Death of the Gardener

Children were born, grew up, and moved away. When they returned to visit, they often exclaimed how the old man had not seemed to age since their long-ago childhoods.

One morning, some early risers, out for a walk, discovered him lying in his front yard. Soon the police arrived, and we watched as they carried him away in a black body bag.

Since he had no wife or known family, it fell to me, as the head of the community’s neighborhood watch, to begin the work of securing his home until the proper authorities could being their work of clearing out the house.

The following day, I decided to take a look in the backyard. I had no idea what I might find.

To my surprise, I discovered a beautiful garden. Well-tended and filled with both flowers and vegetables of all sorts.

I wandered along the narrow rows and marveled at the man’s skill.

It was near the back of the plot where I saw a set of strange green eldritch pods. Each one was larger than the next, with the biggest being the size of a grown man.

I touched it.

The pod jerked as if alive, and I took a couple of steps back from it. Then it disengaged from the stalk it grew from and began twisting, turning, and crawling like a worm.

“What in the…” I started to cry.

But before I could finish my sentence, the thing stopped and turned towards me. I stepped back even further as the greenish pod squirmed in my direction.

Suddenly it began to split open at a seam that I had not seen before, but I did not stay around to see what spilled from the thing. I raced from the yard and to my house across the street.

The following morning I looked out of my living room window only to see the old man, seemingly younger than ever, working in his yard.

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