Helen’s Nightmare

Extract from “The Sensory Garden.”

“With a heavy head, Helen slept deeper than she had in months. Her dreams took her back to the house in Hyacinth Crescent and into the sensory garden. But it was different this time. Night was falling, and the sky was a thick, dark blue.

As she walked through the garden, Helen could barely see the shapes in front of her. Strange whirring noises came from high up in the trees, and low, growling noises from unseen creatures were all round her. When she turned in their direction, the creatures fell silent, and all she could see was the thick green foliage that hid them.

She walked under a peach tree and picked off one of the fruit. The skin was soft as felt, and the flesh felt ripe and firm. But when she bit into it, her teeth sunk into red, raw meat, and the blood ran down her chin.

Screaming, she dropped the fruit on the ground, and as she watched it land, she noticed the strange green carpet beneath her feet. She bent down to touch it, and as she stumbled, felt something crunch.

As she looked closer at the ground, she saw a bright little eye, then another and another. She saw flecks of red, and claws and beaks.

The ground was covered with parakeets, in various stages of death, or dying, and as she became aware of them, their shrill squawks filled the air like summer cicadas, and the stench of rotting flesh overpowered her.

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