Ginger Lane – by Juma (Senior)

I’ve wanted to live on Ginger Lane for years. The surrounding neighborhoods are elegant, clean and safe. The forest-bordered lane offers privacy. The big draw, however, is the rumored gardens. No one from outside has ever seen the inner courtyard or the residents.  But there has always been gossip.  
Today I’m finally moving in.  The serpentine lane curves its way to the four houses, built in a connected square surrounding the elusive courtyard and gardens.  Our village historian believes the individual houses were once wings of a manor house, built by a wealthy recluse over 200 years ago, then divided into separate homes, each facing a different direction.
I questioned the house agent about the other owners, but either she doesn’t know who they are or she’s not telling.  No matter. I’ve always coveted the house, which is immaculately furnished, with an historic flair. A dream house!
It’s been a long, arduous moving day, so it’s almost dusk when I finally step out into the gardens.  Oh my, a maze!
I start out, confidently exploring the yew-lined pathways. I’m really good with puzzles, so this should be fun. After a few twists and turns I become aware of a hypnotic, tantalizing aroma.  A Ginger Lily!  So that’s the origin of Ginger Lane.  I bet the lily is in the center of the maze.  All I have to do is follow the scent.  I soon realize, however, that the fragrance permeates the entire garden. No matter which direction I take, I’m overpowered with perfume. By now it’s dark and I’m lost.
“You’ll never get out. I’ve been wandering for eighty-four years.”  The first whisper sounds male. 
“Over one hundred years for me,” a female voice whispers back.  Like the scent, the voices seem to come from all directions at the same time.
“Two hundred years lost,” wails another.
Dazed by the omnipresent odor, crazy with fear, I run screaming through the maze, crying for help.  Surely my new neighbors will hear me.  Then I realize that all the whisperers are my neighbors, Ginger Lane ghosts who lost their way.
Learn more about the contest which inspired this story:  Nutshell Narratives 2019-01
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