A Tidy Garden

Bob had loaded the car with the garden waste. He hated chores. Despite that, he volunteered to do the run to the dump just to get out of the house for an hour.

The bags had been easy to load. Large green trugs, heaped with ivy and mock orange. It had been harder to chop and fold all the branches from the hemlock. The vegetation had been home to thousands of insects, which he had watched his wife shaking out as she cut and pulled the stems from the borders and fences. By the time he was done, it was near dusk. He was sweaty, irritated and covered in tiny marks. Little revenge injuries, he thought. Just 50 minutes until the dump shut.

The journey was pleasantly stress free. The car filled with scent. The gentle creaks and groans of the branches, scratch scratching as they jostled. The evening was cooling down fast. Bob was yawning as he got to the dump gates, winding the window down to read the A4 sign taped to the fence: “shut early due to illness”.

“fuck it”, Bob swore gently. He stopped the ignition. Put his head on the steering wheel.

“Fuck It!”, more loudly. The thought of taking it all home annoyed him, he knew, but the gentle sound of the breeze over the ticking metal of the car, and the heavy cloying scent from the mass of flowery material in the boot somehow made it ok. He leaned back. “5 minutes of peace”, he whispered…

He awoke, chilled to the bone. He’d been having the most bizarre dream of a seatbelt that would not unlock. He had left the window open, and now a thick mist appeared to have descended around him. He couldn’t see anything out of the window except a pale whiteness. It was pitch black. The moon was a thin slice. The scent of orange was now mixed with something acrid, metallic, making his one open eye water.

He went to muss his hair, run his hands across his eyes to open them both, and yawn. His hand would not rise. Puzzled, he tried again. Stuck fast. One eye would not open. He found he could not yawn either.

The headlights of a car swept from behind him. A million tiny glassy eyes glistened at him, strung on a gossamer sheet.

They all moved as one towards his blinking, tearing, eye.