Internal Wilds

by Ava Galbraith

            The blue-ribbon-winning roses bothered Nora. The pin-straight, somber green stocks unfurled into blaring coral, soft blush, oily pearl. Their manicured petals and brushed-on leaves hid lovely thorns.

            Her silver shears cocked towards her grinning face as she marched through the twining lawn to reach the brush. The sharpened blades, nestled deep in the trimmed blossoms, calmed her anxious thoughts.

            One twitch and those pure thorns would glisten under the sun.

            “You stay away from my roses, Nora!” The cry was sharp and pungent. Mrs. Cornella Ives bustled from her spotless back porch towards the stumpy stone wall. “Shoo, go.”

            “You would be so pretty in my garden.” Nora tilted her head back, her eyes shifting to lush vines behind her. “So pretty next to my ivy.”

            Her laugh chimed and Mrs. Ives straightened.

            “Stay away.” Mrs. Ives stomped her feet rapidly and shook her finger at Nora. Her wizened eyes narrowed. “I am watching you. They're mine, go back.” 

            Nora teetered forward and nipped the crone’s digit. Her smile sharpened and her tongue slipped along her lips. Mrs. Ives grimaced. 

            Nora turned towards her run-down shed and shimmed open the crumbling door. Her hips swayed back and forth as she tugged the gardening equipment from its cobwebbed corner.

             “How’s Mr. Ives.” Nora’s hand traced her figure. Dancing over her perked breasts and down her smooth midriff.

            “He’ll come to his senses soon and return.” The older woman’s heated voice turned hush at the last notes. Her eyes darted towards the surrounding cookie-cutter houses.  

            “He won’t stay away for too long.” Nora batted her lashes. “He feels alive with me.”

             Mrs. Ives sneered and thumped back to her neatly kept house. The sliding glass door squeaked harshly and Nora could faintly hear the evening news come to life out of Mrs. Ives’s kitchen window. Civilian shooting, bank scam, grave robbery.  

            She knelt down in the over-turned dirt. The Queen Ann’s Lace, with its vein-like roots, would become a flourishing edition to Nora’s wild thicket. A beetle scrambled over her hand and dived into the flower bed. Her trowel scraped the top layers and a rotting hand peeked through the black soil.

            Mr. Ives would need a deeper bed.

About the Author

Ava Galbraith is fascinated by unexpected turns in stories, particularly the reveal of villains. She dives deep into characters’ psyches and uses stream of consciousness to tell stories. Her work has been published in Ripples In Space podcast, Carnegia, The Dewdrop, Finding the Birds, San Joaquin Review, Open: Arts & Literary Magazine, Voyage, BrightFlash1000, CP Quarterly, and Down in the Dirt (web and print). When not developing intriguing flash fiction, she competes in equestrian show jumping and enjoys emerging herself in foreign cultures. Ava lives in Tucson, Arizona.