The Garden Behind

Hello, Anya. I see I have two letters from you. I am sorry for taking so long to reply.

I am the Seth that went through the hole in the woods, and I am also the Seth who had to come back to San Myshuno. Perhaps there is only one Seth after all.

I actually did have some fun in Granite Falls. The sun grants me reprieves, now and then.

I have two kitties in my lap

I’m glad you found a notepad. Keeping notes is very important. What are you using for a writing utensil? I used my phone to keep notes about the place beyond the hole in the woods.

What is your new penpal like? What sort of place do they inhabit? Are there other people there with them? How did the experiments with sending physical objects back and forth turn out? Do they have doors?

It’s good that your house produces food. Starving is painful, and the lack of calories makes it hard to think. What sort of food does it give you?

I don’t think it’s small talk. I think it is great progress, and you should be proud.

I found a garden when I went through the roots, but it was very much not a Night Garden. I am not sure yet what bit of myself I left there. I am still tracing the cracks.

still tracing the cracks is the new sometimes the darkness and I

I’ve heard many silences. None of them have smelled like salt, not yet at least. Sometimes they smell like old brick and concrete. Other times they smell like smoke. The silence I hear most often lately smells like a freshly vacuumed floor. That one isn’t so bad.

Well, none of them are bad, really, except maybe the ones that smell like smoke. Our apartment building has a closed in parking garage and brick stairwells that aren’t heated. I sometimes go and stand in them just to smell the silence there.

How were the things that grew in the Night Garden not kind? I’m still not sure about the plants that grew in the garden behind the roots, if they were kind or not.

It was definitely not dark. it was blue and green and gray and brown, and very bright. There were singing birds and buzzing insects and crawling worms, and also I think I remember hearing the plants growing.

The waterfall was silent.

The waterfall, like your Night Garden, was not passive, and it did not watch.

crack crack crack omg I just realized how this ties in to 10

Fireleaf is a bush, with leaves of dark green, a lighter green, a rusted red, and a bluish purple. If its sap gets on your skin, it will itch. By itself it does not do much against the cardboard, but I have plans. My old garden isn’t coming back, but there will be a new one. Somehow. In time.

I don’t know what the cardboard is, exactly. I get what you mean by it being an artifact of humanity, but I don’t know. Was it here before us, and our presence activated it? Or do we produce it entirely on our own? I am not aware of anything outside our own minds that would separate us and force us into little boxes, so perhaps we do produce it on our own. But then I have seen people when they are possessed by it, when their eyes glaze over and they disappear and then there is the cardboard in their place, speaking of separation and hatred and righteousness. So I don’t know.

I’m not sure why anyone would believe that nothing could ever happen to them.

I tried to avoid the waterfall. Its silence smelled so loudly of ashes and smoke and all the things that could ever happen to someone. I tried.

I am still tracing the cracks.

yay yay I made words yay

There was a woman in the the garden. I don’t think you’ve ever mentioned another human-shaped being showing up in your gardens.

How did you procure your corona of teeth? Were the teeth trophies you took from your enemies? Perhaps in one of your lives you were a black hole, a giant mouth swallowing your way through the universe, and you took the teeth of the stars you consumed with you to your next life, where you wore them as a halo.

Please do not disabuse me of this idea if I am wrong. I like it and it pleases me and it makes me happy.

I don’t think I’m brave or ignorant. I think that what I am, more than anything else, is trapped. And perhaps a bit desperate.

Some of my doors are metaphorical. Not all of them, though.

I can still smell the waterfall, here in San Myshuno. Sometimes I still dream about the fire but other times now it’s the waterfall, and it’s silent and still and it smells like smoke, and I wake up screaming. Sarah is getting worried again, I can tell.

It’s true that I don’t yet know the pain of going through non-metaphorical doors, but I know my own pain. I know what I am willing to do.

Your image of the end of all things doesn’t sound so bad. At least there would still be cockroaches for company, and old weathered signs creaking in the wind for your aesthetic enjoyment. You could amuse yourself by balancing your starteeth halo on the dentist’s sign and telling the cockroaches stories about your ancient victory feasts.

The woman in the garden behind the roots had a rather different idea about the end of all things.

first letter replied to, whew

Sarah is the best sort of human to have as a lover. And yet I still cannot…do whatever it is that she needs me to do. I try. I think. Sometimes. Maybe. I don’t know. How do you try?

I am not one of the five decent people in the world either.

If I had managed to somehow get out beyond the edges of humanity, I would definitely stay there. Especially if there were gardens. But you don’t seem to enjoy it.

Are you sure a door will come? Perhaps the doors are done with you. Which would you prefer? A door and a new life and another old voice orbiting through your head, or remaining where and who you are, with the house that watches and its many gardens? Although I don’t suppose you get a choice. Either a door will come or it will not, and you will have to live with it either way.

If you’ve lived many lives and decades are like a blink of an eye but you do not have infinite time, that implies a beginning. Do you remember your first life, the one you entered in the usual way?

