© 2019

 Adam Petke

Little Willom's Garden

CHAPTER 1:


    Little Willom stayed in her house.  She waited until it was safe.  The fog had come in thick this morning and it was currently boiling red and pounding against her windows.  She watched the window from the closet.  She waited for the red to fade before she stepped into the room.  The fog was now a sallow hue of grey and the bubbling and rolling had stopped.  She felt guilt for leaving her work untended. She hoped there would not be upset in her garden.  She opened the door and a dollop of fog rolled in across the floor.  
    Little Willom stepped out onto the wooden platform of her yard and made her way back to the garden beside the house.  Small fleshy limbs flopped around in the soil.  A tear streaked down her face.
     "I am sorry," pleaded Willom.
    The limbs stopped flopping and moved slower and more gentle.  One reached up and touched her hand with a tuberous extremity.  Little Willom smiled.  
    "I am glad you are not mad. But you still have much growing to do."
    Little Willom continued to tend to her garden.  The thick grey fogged enjoyed her presence too.  It liked to touch her mouth. It liked to rub her lips. It liked being breathed in and out of her mouth.  When she hummed her songs to her garden the fog would become aroused, sometimes entering her nose.  Most of the time she did not mind.  Though other times it would make her gag.  Her garden thought it was funny when she gagged.  The throat stalks would try to imitate the sound.   Little WIllom would shoe away the fog and laugh at the stalks cute gagging noises.  Little Willom loved her garden.
    The house was small, with small windows, and small doors, small squeaks and small roars.  The ground pushed and pulled at the houses small frame and the wooden platform teetered back and forth. Sometimes the doors would open other times the doors were stuck.  Colorless moss hung from the roof of her house, and the wooden platform that made the yard was stained and calcified.  Nevertheless, her garden was a healthy pink color.
    "I think today is a day for a story." said Little Willom
    The tuberous limb that touched her hand now jostled about disturbing the soil at its base.  Little Willom pulled a book from her bag.  She opened it.  The book was full of squiggles and lines with a few drawings of creatures and shapes.
    Day one- 
    I don't know where I am.  The sky is different somehow, like the suns are closer, or bigger, or they are different suns entirely, but that is impossible.  I think maybe I have just been gone a long time.  I feel as though my legs are not working, and my hands are useless in their current state. I don't know how I am writing this note but I know it is my only choice.
    Day Two-
    I saw a man today. He was scabbed, bald, and scowling.  He told me a joke.  Well, part of a joke anyway.  He did not think it was funny and he stared at me after he said it.  I tried to roll over so I would not be forced to look at his disappointed face but my leg had gotten tangled in a fence.  The man kicked me in the back.  It hurts really badly. Nevertheless, I feel hope on the horizon. 
    Little Willom wiped a tear from her cheek.
    Day five-
    I now know that this is somewhere different then I was before and  I was right about the suns.  They move in different directs of each other. One spins left and down to the west and another twirls in the sky around 118 and 270 degrees inward to the north, and the other bobs along the horizon all day and night.  I only have a few minutes of what could be called darkness a day.  I try to sleep but sand bugs keep waking me up.
    Day eleven-
    Today I managed to get my wheels attached.  I am now able to move around on my own without hurting myself too terribly. I managed to fashion an arm as well.  It is crude and awkward but at least I can touch again.   I feel things are finally looking up.  The few hours of nights are growing colder, which feels good on my blistered, red, skin. I think that now is the time to start my journey-
    Clanking clockwork echoed inside the house.  
"Hello?" asked Little Willom.
    The clanking clockwork was not answering.
"I don't hear you," said Little Willom trying to find her place in the book.
    A shape appeared in the window.  A featureless cement-grey face with sunken holes where eyes should lurched up to the glass.  Willom had not noticed the figure as she tore a page from the book and handed it to one of the Plants.  Her little finger beans tore at the page and crumpled the corners.  Little Willom placed the book out of reach and stood up.  She saw the figure in the window.  It was not supposed to be there. She screamed.  The figure only stared with its sunken holes. Willom backed to the edge of the yard.  Her toes clung to the edge of the last board. The splinters in the wood encouraged her to stay.  
    "Please Little Willom," said the figure.
    "Go back to where you belong," she scolded.
    "But I have to go," said the figure.
    A throat stalk began to choke on a piece of book paper but Little Willom could not hear it.  Her mind was filled only with the voice of the figure.  The voice said hundreds of words at once, where as the throat stalk could only produce subtle guttural noises that never entered Little Willom's little head.  
    "I have to go" the voice continued.
    "I have to go" the voice continued.
    "I have to go" the voice continued.
    "I have to go" the voice continued.
    The head of the figure began to change shape.  It opened along the bottom and folded over to the side.  The machine parts worked in rhythm with the meat parts.  The parts soon worked their way from the window glass and back into the scattered light and shadow of the house.  The voices quieted. The wheezing of the throat stalk soon was easily audible and Little Willom was struck with its sorrowful whimper.  
    Little Willom's beautiful red-pink throat stalk had turned a bitter purple pale grey.  Little Willom reached down the throat stalk's ribbed orifice and felt the shred of paper. 
    Little Willom unfolded the paper. Upon the paper were the scribbles she knew as, "HEAVEN."  Little Willom looked mournfully at her quivering little throat stalk.  
    "You poor little thing you don't even know that you cannot go to Heaven." Little Willom said.
    The throat stalk quivered and slowly regained its color over the next several hours.  Little Willom opened her hand and "HEAVEN" fluttered away, carried along the flow of the fog into the diffused light.

