Maria was tilling in her garden when she noticed a hole by the barbed fenced. It was a little hole and as such Maria didn’t think too much about it but found a little wood to cover it. After tilling parts of the garden and watering her favourite plant, the hibiscus, she got ready, put on her shoes and departed for work on the other side of town.
This year she felt she was ready to give a proper account of her self at the Flower Gala Competition. She had been making submissions to the board for years and had come second to Arthur the last 3 times.
It was always weird to Maria, coming second to Arthur. She always felt it was unbearable being beaten by a man, it was unnatural. The first time she lost to Arthur, surprised was how she felt, the second time she was filled with anger and the last time despite all her ploy to try to hide it, a disgust had creeped in. She showed the disgust to Arthur despite all her tries to hide it. Maria felt immediately guilty and apologized the day after but she had already been tagged a crybaby.
This time however, Maria wasn’t going to let it happen. All year, she had undergone trainings, read florist books and had gotten the soil that would produce the best of flowers. She would turn the corner this year and win him once and for all.
Maria found the hole in the garden again 4 days after she had first discovered it. She proceeded to the store to buy the materials she needed to mend the patch. It was a week to the competition so it was imperative that everything went well.
Two days later Maria noticed the hole yet again after she had mended it. This was gradually stirring her up because this hole could only be dug by some sort of critter. It could wreck her precious hibiscus and that would leave her worse off than other years.
This time Maria spent hours pulling out the entire fence and constructing a new one to product her prized possession. She also boarded the walls of the fence with wood.
Maria became restless at work, during lunch, and on her way back as well. She couldn't sleep and made her in the middle of the night to check on her garden. At about 3am she slept off and had the worst sleep.
Maria woke up the next day in a haze. Her escapades the night before had left her with a headache. She made her way to the garden and was slightly bemused to find more than half of her hibiscus had withered or been destroyed. It was only a few days from the competition.
Maria searched around the fence and found 3 holes that had appeared. Her mind got a little twisted as she tried to fathom how 3 holes had magically appeared on the night that she guarded the garden till 3 in the night. She had a meeting by 9 that morning, but Maria couldn't be bothered by that. She turned off her phone and decided to wallow in self-pity.
In all her 32 years, Maria had no friends. Even at the orphanage she had been alone and had studied hard enough to escape that world. She had seen no need for any relationship with humans and the thought of having a pet freaked her out. All she was good at was gardening and maybe work. She was distraught.
The more Maria thought about her hibiscuses the more vengeful she got. She had never felt like this about anything. The feeling was alien to her. It was obvious she was in a sour mood. She wanted to punish the critter that had robbed her of her victory.
Maria watered the few remaining plants and arranged them closer to the fence. She went to her computer and searched for ways to set traps, which she later did all over the garden. She then waited, brewing coffee all night to keep her awake.
Maria waited and waited and waited. At about 4am she heard snapping sounds coming from the garden and quickly ran towards it. There in one of her traps, she found a mice. It didn't look like anything she had read about, but had a variety of colours on its body.
Maria brought the mice into her garden shed and thought to examine it. It didn't look like what she had seen earlier. It now had long ears that touched the ground, it had buckteeth and a long tail with black rings. It's fur was covered with patches of blue, red, violet, pink, white and some colours Maria had never seen.
Maria had intended to end it’s life for what it had cost her but on seeing such a beautiful creature, she decided to keep it. She didn't know what to feed it so she drove to the supermarket with the creature. Maria left it in the car and laid a tarp over the cage which the creature was in. It felt like an adventure.
Maria quickly bought celery, carrots, corns and even bananas from the supermarket which was practically empty save for the counter attendant.
On getting home Maria laid out all she bought on the table. She stood hands akimbo as she unconsciously got excited thinking about the eagerness with which her new found friend would devour the delicacy.
Maria went to the car and brought out the cage which still had the tarp over it. She set it on the table close to the food and slowly removed the tarp so as not to scare the creature.
It was gone.
Maria checked the sides of the cage and although it was intact, her little friend was somehow missing. She checked all around the shed and even retraced her steps but couldn't find it. It was gone just like that, just like every thing in her life.
Maria began screaming, while pushing and pulling the furniture in her house. Only for her to suddenly feel tired and drowsy and was almost slumping to the ground when she was held up. She felt the prick of a needle. She saw Nurse Jules walking in front of her beckoning her to follow or more like she was telling the attendants holding Maria up on both sides to follow.
Nurse Jules opened the room, Maria’s room. It was all white and looked heavily padded. The attendants laid her on the padded bed and left the room, while Nurse Jules sat close to her and slowly stroked her hair.
“You had one of your episodes again, Maria”, Nurse Jules whispered. “But don't worry, I am here to take care of you”.
Maria slowly closed her eyes as she unwillingly retired to nothingness.
"Sleep,okay? You will be fine"