I was known as a great detective. The lads called me “The Gardener”. I understood flowers and people exceptionally well. “The Gardener just keeps digging,” the lads were fond of saying about my half-finished cases, which were always eventually solved.

What the lads didn’t know was that I also had a touch of The Sight. I kept that to myself. It was a great help in my cases, especially the last one. The master of Karana House had disappeared. Some said he ran off with another woman, some said he was buried in those magnificent gardens.

I happily gazed at the pale lavender muhly grass on that late autumn afternoon. It was other-worldly, ephemeral, a delicate haze of color edging the beds. Suddenly I saw a young woman kneeling, patting the fresh spring soil into place around the new muhly clumps. She loved the soil, the garden, and especially the feathery plumes of ornamental grass. She reached to caress the blue-green foliage, but was jerked away by an angry older man. “Off the ground, Flora. The lady of the house is not a gardener. Your servants will do the dirty work.” His violent slaps crisscrossed her lovely face with red streaks. The image faded, but the garden seemed to weep at the memory.

Inside the house later, after preliminary questioning, I sent the lads back to the station. There was only one question that mattered and I wanted to ask it in private.

“Who named this house?” A lot depended on Flora’s answer.

“I picked the name, soon after the marriage.” Her eyes held a future of blue-gold summers, fire-lit winters, and lovingly tended gardens. She briefly shaped the Karana Mudra – the yogic sign to ward off evil. In a flash, I saw how her despicable husband died, and where he was buried. I had solved another case.

The Karana files identified the other woman and the two deaths at sea. Case closed.

Soon after, I left the force, and became Flora’s second husband and fellow gardener. Happily ever after, with no one else ever digging at Karana House.

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Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary(@carrie-oleary)
1 year ago

Another beautifully crafted story, Juma. I was pulled in from the very first line and thoroughly enjoyed every word. Very nicely done.

Melissa Taggart
Melissa Taggart(@melissa-taggart)
1 year ago

This story is beautifully written, Juma. It paints a clear picture in my mind of the surroundings with the dramatic use of colors—right down to the red slapped face! Great work.

Julie Harris
Julie Harris(@julie-harris)
1 year ago

I love detective stories, Juma, and a detective with second sight is a great protagonist for Halloween! You often write about gardens, tying them in with the most unexpected plots. I fell in love with the picture that accompanied your story. Is it a real place? Can I go there and sit on one of those benches?

Paul Lewthwaite
Paul Lewthwaite(@paul-lewthwaite)
1 year ago

Very evocative and gentle story done well, considering it’s dealing with a murder/domestic abuse. Nice to have a happy ending, especially at Halloween where that doesn’t happen very often  ? 

1 year ago

A story that combines gardens, falling in love, murder, second sight and happily ever after – all in 350 words – is quite an achievement! Congratulations, Juma, on a really lovely story.

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
1 year ago

I want to give you the loudest clap, Juma. Congratulations on this another well-written story, Juma. I love it so much from the beginning until the happy ending. It was a lovely story.

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
Reply to  Juma
1 year ago

Dipayan Chakrabarti
Dipayan Chakrabarti(@dipayan-chakrabarti)
1 year ago

The story is not only spooky but also is a kaleidoscope of colours. Excellent!

Last edited 1 year ago by Dipayan Chakrabarti
Christer Norrlof
Christer Norrlof(@christer-norrlof)
1 year ago

I love the mix of the beautiful, colorful garden, the mysterious murder case, the otherworldly gift of “sight” and the attraction between the protagonist and the widow. Beautiful writing! Now I only have to figure out what happened to the evil husband (buried in the garden?), who the “other woman” was and how there were two deaths at sea. Hmmm.

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