The echo of the slammed door reverberated across the small garden at the back of Zack’s home, reminding Zack how loneliness had hunted him many times since Jane’s burial ceremony. Set before him were a greenish bountiful harvest of carrots, cabbages and garden eggs, all twirling in the morning breeze, gracing his sight as he ambled along with a gallon of fuel and a match-box.
He had been hurt emotionally many times, when he had seen Jane sitting at the edge of the garden, beckoning at him with a smile, but in the end, it would turn out to be the conjuring works of his mind. Even though he realized how much he loved the garden but then he was more concerned about his sanity.
He dropped the gallon when he got to the edge of the garden, a squeaky swing only some few meters away, stole his attention. With few steps, he reached the swing, the rim of his pants soaked in water from the recent dew trapped in the plants. He took hold of the strings, aiding himself to fit into the seat. He gazed across the garden, the chirping of the birds sounding into his ears made him imagined her, crouching in the garden, picking the vegetables and the garbages, only to pass kisses across when their gazes locked, and for few moments disappears and then appears again with a tray of food in her hand.
With his eyes brimming with tears, he rose to his feet and reached the gallon of fuel seconds later. Uncorking the gallon, he began to pour the fuel on the dry hay he had littered around the garden the previous day. A big dent into the fence starred at him when he got to the far corner of the garden, stirring up bad memories surrounding Jane’s death, which was why he must burn it up.
They were both enjoying the bliss of the evening, as they sat in the swings, clasping their hands together, with their faces shooting into the skies and their laughter stabbing into the still silence that reigned in the garden.
“I love you,” he told her, shifting his gaze towards her face.
With the appearance of a soft smile on her face, she turned, establishing eye contact with him. “I love you too, baby.”
“What can I do without…”
“Wait! Can you imagine that?” she chimed in, pouting. When he didn’t respond, she continued, “That’s my food burning.”
Instantly, she rose to her feet and began to walk away. She had only taken few steps, when she fell to the ground, shouting while holding her ankle. At once, he ran up to her to help, but then, he saw it slithering away, its black skin shimmering against the golden light of the evening.
That evening, he clubbed it to death. And that same evening she died in the hospital because the venom had gotten to her heart.
Noise at a distance pulled him out of that memory, forcing him to bring out the match-box from his pocket. He struck the stick and it lit up with fire which he threw into the hay and then boom!
He stood far away as he watched the smoke rise up until it became one with the sky.
- Chukwuebuka Harrison Aninze is a Medical Laboratory Scientist whose hobbies include reading and writing. He also loves writing flash fictions.