Mary Bell in the Magic Garden


by Jan Tetstone



    "Mary Bell, come on. You'll miss the train," Joe Donaldson yelled at his daughter, picking a suitcase up and heading for the door.

'Dad, I'll be right there. I have to feed Go-Boy," Mary Bell replied. Knowing the truth was she wasn't looking forward to this trip. She had visited her Aunt Helen a few years back. It was the worst vacation she ever went on. Her Aunt Helen is her dad's baby sister who never married and knows nothing about planning interesting stuff for a teenager.

Mary Bell nor her father said a word to each other all the way to the bus station. Her father knew she really didn't want to go. And, Mary Bell knew with his work related trips, he had no choice but to send her to Aunt Helen's.

 Since her mother's death, Mary Bell and her father had drifted a part. She loved her father but never told him how lost she felt after her mom's death.

The old car came to a full stop in front of the Heavendale's train station just as the passengers were just boarding the train.

"Well", said Mary Bell, "I will see you in two weeks."

As her father looked her way Mary Bell tried not to show how unhappy she was about going on the trip.

"You got to board, now, sweetie," her father said, leaning over and kissing  her on the forehead.

Four hours later the train arrived in Garden City where her aunt set waiting for the train to arrive.

A few minutes later she was setting in the passenger seat of the old  black Lincoln she remembered from her last visit with her aunt. As the car turned into the driveway, Mary Bell got the feeling that someone was watching them.

Neither Mary Bell or her aunt had spoken a word since leaving the train station.

As  the car rolled to a complete stop in front of the house  Mary Bell noticed  the that her aunt was acting a bit nervous .

"Come on, Mary Bell," the older woman said, "I will take you to your room."

They walked up the stairs and down a long narrow hallway.

"This will be your room, while you are here," her aunt  said, turning and  hurrying back down the narrow hallway.

Something didn't feel right. She had never seen her aunt act like that before. Changing into her night clothes and crawling she  decided to wait until morning to ask her aunt why she was acting so strangely.

Hoping sleep would come soon Mary Bell  lay awake for a long time thinking about her mother and the many times she had set on the side of her bed  and would tell her stories about her childhood and what it was like for her being an only child. Thoughts of her mother always brought happy memories before she fell asleep.

Still snuggled under the warm blankets, the girl  heard a soft knocking on her bedroom door.

"I'm coming, Aunt Helen" Mary Bell said, hurrying to the door, opening it only to find there was no one there.

"I must have been dreaming," she said, out loud.

"But. It sounded so real," she thought to herself,  walking over to the big window that was framed with yellow-lacey curtains and looking out.

As she gazed out at the beautiful rose garden below she thought it strange that she didn't see it the last time she had visited her aunt.

As Mary Bell walked slowly down the old stairs she noticed her aunt exiting the kitchen.

"Good-morning," Aunt Helen said ,motioning Mary Bell toward the long dinning table.

Settling in the over-sized red cushioned captain's chair.  

"Aunt Helen, did you knock on my door this morning?"

"No. Why?"

"Oh, nothing. I thought I heard a knock but when I looked out there was no one there. I must have been dreaming."

The older woman, suddenly, got a strange look on her face and begin crying, uncontrollably. Mary Bell had never seen her aunt act like this.

Walking over and putting her arms around her aunt, giving her a loving hug.

"What's going on? First, I arrive here and get the feeling I am being watched. Then I hear a knock on my door, open it, and no one's there and now you are crying at the breakfast table. Please, tell me what's going on," the girl begged, her aunt, as she fought back her own tears.

"Let me explain," Aunt Helen replied, trying to sound calm. "Not long after your last visit, strange things started to happen. One morning, I heard a knock on my bedroom door. When I opened the door, there was no one there," she  said, as she raised from her chair, walked over to the window, and stared out."

"Three nights, I heard the knocking. Then, the next day, I looked out this same window and saw the flower garden," she added.

Mary Bell was very surprised to see a smile on the older woman's face.

"It's a magical flower garden," the woman said, motioning for the girl to come see for herself.

"Aunt Helen! It don't look light it did when I arrived! It is so beautiful. What made it change? Please, tell me."

"When I was a child, your father and I lost our mother, too. We planted a flower garden for her. Every time we earned money, we'd add another flower. For Mother's birthdays, Christmas, Thanksgiving, we planted a flower for every holiday. After school, and on weekends we would tend the flower garden. One day, your father and I were setting among the flowers watching the butterflies when three fairies appeared. We were scared and  ran to the house as fast as we could go. We told our father, your grandfather, but he said we spent to much time in the garden day dreaming. We were so afraid that we never went back to the garden," she said wiping a tear from her cheek.

"You never went back to the flower garden. You just stopped tending the flowers. How sad."

"We were small children. As time passed we forgot about planting flower's for our mother. By the time we both grew up, the flower garden was overrun with weeds," her aunt said, putting her arm around Mary Bell.

"After your last visit the knocking started and the flower garden came alive, as if it had been waiting for you."


More Stories by Jan Tetstone

Brave Star

The Woman Called Heartsong

Mary Bell in the Magic Garden




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