The Venomous Void Chapter 9

The Garden

Chapter of work in progress by Iris Carden

Eventually, the group started to see light, instead of just fog and dead trees, and the dim light from their lamps and the thread. The fog around them seemed to be slightly thinner, and they could see further in front of them.

“I thought I heard a bird,” Toad said.

Everyone listened.  They all heard a sound like a light “ting” of a bell. Moments later, it was answered by a similar call.

“We must be close,” Frederick said.

A while later, they came to a place where the fog just seemed to stop suddenly. There was a distinct line between fog and dead trees, and daylight and vibrant growing things. 

Everyone except Ghost Octavius stepped into the light.

Octavius held back.  “I don’t think I can,” he said.  “I don’t think I can leave the Void.”

He hesitantly put his hand toward the line between light and fog, but as his hand went through, but it began to fade.  He took a step back.

“I’m part of the fog,” he said.  “I belong in the Void now.  I can’t enter the garden, and I can’t go back.”

“Wait for us here,” Wendy said.  “Just stay near the thread so we can find you.  We’ll find a way to get you back.”

“You can’t help me, child, I’m part of the Void.”

“Wendy will think of a way.  She always does. Just wait us,” Frederick said.

“Yes, I’ll wait for you, Frederick.  At least I can walk back across the void with you the other way.”

Wendy, Frederick, and the animals walked into the garden.  It was full of brightly coloured flowers, of kinds they had never seen before.  Red and yellow birds flew from tree to tree, flower to flower, and made the “ting, ting” call.

“I hate to say this, but there’s more than two trees,” Woofles said. “How do we know which are the right ones?”

“I guess we start by finding out which ones have fruit on them, and maybe where the centre of the garden is?” Wendy said.

They quickly realised that none of the trees near them had fruit at all.  

They were becoming tired and considering having a rest, when they saw something very strange ahead of them.  Kneeling among some of the lower-growing flowers was a huge man, who had a bull’s head instead of a human one.

Frederick stopped still, but Wendy walked past him and approached the Minotaur.

“Hello,” Wendy said.  “We didn’t expect to find anyone here.” 

The Minotaur slowly stood up and turned to face them.

“Hello children,” he said, then stopped and looked more closely. “That thread, it belonged to my friend Theseus.”

“Oh, you’re that Minotaur!” Wendy exclaimed, delightedly.  “He told me about you, but he said he’d helped you get home to your own realm.  What are you doing here? Sorry, I should have introduced us.  I’m Wendy, this is my cousin Frederick, and in the back there is Woofles and on my shoulder is Toad.”

Everyone said their hellos.

“I’m the gardener,” the Minotaur answered.  “My name’s Maurice.  When the last gardener retired, I volunteered for the job.  I knew the fruit from here helped my very good friend when he was in trouble, so I thought I would come and look after the trees and the garden to help someone else. How is dear Theseus?”

“He’s fine,” Wendy said.  “He calls himself Mr Glanville now, and he’s principal at my school.  But he’s also a friend, and he’s given us some really helpful advice when we’ve needed it.”

“Oh do give him my regards when you see him, please,” Maurice the Minotaur said.  “I might have been trapped in that awful labyrinth forever if it hadn’t been for him and for Ariadne, who made that thread you’re all linked to.  She was a Watchitt though, so I guess she’s not still alive.”

“I don’t think so,” Wendy said, “at least I haven’t heard that anything has happened that would mean she was still alive, like the long-life fruit or anything like that.”

“No, I hadn’t heard of anything like that either.  Now, I suppose you would like me to show you how to find the fruit?”

“Yes please,” Wendy said.  “Someone we all love very much is very sick.  We want to make him better.”

“Of course,” Maurice said.  “The only ones who make it here are coming because of love.  Everyone else is stuck in the void.”

“Yes,” said Frederick. “Someone we care about is stuck there, too.  We need to find a way to help him as well.  A part of him is in the Ivory Tower, in isolation because he’s Fallen, and a part of him is in the Void.  We need to find a way to help him as well.”

“Let me think about that while I show you the fruit,” Maurice said.  “Follow me.”

He led them further into the amazing garden, with its bright colours and happy-sounding birds.

Eventually, they came to two trees, standing side by side. Each tree held only one piece of fruit.  One was bright red and almost heart shaped. The other was bright yellow and long like a fat sausage.

“Do you know which is which?” Wendy asked.

Maurice shook his head.

“We’ll get both then,” Frederick said.  “Being smart and living a long time like Mr Glanville won’t hurt Bobby. It will definitely be better than being sick.”

The fruit was high up, just beyond Frederick’s reach.  He lifted Wendy so she could reach.  They picked both, and carefully placed the red one in Wendy’s backpack and the yellow one in Frederick’s.

“You’ve walked a long way,” Maurice said to them. “There’s no night here, so you can’t judge by that when it’s time to sleep.  You should rest up before walking back.  I have a little hut if you’d like to sleep there.  

The hut was made of timber, and beside it grew some plants and trees the children and animals did recognise. They were perfectly ordinary fruits and vegetables.  

“I got used to this food when I was in the human realm,” Maurice said.  “I like to grow it wherever I am.”

Maurice made them dinner, then they pulled their sleeping bags from their backpacks, said their good-nights and went to sleep.

Chapters of the Venomous Void to date:

Now the story is complete, I will edit it and get it ready to publish it as a book. Look out for it soon at your favourite online bookshop.

The Venomous Void will be the sequel to Wendy Watchitt

Cover of Wendy Watchitt by Iris Carden.  Features oil painting of a girl with a toad sitting in her red curly hair.

Wendy Watchitt

Wendy Watchitt is just an average 10 year old girl.

She’s brave and clever and caring. She carries her pet toad on her head, and makes strange things happen when she blinks. Well, perhaps she isn’t quite so average.

A new adventure starts for Wendy when her family moves house.

A new town, a new home, new school, and new best friend are just the beginning of what she’s going to find.

Wendy will have to save her friends, travel between realms, learn some very big family secrets, and still find time to get her homework done.


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By Iris Carden

Iris Carden is an Australian indie author, mother, grandmother, and chronic illness patient. On good days, she writes. Because of the unpredictability of her health, she writes on an indie basis, not trying to meet deadlines. She lives on a disability support pension now, but her ultimate dream is to earn her own living from her writing.

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