I've been gardening in the past few months; as it's Winter here in Australia. And I'm at the last bit of it where I want to add artwork to it. Well, being a writer, I thought it would be fun to make my garden a book-themed garden. Right now, I'm looking for doors... this triggered a cool story about the magical doors writers use in their works.
We had phoned her place for the past few days and left messages on her mobile and home phone.
She hadn’t returned our phone calls.
She hadn’t been on Facebook – like she is every day.
Even her friends had been looking around for her on there and messaging her there.
But it seemed as though Therese had simply vanished from the face of the earth.
So, here we were at her place.
We had asked her neighbours if they’d seen her lately and most of them hadn’t. The lady across the street said that she hadn’t seen the lights come on in the house for almost a week and was about to call the police, and then we showed up.
“Jeez, Mum, should we call the cops in and see what’s going on?” Eli asked.
“Yeah, good idea.” I pulled out my phone and called Policelink and chatted with them. Before long, a cruiser showed up and the police were door-knocking around taking statements and asking around about the last anyone saw my sister.
“Do you have a house key?” one of the cops asked me.
I rummaged around in my bag and pulled out a spare set of keys, “She gave them to me in case I really needed to get into her house.” glancing over to her overgrown garden and house, I mumbled, “I never thought I’d need them now.”
“Here, show me which key will open the door and I’ll do it – in case there’s something in there you may not want to see.” He offered.
I pulled out a blue tinted key, “This one opens the screen, deadbolt and front door.”
“Easy for her and you to remember.” He nodded and he walked up to the house and opened the doors, looked inside as he turned on the lights and called out her name, but he came out only moments later, “The house is empty.”
I rushed up to the door with my son, Eli by my side, looking into the house, and sure enough, her all her things were there, but she wasn’t, “Where could she be?”
“Is there something weird about her leaving?”
I turned, “She’s got a medical condition. She must take her medication every day. It’s been almost a week!”
“Mum, what about the garden... we could check in the garden. She could have had an episode.” Eli touched my shoulder, and my gut turned cool with panic.
“Oh crap.” I turned, rushing towards the back door, opened it and found the garden in its lovely and complete order – just the way she had finished it.
You see, my sister was an artist and loved having artworks in her garden every few years. And every few years, she changed them up. She didn’t throw out the last ones, she stored them away for her famous parties every now and then. But this year, she turned her garden into a book-themed one – one with all the old classics you’d have read in your youth. From Narnia to The Secret Garden, it was all there. She even had ‘The Storm Boy’ and ‘Old MacDonald’s Farm’ as well as ‘The Folk of the Faraway Tree’ ... it was all there in the garden; and it took her over a year to get it all pulled together, as some of the items were hand-made and others were difficult to find.
I turned and looked at the cop who was giving the garden a strange look, “She’s an artist and loves doing this to her garden.”
“Hey, I’ve seen worse.” He smiled, “It could have been a crappy garden filled with car bodies... now, that’d be something bad. But this? This is fantastic.”
Eli whispered in my ear, “Mum, the garden is overgrown, it doesn’t look like it’s been cared for.”
“I know.” I walked down the steps into the garden and a strange feeling overcame me – that I wasn’t alone; that I... I looked over at the side gate where Therese had installed her ‘Narnia’ gate. Looking up at the cop and Eli, I smiled, “We’ve come through the wrong door.” Before they could say anything, I rushed up the back steps, through the house and around the side of the house and found the tall dark timber of the Narnia wardrobe door.
I had no idea where she got this wardrobe door – but it took her years to find it. This piece was the last piece to be installed in this garden; and she told me it was an ‘original piece of the wardrobe from the book!’ I turned to find Eli and cop behind me, “I know what happened. But I need to get into her garage first.”
They let me past and I unlocked her garage, pulled opened the door and looked to the back, beyond the Kombi she owned and found it: the tall, dark ornate wardrobe she had bought online.
“Oh my god. That’s it.” I walked up to the enormous piece and looked at the replacement door on the front. It looked the same, but it wasn’t. Opening it with a new key, I looked inside to find it was empty – no fur coats hanging up, no mothball smell tickling my nose. Leaning forwards, I felt to the back and found the back of the wardrobe – good and solid – and knocked on it. Stepping back, I turned and Eli was next to me, frowning, as I said, “She did it. She’s used something magical to turn her garden into something really... magical.”
The cop snorted, “Magic doesn’t exist.”
Closing the door and relocking it, I turned, “You don’t understand what the mind of the writer does to items like this. Once they’ve been turned into something of magicks, and generations of readers believe in them, they turn into something of legend. This wardrobe is legendary. And Therese used its magicks to make a gateway into another universe in her garden.” I walked past the cop and my son out to the side of the house again and pulled out from the mass of key an old key to the original lock of the wardrobe, “If this works, we are going to see some wonderful shit.”
The cop started giggling nervously, “And if it doesn’t.”
“Well, we’ll still be looking for her.” I pushed key into the lock, turned it and pushed the gate open to reveal the most gorgeously made up garden I had ever seen in my life!
All the statues we had seen from the house steps before came to life and greeted us. Birds flew and the sun shone through the trees. The grass was a lush green as the sky was a vivid blue. I stepped through the gate with Eli and the cop close behind me.
“Mum, what’s going on?” my son grabbed my arm.
“C.S Lewis created a wondrous universe called Narnia; it took place when the children went through a wardrobe into that universe. However it wasn’t the wardrobe that did that – it was the door.” I looked around at my sister’s brilliant work, “Doors are brilliant things to writers.”
The cop watched as an elf raced out the gate and within feet of it, he became a statue again, “So, anything which ventures outside of this garden becomes what it was before?”
“Yes.” I looked at him, smiling, “So many writers have used doors to enter and get out of their universes... I mean, Oz is a place which had a huge variety of ways to get through to it and out of. The Secret Garden is another universe too, which uses a door to get into and out of.”
The cop walked past me as he pointed to the back fence, spotting something of interest, “Say, there’s another door – a blue gate – it’s been left ajar.”
“No! Stay close by! That...” I shouted.
He turned and smiled, “Your sister could be in there.” As he touched it, the door opened wider and a hand grabbed his, pulling him through and slamming shut.
“... could be a door to anywhere.” I mumbled turning to Eli, “Let’s get out of here.”
“But Aunt Therese, we have to find her.”
“Where? There’s the blue door to The Secret Garden. And then, there’s a mirror over there to Oz, and then there’s any number of gateways which she’s created simply because she put up that wardrobe door.” I turned and walked back to the side gate, “I’m going home, Eli, and if you know what’s good for you, you’d follow me.” I turned, hoping to see him right by my side. But as I looked around, I found my son had vanished – to where? I’m not sure, “Oh jeez, Therese, why did you do this?”
I locked the gate and pocketed the keys.
Turning around, there was another cop, “Where’s my partner?”
What was I supposed to say?