“Come on! Let’s go in!”
I’m not sure we should”
“But it’s open.”
“And what if we’re not welcome there. What if there’s a mean old hag behind that gate, What if..”
Reggie cut her off. “Always with your what ifs, Gina. Stop being afraid of everything, live a little.”
“No buts. I bet there’s something magical behind those gates. And the only way to find out is to go in. If you’re not, I am. You can wait out here for me.”
Gina thought about it for a moment, then decided she didn’t want to be alone on the other side of who knows what. Better to stick close to her best friend, than possibly lose him, again. She nodded her head and took up steps behind Reggie. The gate was heavier than he had anticipated, so he asked Gina to help him. Together, they pushed against the iron structure, stopping each time it made a loud creaking noise. They agreed that if someone was on the other side, they’d know by now. They weren’t exactly being quiet. Finally opening the gate all the way, they stepped into what appeared to be a beautiful garden.
“Oh, Reggie, this is lovely! It’s like the Magic Garden. Remember? We used to play that all the time. Until I got lost in the woods, that is,” she said, putting her head down.
“That was ages ago, G. Come on, let’s check this place out.”
In front of them was a trail leading further into the garden area, and one off to the side that lead to an unpaved path of thick bushes. There was a rustling sound coming from the bushes, and Gina quickly found herself hiding behind Reggie. Out from the bushes came a small, odd looking man. Brushing himself off, he introduced himself.
“Good afternoon. I am Patty Picklepuss. And you are?” he asked.
“I’m Reggie and this is my friend, Gina.”
“I see. And do you have your invitations?”
They looked at the small man with confusion. “Invitation?” asked Reggie.
“Yes, yes.” The man was getting agitated. “You’ve come through the gates for the party, haven’t you? You can only get in with an invitation. So, let’s see them.”
Reggie and Gina shook their heads, and shrugged their shoulders.
“Ah, no invitation, eh. Party crashers, eh. Well, we’ll see about that!” And with that statement, Patty Picklepuss blew on a long horn he seemed to produce from thin air. The noise was ear shattering and quickly two men, much taller than Patty, were standing there. They must be guards, thought Reggie.
“These two, um, what are you anyway? Humans? Ugh! Take these to humans,” he said with disgust, “and put them in the thicket with the other party crashers.”
“Wait! What did we do wrong? We saw the open gate and thought it would be okay to come in. If you didn’t want anyone here, you should have closed the gate!” With that, Reggie stomped his foot and folded his arms across his chest. He wasn’t backing down. Gina knew this was always trouble, but she had no choice but to stand there and hope for the best. The guards seemed fascinated by this odd human who had the nerve to stand up to them. Looking at Picklepuss, they questioned as to what they should do.
“Hmmmm, a feisty one. Maybe we should bring them to the Queen. Let her decide. Perhaps her lions are a better choice, instead of the thicket.”
Gina looked horrified but didn’t put up a fight. She went willingly with the guard who had her by the arm. Reggie was right behind her and she prayed it would stay that way.
Entering the courtyard, they were brought before the Queen. Picklepuss walked to her and whispered something in her ear. She nodded, then turned her attention to Reggie and Gina. “I am told you have entered into my garden without invitation. Is this true?” she asked.
Gina began to speak but Reggie cut her off. She really disliked when he did that and shot him a look of disgust. He shrugged and continued, “We saw the gate open and we wanted to see what was behind it. If you didn’t want anyone coming in, why leave it that way?” he asked.
The Queen chuckled, then asked the guard to bring the female closer to her. As Gina walked nearer, she could see the Queen was not human. She had porcelain like hands and her face was perfect, not one mark nor blemish graced her skin. Gina just stood there, mesmerized. It seemed the Queen was equally so, as it took a few minutes before she spoke again.
“You are the one I’ve been waiting for. The one they told me would take my place. I’ve not long for this planet you call Earth, but I do not wish to have my legacy forgotten. They told me there would be one here, who would venture through the gates and be taken to me. She was the one I was to meet, and it appears the she is you.”
Gina was so confused. What on Earth was she talking about? Reggie looked just as confused. But before he could speak, the Queen ordered the guards to throw him into the thicket. Gina tried to yell, but Patty Picklepuss somehow stopped her. She had no voice. She had no idea where she was, nor where they had taken Reggie. All she knew was she was alone, again, lost inside a garden that she no longer felt was so magical.
To be continued…
©2019 Dorinda Duclos All Rights Reserved
Photo ©Sue Vincent – Invitation