[Short Story] The Flesh Garden | YA Horror | 4,100 Words
I have a short YA horror story called The Flesh Garden out in The Chamber Magazine today! It’s free to read online.
Title: The Flesh Garden
Author: Jennifer Oliver
Word Count: 4,100 words
Publication: The Chamber Magazine
Summary: YA horror. Nothing was the same after Gabrielle lost her best friend Simon. Now, school dickhead Marcus Stoll has taken an interest in her - or rather, in her chest. But Gabrielle and Simon had a secret place, a small allotment garden that they called their own. When Simon's ghost appears to her and tells her that there's a way for him to come back, Gabrielle cannot resist.
A tight ball of prickles sat in her stomach. It had been there all day and it wouldn’t go away. Gabrielle got to the allotments first just before seven, weaving through the narrow walkways. The change was noticeable before she even reached the boundaries of their plot, and the smell…
The garden bloated with something like life, though it wasn’t the life she remembered Simon cultivating. Fly orchids spiralled up in strange helixes, different from the photos Simon had shown her the day they originally planted them. The delicate dancing girls she had planted with their soft petal arms were pushed down, pinned under the violent arch of sharp red leaves. The parasitic underground hydnora africana gave off a familiar, sickly-sweet and cloying scent, its red flowers worming up through the soil with their hungry mouths gaping open. Fat, moist-looking vines netted the ground, spewing out hundreds of those little yellow buds that seemed to scuttle like insects. Colours oozed together into uncanny spectrums that Gabrielle couldn’t quite wrap her head around.
This story was workshopped recently at The OWW. Many thanks to Michael Ko and Bronwyn Venter for the critiques! And as always a huge thank you to Yvonne for the initial beta read.