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It is good that you have made another friend. I am… not ideal to be a person’s only contact with humanity, not least because I don’t match the precise definition. Perhaps this Sabrina will know more than I do about house care and surgery, the making of furniture boxes and the installation of refrigerators.

Perhaps, held in the heart of the house, it will be harder for panic attacks to reach you.

It would appear that what I send to you, and vice versa, is somewhat related to what comes out at the other end. Peaches and pears are fruit, the flowers became seeds. Perhaps it is simply that we are in two intersecting bubbles of existence and that the matter of my universe must be translated into a different form in yours, in the paper jacket of a black hole.

I have sent you what I think is a chess piece. I found it on the floor behind the piano. Maybe it will become a knight, in truth, on your side? Or perhaps this game we are playing, translating phrases of existence back and forth like children whispering a secret down a line, does not have hard and fast rules.

I hope it does. Those are the easy questions, when you can turn to another person and ask “am I not the only person who thinks about this? Has this happened to you, too?”

 

Still, I am afraid that what I am doing now – what I should have done a long time ago – will not be easy. That I do not yet have the right answer, that the third option I have finally begun to search for will evaporate as so much smoke and dust.

I have been to the night garden.

It was not very pleasant at all. Have you ever had one of those dreams – no, not the one you’re probably thinking of, but one where you’re still almost awake, unable to move, observed by something that cannot be seen, a stranger in your own body? How slowly, the terror rolls over you, how deeply you feel the regard of something not quite live, not quite universal, something that judges your very soul with scorn but might still eat you anyway.

The night garden is worse than that. It does not watch in a recognizable sense. There isn’t a word for what it does, chill in your brain and thick like peanut butter in your lungs, teeth aching with the salt-smelling silence, the certainty that, should all go wrong, it is not death that awaits you.

I had almost forgotten.

The night garden is not safe. I am also not a safe, tame thing, so I supposed it would be better than it was.

It was not.

I did not find what I was looking for.

This is a part of the Pen Pal Project, and a reply to Kiana’s latest letter, Glow Garden. As always, it’s best to read both sets of letters to understand the whole story.

Next chapter will be a plot-necessary interlude, so it may take a little time for me to get to the next set of replies. 

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