breakfast was normal. But as the morning drew on, the light that filled the house was pink. Shining in and filling every nook and cranny. Pink light. Maybe the sky was on fire or the sun had changed color or pink fairies were busy fluttering outside my windows. It wouldn't be too bad, if things ended. The only thing I could hope for was that my next life would be normal. Full of fresh things to eat and new plants to gather.
I opened the door, gazed into the pink world and grabbed my cereal for breakfast.