April 20, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

The Garden or the Growth of Things Unseen: Part 2

By early May, the situation at the Rabinowitzes grew more and more precarious. First, the stalks of the delphinium they had planted and their attached flowers grew so dense that they almost choked off the path to the front door, the asclepias ascended to nearly six feet in height and each of the multiple Anchusa azurea flowers measured a full six inches across. The immediate effect of this fantastic growth was to make deliveries to the Rabinowitzes impossible. Jake had to build a post office drop-off on the corner of his lot so that the mailman could deliver letters and parcels. The Rabinowitzes couldn’t use their front driveway for parking their cars and literally had to hack their way into their house and out of their house into the street every time they emerged.

Jake and Belle were quickly reaching their breaking points. And so on a Sunday night in mid-May, Jake decided to call his gardener to invite him to excavate and remove the three offending plants. He decided not to mention to the gardener the possibility that the plants had any sort of occult significance.

“If you tell him that, Jake, he may refuse to come!” counseled Belle, and Jake agreed.

On the following Wednesday morning, a sunny day, the gardener and his team arrived early to evict the problem plants. They had brought common shears with them that they thought appropriate and sufficient for the extraction job, but to their surprise, those tools failed to do the job. Most surprisingly, every time they applied their shears to the delphinium stalks, they heard what could only be described as cries or shouts—not very loud to be sure, but distinct sounds nonetheless. When they approached the asclepias with the aim of lopping off any of the many branches the plants had produced, the other branches began to wrap themselves around the arms of the workmen. The branches bound so tightly that it took a major effort by several other workmen to free the trapped worker.

“Caramba! Mr. Rabinowitz, these plantas are crazy; I’ve never seen anything like them in my life! You’ve got to get rid of them—but I sure don’t know how!”

While Jake and the gardeners were battling outside the front door, Belle was frantically checking her computer for a possible solution to their problem. After a half hour, as their strength and resolve was waning, Belle uncovered a text that seemed to address the diabolical problem that was facing them. In the final chapter of the venerated volume “Rites of the Druids” published in 1664 (in of all places colonial Breukelyn, New York), Belle found the following relevant excerpt:

If it shall come to pass that thou plantest the demonic tribranches aforementioned, thou must take care to salt the earth on which they grow afore the sixteenth month in which they were first planted. Fail to do so and dire consequences will follow! Only rock salt will do to remove the stain upon the earth that thou hast created and permanently seal the portal to the nether regions!

Armed with this definitive information, Belle quickly rang the local first responders, police and fire departments, to alert them of the strange goings on in their front yard, urging them to bring as much rock salt as they could to Washburn Street. It took some convincing but after two squad cars visited the site and reported on what they had seen, two large trucks appeared in front carrying at least a half ton of rock salt!

By cellphone Belle next contacted Jake who was stuck outside the front door. She relayed to him the suggested solution she had discovered and he obediently conveyed that info to the gardeners. By this time about 15 first responders had gathered in the street in front of his house.

“Let’s form a line to port the rock salt onto the plants as soon as possible. According to my calculations, I planted these flowers almost exactly 16 months ago, so we don’t have any time to waste before the portal will be permanent!”

It was now approximately 2:00 in the afternoon and though it should have been bright and sunny, the sky had suddenly darkened as if to indicate that an imminent storm was approaching; those present swore they believed some cataclysm was about to take place. At this time, Jake and the gardeners who were nearest the offending part of the front lawn noticed that the three groups of plants were beginning to slowly recede into the ground in which they were rooted as the ground itself began to widen; soon a widening pit began to appear at the spot where the flowers had been growing so unusually tall just a short time earlier. Though they were clearly frightened, Jake, two gardeners and a fireman edged toward the rim of the pit and looked over. What they saw, they could later barely describe: Maybe 15 or 20 feet deep by now, the pit contained what could only be described as writhing figures, arms and legs, a hideous blackened and reddish color! Apparently these creatures were attempting to climb out of the pit! Desperate at the sight and now convinced that the Druid curse was truly upon them, Jake for one wasn’t willing to wait a moment longer.

“Bring the salt forward,” he shouted, “and start pouring it in!”

By this time several of the creatures below had climbed within a foot or two of the rim of the pit and the gardeners were prepared to greet them with large mallets they held at the ready to repel them if necessary. Hand-to-hand “combat” turned out to be unnecessary, however, as, miraculously, as soon as sufficient salt was thrown their way, the writhing figures instantly dissolved into a mud-like goo that blended perfectly with the clay soil from which they had emerged. It took 15 minutes to fill the pit with the balance of the rock salt; at last the entire pit was covered and the crisis was over. Exhausted, Jake, the gardeners, the police and the firemen sat on the now quiet front lawn.

“I’ll bring some new topsoil on Thursday,” Raphael finally said after catching his breath.

Belle appeared at the now-accessible front door: “Are you sure you want to plant anything on this spot?” she countered, glancing at the now chalky location where the pit had been closed. “Maybe a monument of some sort would be more appropriate,” she joked, weakly.

“Something simple like tulips or lilies will do just fine in the future; something that’ll conjure up beauty, without all the excitement!” concluded Jake as he rose to thank the first responders.

“And I suggest you don’t buy any more flowers from the White Flower Farm or any other online Druids,” Belle said with a shudder.

“Si, your wife is right! You should always listen to her,” added Raphael with a laugh, as he gathered up his tools.

By Joseph Rotenberg

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