Emma, Jessica, and Kyle. Photo taken by Elena Lewis.
It scared me to go to my great grandmother’s house. Her home was clean and silent, which unnerved me, but the true terror awaited me in her gardens. She had lush vibrant flowers I enjoyed exploring, but waiting in those flower beds was something old and malevolent.
Before Travelosity, before Gnomeo and Juliet, and before R. L. Stine, I knew the true depth of depravity in these ceramic figurines. I’ve always suspected figurines with humaniod forms, but unlike my dolls or horses, these gnomes were taller than me and had small squinty eyes, pointy ears and hats, and it was always pointing and laughing with its white teeth. What was so funny and why did the thing need teeth? It was alive and coming to get me.
When my great grandmother passed, my mother brought the gnomes home and put them in our gardens.
Seems simple as an adult, but as a child these gnomes materializing was a nightmare. One morning my home was free and then our gardens were contaminated with the spectral evil I knew they held in their stone hearts. All this time my great grandma had protected me from them, appeasing them and keeping them on her lawn, but with her gone, they were here and going to kill me!
I wasn’t going down without a fight, though. I gathered my sister and brother and we launched a full war campaign against the ugly invaders. We threw rocks at them.
When they didn’t retaliate, we got bolder. My sister and brother would load up in the peddler car and I‘d ram them into the gnome, hoping to knock it down. They would flail their arms and scream, stuck staring at the killer’s dead eyes. I fled from the scene screaming how it would get us. They would remember how to use the peddle car doors and escape the staring contest. We spent hours roping the car away from the gnome and start the process again. Slowly, the thing crumbled. Sweet victory.
Except, my mother loved her great grandmother’s gnomes. She did not understand why it deteriorated—could it be acid rain?—but she would preserve them. While we napped, she would glue the gnomes back together.
Words can not express the doom we felt when we woke from nap time to find the garden gnome whole again. Before, there’d been a chance the gnome wasn‘t a living creature— I was known to have a wild imagination—but after the gnome regenerated? And if there’d been a chance for peace between gnomes and children, it was long gone. How could it want anything but our demise after all the times we’d torn it down? It was him or us and he seemed poised to win.
But how does this gnome saga end? Eventually our nightmares built and my mother learned about our campaign against garden gnomes and our all amorphous childhood fears of stone golems coming to life in the night and “getting us.” She laughed. We all laugh about it now.
Except I also tear up when I tell this story, because terror that bone deep marks a person.
What does this have to do with “Follow Me: Tattered Veils”? My battle with garden gnomes went on for months. For a child this was a brutal war of attrition. Seasons changed and our enemy remained laughing and menacing. I had the stamina as a child to face this horror. My capacity to stare down all that terrifies me grew as I’ve aged. Unshaped consequences that made me quake as a youth still live in dark corners of my mind just outside my ability to grasp. Linger with me and face the unnamed possibility.
And ask: if a sheltered innocent child could inspire months of imaginative nightmares, what might a more worldly adult produce?
Like this post and want more? Check out here where I reminisce over that time in our lives where we still believe in Santa. Or look at the terror a closet monster can add to one's childhood here.
Like this, there's a whole series! Check out Remember the Magic of Santa? and Closet Monsters: Gone too Far? for more childhood stories. ^_^
Looking for more posts about the writing and publishing process? Check out more posts on my novel publication process: Going Through Copy Edits, 1st Daft vs 2nd Draft, Goal Planning: Getting Through the First Draft, My Character Looks Nothing Like My MC, Cover Art: Turth in Advertising, and Post Book Launch: Reflections.
Want to know more about my novel? Check out my series where I find similarities between my novel and other popular media. Hopefully it gives you a better idea whether there are elements in my book you may enjoy. Lost Girl Comparison, American Gods Comparison, and The O.A. Comparison.
MY BOOK IS AVAILABLE AT AMAZON!!! Please go look at "Follow Me: Tattered Veils" and see if it might be a story that interests you.
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