Garden Gnome – by Zelda May Harper-Balsamo (College)

The wind chatted on stilettos like busy feet in a crowded city, a looming presence you are either born admiring or die trying to escape. In a world like this, there is only one hero.
Garden Gnome!
The child stands in all his red caped triumph, surveying the city of rose buds for any thorns that might harm the great city of grandpa’s garden.
There!
From the corner of his eyes he sees movement, the slightest that only an eye so trained as Garden Gnome who spent years in urban scouts, observing fake wilderness, can spot. He crouches again, tilting his favorite beanie over his eyes as not to be spotted and waits.
Before he realizes, he can’t see.
He tilts the hat back for viewing purposes.
There it is again.
Slow.
Calculated.
A brewing evil.
Garden Gnome checks his trusty spade. Glinting like a knife in the tree’s Luna freckles. He coils, snaps, and springs like a rubber band out of the tree branches. Dashing, panther attacking the flower patch with hand and spade! No thorns left alive, not a leaf un-shredded, no dirt unturned!
He emerges victorious among garden protectors, holding the defeated snail in moonlit glory!
The lights turn on. Oh no.
“Paul! It’s the middle of the night! What are you doing out of bed!?”
“Saving the world?”
Evil cannot be defeated in a night. Nor two, nor three. Evil rests its eyes, for it is safe for now, but watch out. Because Garden Gnome is coming for you. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but definitely two weeks from now when he’s allowed outside again.

Learn more about the contest which inspired this story:  Fleur 2020-01 – Crocus
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