A Secret Grave 166: Jungle in a Bottle


We put on our shoes and walked outside, the dog following us. Janet told me she had adopted him since moving to the house. She wanted a dog that was scary looking but also cute, and Scout fit the bill. Now he was her constant companion.



Scout, Photo Credit Erin Murphy, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/


In the backyard I saw the garden was overgrown and needed weeding. A yard service came to tend to it every other week, but that wasn’t enough. Janet, with minimal gardening experience, had done nothing but pluck at weeds here and there and put in some tomato plants. The shed that served as a greenhouse was in the back corner, its windows so dusty you couldn’t see through them. Janet was right; there was a padlock on the front door – not an old grimy one, but one that looked shiny and new. “What does Betsy say about this?” I played my fingers gingerly over the lock.

“That no one’s supposed to go in there. Apparently everything’s paid for by a law firm in Dallas and a guy comes every so often to check on things.”

“Aren’t you curious about what’s in here?” I asked, pulling at the lock. To my surprise, it opened in my fingers – the guy, whoever he was, must’ve forgotten to spin the combination numbers last time he used it. I removed the lock and opened the door. “Come on, let’s go inside,” I said, grabbing Janet’s arm.



Abandoned water pump shed, Just Me, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/


There was a step up, and then we were through the door in a cave-like interior. I couldn’t find the light switch, and it was hard to see anything. Rows of tables with dozens and dozens of plants. One could sense the teeming life in there, a feel of other beings, a vast primordial wisdom we knew nothing about contained in a small space, like a jungle in a bottle. It was a peculiar feeling, and it gripped us both. Even the dog, who had followed us in, seemed uneasy, growling and whining, the hair raised all across his back. As we stood there, misters that must have worked on a timer came on, and there was a gentle shh shh sound and a sudden coolness in the air that added to the mystery of the place. And the smells! Damp earth, herbs, spices, something floral and sweet, and another smell, a bad smell of darkness and rot, ordure, bat shit. I kind of wanted to turn and run.


To be continued…


Cover photo ~ https://www.brandstyledesign.com/2011/11/is-your-website-like-a-jungle/

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