Thursday, June 03, 2010

Sakura Blossom, 519 words

High on the Rooftop Jungle, in a small area well away from the worst runs of the Paper Boys and the Roof Rats, a small park is kept as a respite from the horrors of the Mad City. There, the keeper tends to her flowers and trees, welcoming wanderers with open arms and invitations to explore her Hanging Gardens.

The name is quite literal: the Hanging Gardens look as if someone had taken a small city park and inverted everything from the topsoil up to the tops of the trees. A thick layer of soil hangs in the air some twenty feet up, covered in lush grass and beautiful flowers, and out of which sprouts the inverted trees that grow towards the ground below them. The vast majority of these trees are Japanese cherry blossom trees, though other flowering trees are scattered around as well. The blossoms are in a constant state of growth and shedding, with petals falling all around — some to the "ground" of the Rooftop Jungle, some to the layer of soil above. There is even a faint glow that suffuses the area, as if the sun is just on the cusp of dawn.

The keeper is, like the Wax King, not obviously either Nightmare nor human. Her appearance strongly suggests it, but her manner is too polite and kindly for many to take her as a Nightmare. The name she gives is Sakura Blossom, though rumor maintains that it is not the only name to which she responds. She is a short, slender woman apparently made of wood, bark, leaves, and sakura petals, wearing a silk kimono that does not quite fit any of the common women's styles. In all ways she is polite, deferential, and calm right up to the point of stereotypical feminine passivity. Blossom never has a harsh thing to say to or about anyone, dedicating her life to the tranquility of the garden.

Even when questioned with pointed, direct answers, she seems literally unable to conceive of the horrors that throng through the Mad City — or even through the City Slumbering, where mere humans commit no end of violence upon one another. The most horrifying facts and arguments are swiftly rationalized away, and if there are any holes in her logic, the peace and serenity of the Gardens is often enough to allow such to pass uncommented upon.

For some, the peace of the Gardens is overwhelming. Whether it is some power of Blossom's or the influence of the Gardens, those who wander too deeply amongst the trees run the risk of being ensnared by the soothing atmosphere. For at the heart of the Hanging Gardens, there one can find the ultimate peace. There, the saplings grow in the shape of nooses, hanging freely from the soil above. They each await a single weary soul, ready to set aside the burden of being Awake, trading a harsh life for a peaceful death. Once a sapling has snared someone, the tree grows down and through the person's body, encapsulating them for all time.

And the Gardens grow a little larger.

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