Neighbor’s Garden Gnome

One day, you are out in your yard when the next-door neighbor’s garden gnome suddenly walks over and starts telling you about “what is really going on.” Write this scene.

Post your response (500 words or less) in the comments below.

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One thought on “Neighbor’s Garden Gnome

  1. kathleenmagner

    Lora ripped the last dandelion out of the earth alongside the driveway and pitched the weed into the bucket resting between the hostas the previous owners had left behind. Coming to her sneakered feet, she hefted the pail and scoured for any miscreants she had missed. Flush leaves bounded in the summery breeze, the dirt beneath their striped canopy finally free from lurkers and clandestine sprouts.

    Giving the ferns a nod of farewell, Lora rounded the corner of their two-story colonial and faced the front yard. She scanned the trimmed grass she had mowed the hour before, the smell of gasoline and cut blades hovering like fog. Checking the slate pathway leading from the sidewalk to the brick stoop, she eyed the mulch steeping between the irregular slabs.

    The mottled brown and plowed lawn remained uninterrupted by errant green specks.

    With a satisfied bounce to her step, Lora checked another item off her list of chores and crossed to the blooming cherry tree separating their property from the Crane’s stone manse. The shade cast by the spindly branches vanished beneath the Crane’s hearty maple, its gnarled trunk thicker than her waist.

    Kneeling beneath her slimmer cherry, Lora breathed in the sweet scent of flowers transitioning into leaves while the damp ground seeped into her tattered jeans. With spade in her gloved hand, she glowered at the first tiny maple sprouting within the cherry’s protection.

    “You don’t belong here.”


    Lora glanced up, budding tree clenched, the spade held stiff. Hours speed walking through half-lit urban streets poured into her heart, making it patter like her feet had on cracked and battered concrete.

    A gust stirred the cherry’s branches, the soft rustle of petals reminding her of their suburban escape.

    Putting the darker memories aside, she sought the speaker.

    The Crane’s diminutive stone gnomes with their gray pointed hats, A-line dresses, and buttoned jackets, stared back from alternating spots at a perimeter of hedges the hired gardener kept trimmed for the elderly couple. Petite evergreen leaves lined the exterior like a moat, protecting the occupants and their newly arrived family in a silent but ever growing barricade.

    Down the street the Martin’s kids rode their bikes and teased each other about a new trick. A clang of gears, scrape, clatter of frame on asphalt meant one, the littlest Lora guessed, hadn’t succeeded. Laughter rebounded a moment later and the spin of tires resumed.

    Along the adjoining thoroughfare, traffic puttered, taking with it the majority of the neighbors. Driveways sat as vacant as hers, everyone having headed out to enjoy the first warm and blue-skied weekend.

    Or, she suspected, they were at work like Mark.

    With a reminder to wear a hat next time to ward off the mind-muddling sun, Lora knocked the dirt off the maple’s roots, and added the limp three leaves and slivered trunk to her bucket.


    Lora stiffened again. She turned her head slowly toward the distinct German emanating from the Crane’s direction.

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