James’s Note: Welcome to the Deadly Garden. The things in this garden were so much fun to create. We also get to see the forest go to war. After one of my beta readers got to this scene, he spent the next day telling me how I needed a whole story about Daniel adding new things to his Deadly Garden. I took that as very high praise.
Israel reached into his coat and drew out a long hunting knife that would have made Jim Bowie proud. “If your plan involves some heroic last stand Spartan shit, I am so leaving your ass behind and taking my chances with your stupid death forest.”
I slung my shotgun over my shoulder, and turned to open the gate in the stone wall at our backs. “Nope, my plan is infinitely stupider than that. It also stands a slightly better chance of working. Follow me. Don’t touch anything, don’t look at anything, and if anything calls out to you, ignore it.”
“Well that just sounds fucking lovely”, said Israel in mock cheerfulness as he followed me into my deadly garden.
When we had walked into my forest, the temperature had dropped as the shade covered us. It felt almost like being inside a living thing. Walking into this garden was different. Everything seemed unnaturally still. Even though the garden was large, the walls felt close and oppressive. The shade laid over everything like a heavy blanket. Some of this feeling was due to the menacing aura given off by some of the things contained within. Some of it was the spells and wards I had laid on this place in an attempt to keep everything calmed.
All of the vegetation was kept well back from the path we were on. I saw Israel glance around, even though I told him not to. I wasn’t too worried. We weren’t near anything that could kill him at a glance.
The deadly Garden was beautiful. To one side of the path grew several beds of flowers. Their colors were truly kaleidoscopic. The flowers rotated slightly, their colors changing as the sun glinted off of them. They weren’t particularly dangerous themselves, but if the hips from the buds were crushed and made into a tea, they created the most powerful mind control potion in existence.
Vining flowers that looked like honeysuckle grew over a gazebo. Beneath it’s arch, an enchanted harp played. The music was sweet, but haunting. If not for its lullaby keeping them sedated, they would lash out at everything that went nearby, draining any living thing of blood in seconds.
From outside, we could hear gunshots. There was screaming followed by a boom and whoosh that I recognized as high explosives.
“Well, fuck me. It looks like they made it into the forest. They’re going to be here a lot sooner than I expected.”
I quickly dug my hands through the garden soil, briefly taking a peek through the eyes my trees didn’t have. My forest had turned into a war zone.
Locust trees were driving 10 inch thorns straight through the ballistic armor the humans wore. One of the lesser vampires was crucified to a wild plum tree by some spirited blackberry brambles as the meanest black locust tree I ever planted drove a branch through the vampire’s heart. Most of the humans were dead by now. Only a handful of them had even made it through the hedge.
I noticed a couple of the vampires were having trouble with the kudzu. It seized them by their necks and drug them down into its mass on the forest floor. One of them screamed as it started to grow down his throat.
The other one was being slowly ripped apart.