Pretty Little Corner Space


Mr. Cornell entered his house. He'd been out, shopping.

"Mabel, darling, I'm home" he called out. "Mmm, autumn has certainly set in, quite cool this morning, it is" he said almost to himself. He stooped, groaning a little, and lay the planting-tray he'd been carrying on the floor, beside the doorstep. He took his gloves and hat off and placed them carefully on the kitchen table. Having done that he almost retracted. As a rule, leaving things on the table or anywhere out of place was forbidden. But, given the recent situation, he resolved that Mabel wouldn't object. He left them lying there. He went towards the living-room.

"Today I'm starting our herb-garden" he announced laying his scarf on the sofa-back, quite casually this time. "Well, actually, my herb-garden, I'll take it upon me. You don't have to worry about anything. And if I occasionally get muddy boots, I'll clean up, I promise."

He picked up the tray again and examined it more carefully. At the shop he hadn't had the time to do so. There were twelve little plants in total, all varied.

"See what I brought? No, of course you don't, I mean, I brought some nice herbs, courtesy of that red-headed florist, two blocks down, at the corner. I believe she's called Lucy or Lucia, if I'd heard aright. A lovely name… it's Roman, you know …"

He crossed the living-room, went through the hall and paused before the back-door. Tray in hand, he raised his eyes as if reminiscing something long-past.

"And, lucky me, I didn't have to wait at all" he continued his narration. "There was another customer inside, a brown-haired young lady. I almost bumped into her. But, apparently, she didn't mind. Moreover, she was kind enough to offer me her turn. Oh, it's heart-warming. Polite people, even complete strangers, renew one's confidence that there is some good in this world, they do" Mr. Cornell said nodding cheerfully, as he opened the back door.

He went out, into his back-yard garden, up to the tool-shed. There he sat at a stool and exchanged his walking-shoes for rubbers, groaning now and then.

"Ah, we got old, Mabelene. Remember that Beatles' song, 'When I'm Sixty-Four'? I'm long past sixty-four now, he-he… And poor John Lennon, he didn't even make it to his forties. Murdered, he was. And what for? Did he do anything wrong? Did he do anyone wrong? No. Yet, he was murdered. One should take heed…"

He picked up a basket hanging from a peg, various gardening tools inside it. The seedlings-tray in his arms and the basket held with his right hand, he reached the corner space where the herb-garden was to be.

"Oh, Mabel, she's such a nice person, this flower-girl" he rambled on. "The chrysanthemums I brought to you last Christmas, well, they were from her, too. Do you remember how beautifully they were arranged? I wonder, did she recognise me? She could have, although I'm not such a regular customer, but shop-proprietors, they have a keen eye, don't they, they depend on returning customers, don't they? Anyways, she did give me these herbs free of charge. Isn't it fantastic? So generous of her. I only wonder if she heard me telling her they'd be planted here, on the north side. A bit windy here, sometimes it freezes, too. I could devise a little wind-shield, made of plastic, so they won't freeze". At that he squinted to make out the names on the tags. "To tell you the truth, I don't recognise all names, especially the scientific ones, here, in fine print. But they're bound to make tea, wouldn't you think?"

Mr. Cornell put his garden-gloves on and knelt near the flowerbed. He took the first little plant out of its pot. Looked at the tag attached to its stem. He carefully mouthed the Latin name: 'Echinacea'. "What do you know, I knew I'd recognised this one. It's a coneflower, good for the immune system, they say. In our age, one has to take some measures, wouldn't you agree? I believe it requires humid spots…"

Her three-day-old corpse was more than half-buried inside the bed. Only the face, the breasts and the toes were protruding. "The toes, well, I can shear them off" he mused "the breasts, I'll save for… say, decoration and the eyes… aha!"

He reached nearby, took hold of the dibble and poked it into Mabel's dead eye. White fluid popped out eggwhite-like and oozed on the bit of exposed cheek, before it was absorbed by dirt. He took the tool out again, inserted the little plant securely inside the burst eye-ball and patted a handful of dirt around it, completely covering the now-grey flesh.

"Shame we won't be sharing, Mabey" he said raising his eyebrows, as if shaking off any responsibility. "Those girls I've been telling you about, the florist and the brunette customer, they have such nice manners". He smiled. "Now, if you had been a little kinder as well, we wouldn't have had to end up like this, would we?" he said affectionately. He reached for the dibble again.


P.S.: Genre-tagging: crime/horror.