When Darlene decided the last minute to pack her bags and relocate to a secluded place for her next writing assignment, she knew it had to be Savannah. The land of Georgia has always fascinated her fragile memory ever since she was a kid. Her very own mother,Lynette, always took her little one to enjoy the fresh azaleas that stood bounty in the southern backdrop.
Her daughter, Paige, felt otherwise. The eight-year-old girl preferred the glass enclosed buildings of Manhattan and relished the intermingling crowd of Central Park. But at that point in time, the little girl had no choice but to succumb to her mother's wishes. Darlene challenged her to make an online journal about her six-month journey to the southern vastland.
Their first stop was the ancestral home of Darlene. It looked perfectly carved like a good southern home that it depicted. When Darlene stepped into the living room, for the first time again, after her daughter was born, she gasped for a few breaths. "It's so refreshing to be back home," she muttered. But not so with Paige, who felt a bit creepy when she stood squarely on the tan carpeted area. She could not explain why the sides of her hair raised.
Paige quietly looked up. And hidden behind the top of the staircase was a blurry image of a girl somewhat her age. "Oh dear," Paige half-whispered."At least I will have a playmate after all."
Soon after, Darlene began to inscribe the first few chapters of her new novel that was centered around a couple who cannot keep up with the latest technological trends. She was exploring the challenges in a relationship when either or neither party would envelop change. She was, in fact,realigning her new novel with the latest feud that she has just had with her equally well traveled husband entrepreneur.
As Darlene was about to flip the next page on her Word Processor, Paige slipped by and jumped into her bed. She wore a frown that was hard to dissect.
"What's wrong honey?" Darlene intruded.
"I can't enter the gate of the garden."
"What garden are you talking about? Is that our neighbour's?".
"She gave me the wrong key."
Darlene dropped her eyeglasses o the keyboard."She? You made a friend today?".
"Yes, mommy. Her name is Shaine. She invited me to play with her tomorrow in her garden."
Darlene heaved a momentary sigh.At least for now, she wouldn't have to worry about Paige hovering around her during her writing time.
A few days later,she summoned her daughter for a serious talk about her "newfound friend."
She served them both tea."Okay so tell me about your garden adventure."
"Mommy, I know how to open the gate of the garden. The code is her mother's name ELENA."
"Elena?" Darlene echoed back.
"After which, Shaine led me to a pretty bridge with thick bushes. And then there was the most heavenly garden I ever saw-full of colorful flowers. Red, blur, orange, pink and yellow!"she beamed.
"Like a rainbow."
"Yes, like a rainbow mommy."
"Sounds like an awesome place indeed."
"Shaine tells me the garden heals all the hurts and betrayals she has had in the past.She took me to this yellow brick road."
"A yellow brick road?".
"Yes, like golden steps."
Darlened spilled her tea."How can you let her leave you alone like that in a mysterious garden?".
"She reappeared and there was..." The color in Paige's face suddenly pailed."Blood all over her white dress."
One afternoon, Darlened called the caretaker of their old house and left her instructions on what to do in case she wouldn't be back over the weekend. The caretaker, Helena, also served as Paige's babysitter for now.
"Don't forget her nightly vitamins, her inhaler...her bowl of cherries before going to sleep."
"Of course Madam, never forget."
Helena was born Hispanic and has been an immigrant to the country for almost 30 years, having chosen to serve the upper crust family of Darlene's ancestral line.
Darlene was set to tour a cabin by the lakeside somewhere in the woods near their vacation spot. Paige begged for her to be taken along but Darlene said no. The lake was said to be dangerously deep. Darlene was a great swimmer. But Paige had a history of asthma attacks.
"And Helena, I don't want you to let her go to her friend's garden. If you do so, I will hold both of you accountable when I get back."
Helena was stupefied. "Garden?".
Darlene looked back at Helena,"My daughter has a playmate named Shaine, She has a beautiful garden or so she told me. Just don't make her go there."
Helen bit he lower lip."Oh the GARDEN. It existed A CENTURY AGO. Right in this place. The forlorn backyard at the other side used to be the garden of your great ancestors. That's what I've gathered from the former occupant of this house."
Darlene began to squirm. "And Shaine?".
"Didn't your mother ever inform you Madam?".Helena's eyes widened all the more. "She was your dead twin sister."
"Dead twin sister?".
"Your mother had given birth to both of you here." Helena recounted. "Your twin sister Shaine had a weak, fainting heart. She didn't make it."
Darlene covered her mouth with her one hand, "My mother never told me." She cried silently."How could she?".
Paige hugged her mother. And she held back when Darlene tightened her grip of her.
"Tell me more about Shaine honey."
"She always has bruises." Paige recalled."Purple and pinkish bruises.I wonder why."
"Is she beautiful?".
"Yes mommy sometimes she looks like you. One time she smiled and she looked exactly like you in your favorite picture!".
"What else did she tell you?"
"She said she used to have a mother that was mean to her."
Darlene listened intently."Did she tell you why?".
"She just showed me the rolling pin, the bottle and the long stick that her mother used on her."
And Darlene burst into tears.
"Mommy, why are you crying?".
"I will never do to you what my mother did to me Paige." Darlene broke into unstoppable sobs."I will never abuse you."