The Poison Garden

In the dead of night a girl flees all she's ever known, fearing for her life and seeking to save that of her brother.
Far into the forest, beyond yew trees grown on human flesh, she seeks the Serpent, a small community of individuals secretly thriving away from the pious eyes of the Garden.
If she's lucky, their interests might just align.

Follow Henbane, Bluebottle, Mistletoe and others as they seek to tear down their old lives in order to build them anew.

(Cover by WinterSoldier)

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19. Chapter 18 - Artemis

Heavy. Tight. Like leather winding around my ribs, pulling closer… closer… closer…

Suffocating.

Damn, it hurts.

It hurts. It hurts!

Something shoots up my arm – the agony of blood vessels bursting.

There’s glass in my fist. I squeezed too hard.

I can’t hide that…

And I can’t say it was an accident…

SUFFOCATING.

Is it now?

Is now the time…?

Am I dying?

Please. (No.)

Please. (No.)

Please. (No no no.)

I want it to be over. (But it could get better… I could be free of this…)

I’m really suffocating.

Life flashing before my eyes, but it’s not like death… It’s not like death at all…

It starts with a hand… One hand, creased with scars where the wrist can’t quite hide. I don’t have time to blink before the blood begins to ooze, and then I find blinking just isn’t possible.

I have to stare. I have to watch as the red drains from within to drench my hand without, washing white to grey as the red drains down my sleeve, and then…

The hand of a child with blood underneath the fingernails. With tears as the lubricant and teeth as the scrubbing brush they try to remove it, but their fingernails just won’t clean.

They tear them off before they return to the cell.

The smell. The stench of faeces and rot, and damp moss clogging up the corners.

Someone begs.

They ask to be given mercy.

They don’t have a choice.

Pain.

Pain.

Pain.

Pain.

Pain.

PAIN.

God, it hurts!

Yelling deafens my ears.

Whoever is making that sound-!

And the hand tearing at my throat is my own.

And my tears are my own.

And my blood is my own.

I’m still alive.

And that hurts even more.

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