 
CHAPTER 2:


    The next morning Little Willom's little stomach ached.  She swung her feet out of bed and ran to the birthing room.  Inside laid a little round platter.  Little Willom ran to the little round platter and squatted.  Her stomach twitched and spasmed and a pile of random parts plopped onto the little round platter.  Little Willom was surprised to say the least.  She fell back against the wall drenched in sweat, dripping with four kinds of fluid: sweat, tears, blood, and after birth.  After catching her breath, she examined the parts.
    "You are all so beautiful but I have no room for you," said Little Willom with a soothing voice.
    The little pile of little parts twitched on its little platter.  Little Willom wiped herself clean and then lifted the little platter of little parts and carried them to the door.  She carried the little platter to the edge of her little yard and held it up into the fog.  The little parts twitched and squirmed and the fog lifted them up and carried them off into the shadows.  Little Willom carried the little platter back into the birthing room.  


CHAPTER 3:


    The next morning Little Willom's little stomach ached.  She swung her feet out of bed and ran to the front door.  The door was rather small so she had to pull herself through the small hole.  Reaching the other side she could see the fog held a deep pink hue.  Subtle murmurs droned in the distance.  Little Willom stood motionless, frozen in pain and panic.  A twinge of pain forced her back against the wall.  A sharp thud echoed through the wall as Little Willom's little head hit her little house.  Something in the fog stirred.  In distance, it began to grow dark and the darkness closed in on Little Willom. She shut her eyes tight and held her breath.  The murmuring became a garbled boil and it grew closer.  Through her thin pale eyeskin she could feel it growing dark and red.  She felt something cold and hard touching her ankle.  It latched on.  It squeezed so tight she was sure her little foot would be cut off.  The hard cold touch squeaked and creaked and jerked her backward.  As she felt one leg bending backwards in its joint and feeling her body being squeezed and contorted she opened her eyes.
    Above her, the fog was boiling red again.  But she was not being pulled into the fog. Her body was being pulled back into the house.  Her body barely fit through the small door, especially with her free leg having to enter parallel with her torso, but after a few cracks and pops or bonejoints and wood, she was back inside.
    A short wide figure with a featureless face in a ridged canvas jacket that touched the floor stood before Little Willom.
    "What are you doing here? You should be where you belong!" scolded Little Willom.
    "This is where I belong."  The figure said in its intrusive voice and a clanking clockwork as it began retracting and folding a long mechanical meat arm back under the heavy canvas jacket.
    "But if you are out here they will catch you!" further scolded Little Willom.
    "I have been here too long," said the figure, its jacket buttoning itself back up.
    Little Willom felt a little tug at the back of her neck.  The figures featureless face began to unfold open.  The figure took a few rickety steps backward.  Little Willom's head tilted sharply to one side with a snap, her ear touching her shoulder.  Abruptly Little Willom's little head jolted backward.  Behind her, the fog had collected in the little doorway.  Her body flew backward into the doorway and stuck.  The wall of the little house shook as her top half slowly bent down to meet her bottom half cracking and snapping all the way down.
    "I guess you can go," said Little Willom tears streaming from her eyes.
    Her body slowly squeezed its way through the little door hole.   Little Willom sobbed quietly.
    "Please take care of my garden," whimpered Little Willom to the figure.
    "Please take care of my throat stalks, and my tuber limbs, and the ear paddies, and stomach sacks, and my finger beans, and my uhsh-…" Little Willom's little voice disappeared into a muffle as her face drug its way across the ground and out the door.


CHAPTER 4:


    The figure stood shocked.  It did not know how to take care of a garden.  It had spent so much time just learning to care for itself and now to take care of a garden… this was too much too fast.  The figure backed itself back up to the wall.  The wall opened, unfolding plank by plank and welcomed him back.  The figure rolled backward and settled back into the wall.  The wall began to close back up; plank by plank.
    The inside of the wall was small, tight, and dusty.  The figure was unsure of what to do.  It had put off its progress for so long and now it had been handed obligation and burden.  After hours of thought and contemplation, the figure decided that it would not be long before the garden would fit into the natural order of things.  It only needed weaning.


CHAPTER 5 (Day 1 of wean):


    Day one of weaning the figure made little progress.  He did not like the garden and the garden, he thought, did not like him.  The figure left. The figure began traveling from away from Little Willom's little house, little yard, and little garden.