I do ask a lot of questions. It is okay if you cannot answer them all.

The waterfall has infinite time. In my dreams now, after the garden, I see it, and it’s always been there and it always will be there. I do not think it entered existence in the usual way for waterfalls at all, and it won’t end in the usual way either. One day the sun will go supernova and swallow the planet, but the waterfall will still be there. Falling endlessly into the sun’s stomach.

I had a choice. I think. I could have not gone through the door I found in the woods. I could have not approached the woman in the garden. But I did. And I have to live with it.

I am still tracing the cracks.

yeah they really want you they really want you and I do too

The woman in the garden had red hair, and she was barefoot.

She turned towards me as I approached. She said, “Hello, Seth.”

She said “I see you are the Seth who came through the hole in the woods.”

She said, “I see you are not yet the Seth of the waterfall.”

She said, “Please do not burn my house down.”

ugh I don't know

Am I a story that is being passed around a fire, as you put it? Perhaps I am, and the woman in the garden had heard the story, and that’s how she knew my name.

I thought you had to go through the doors whether you wanted to or not. Was I wrong about that?

If you have no choice about going through the doors and overwriting these people, then you should not feel guilty. It’s possible that they wanted to be overwritten. Are there any patterns you’ve picked up on in their lives? Perhaps, shortly before you came and took over their lives for them, they had been told that they would one day destroy everyone and everything they loved, and they made the choice to leave instead.

Sometimes, now, when I dream about the fire, it’s Sarah who’s burning.

I am still tracing the cracks.

this is really just a vanity project, isn't it?

I think you are a person, or at least a person-wearer, and is there any difference between the two?

I would like to think that I am also me and no one else is, but the woman in the garden seemed to disagree. She was kind about it, at least.

I wish you could talk to her. She seemed to know a lot about skins and selves and stories. I think she could help you sort out your ghosts. Maybe. I don’t know. Now, after talking to her, the waterfall haunts me.

According to her, I have committed murder. So we have that in common.

She was careful to say that it was another version of me. Someone else wearing a Seth person suit. A Seth who lived very near a waterfall. A Seth that I might become one day, if I am not careful.

How can I know if I am being careful enough?

writing myself into a corner

If you have different wiring than other humans, then I think I must too. You make much more sense to me than most people do.

I wonder if the woman in the garden was one of us. I don’t know if she had a single cell organism in her brain urging her towards her own destruction. She was alone and in a garden though, and she said things like “I know many stories, and they all end in fire.”

I still think there may be only one of me. I am the Seth who went through the hole in the woods and I am the Seth who came back to San Myshuno and I am the Seth who may one day end in fire.

What do you think the woman was? Maybe she was one of these hookworms in cardboard skin you mention. She travels through reality, taking her garden with her, popping up behind holes in woods, and there she waits for unsuspecting people to enter into her garden. When they do, she tells them terrible things that might be true, and the terrible maybe true things crack the people up, and then she feasts on their soft caramel insides.

I am still tracing the cracks.

lalala wooo it's almost 4 am

When she was done telling me about the other Seth, when the fire had died down and Sarah was ashes and the waterfall was booming in my brain, I asked her why. Why she was here, why I was here, why she was telling me these things. You know how I like to ask questions.

She said that she was in the garden because she wanted to be alone. She said that I was in the garden because I did not. She gestured towards the plants that may or may not have been kind, and she said that she was telling me the story because they had told her it was the one I needed to hear.

Do the plants in your gardens tell you things? I’ve spent my life around plants, and they have never yet spoken to me.

She was kind and her voice was soft, but she did not take her ghosts with her when she left. They followed me out of her garden and back to San Myshuno, and they are haunting me now. I know soon Sarah will ask about therapy, and I do not know what I will tell her.

i gotta go sleeps

I am still tracing the cracks.

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5 Responses to The Garden Behind

  1. RipuAncestor says:

    Seth seems to be somewhat calm here, but it’s a very tentative and fragile kind of calmness that can either grow stronger or crash and burn. Hopefully it won’t burn this time. At least not too destructively. 🙂

    I like the woman. I like the mystery around her and how she’s a very calming presence despite being something more or other than what she seems.

    Liked by 1 person

    • medleymisty says:

      I think you’re right about the calm being fragile. We’ll see how it develops in his reply to Jasper. Which who even knows if he’ll bring this up to Jasper, since he kind of danced around it in his last letter to him. Since Jasper isn’t a person living alone in a house with many gardens who says that he’s gone through many doors and had many lives, Seth isn’t sure how Jasper would take the story about the hermit in the garden. *she says, retroactively explaining things that she just came up with on the fly in this letter* 😉

      Hey though, it does make sense as an explanation.

      I like to think of her as a StoryKeeper, maybe. 🙂

      Yay thank you very very very much for reading and commenting! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. cathytea says:

    I really enjoyed seeing Seth express this side of himself. And the hermit is very beautiful!


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