Fantasy Fiction posted June 14, 2019 Chapters: -Prologue- 1... 


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Oh, the truths I shall share from my job of a lifetime...

A chapter in the book The Gardens at Weatherbury

The Gardens at Weatherbury

by Y. M. Roger

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It’s my job to 'keep the grounds'. The gardens, lawns, and the multitude of flowering plants around the main house and outbuildings are mine. According to my job description, 'every living thing that grows' here is within my purview. That includes making sure the trees and hedges keep their ‘ethereal look’ – yes, those words are in the description – that makes folks slow their vehicles to get a better look.
 
In short, I am The Groundskeeper.
 
I am seventeen years old, and I am quite busy all day in the summer months and after dark most days during the school year. I work weekends, too, unless I request the occasional day off. I’ve worked on Weatherbury Estate since I was fourteen, and I have been promised the permanent position if I want it after graduation this coming year. There is no question as to my intention as I cannot imagine any other life. Besides, there are too many here that depend upon my expertise and knowledge.
 
Funny thing, when crotchety Mr. Thrasher had been fired that summer years ago, I’m pretty sure Sir Philippe had offered this job to me as a joke. I’d been helping Mom in the estate kitchen – she’s in charge of estate events and staffing – and he’d walked in, exasperated.
 

“Ms. Dennison, I will need a severance package for George Thrasher by the end of the day.”
 
“Yes, Sir Phil–”
 
I looked up from my task and laughed. He had turned that beady-eyed, gargoyle look on me, but I couldn’t stop. Even Mom’s warning eyes couldn’t stop my chortles. I laughed so hard I dropped some grapes I had been washing.
 
“And what, pray tell young master, is so entertaining about a severance package for Mr. Den–”
 
“Are you really gonna have mom cut off his package, Sir?”
 
My mom’s hand flew to her mouth to stifle her own giggles, and I would swear to this day that, even though his face did not flinch in the least, Sir Philippe’s eyes laughed at me as well.
 
“No,” he said with a little more pep than his usual drollness, “just his job. Do you think you could do better than him, young Nicholas?”
 
I threw the remaining grapes in the sink and dried my hands on my pants, offering the towering Sir Philippe my right one.
 
“Helll-lo, yeah, Sir.” I kept shaking his hand the whole time I spoke. “And I’d be lots happier about it, too. What garden do I start on?”

 
Looking back, I think Sir Philippe knew what I was in for, and, perhaps, he thought I’d quit. But these gardens – all of the flora and the fauna and those that are a little of both – are my charge now. Don't worry, I'm sure you’ll find them as interesting and even as exasperating as I do!
 
I believe we’ll start with Constantine – the little gnome I discovered that first evening. Actually, it might be more appropriate to say that he discovered me…

 



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2019


499 words according to MSWord. :)

Thank you so much, Jack Silver, for creating this contest - such a cool idea!! My plan is to release one chapter per month of this exact length (475-500 words) so that everyone can have a little taste of the Gardens at Weatherbury and all the magic they hold! So, contest or no, put the 14th on your monthly calendar and expect a unique smile on or around that date!

Thank you for reading me!


Image of 'Skylands Manor at the New Jersey Botanitical Garden' by Maja Britton from New Jersey Monthly Magazine [njmonthly.com/articles]
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