It was in the middle of the garden. Well, not so much the exact middle as slightly to the right. Or left. Depending on your view. Anyway, they were surrounded by garden-y things. Tall sunflowers, green chives with their purple flowers in bloom, a few green pepper plants that grew higher than your knees. There was a brick paved path between the dirt and plants, in case you didn’t want to get your shoes muddy. Really though, who would mind? It’s a garden. The entire point is based on the high quality of the soil the roots found a home in. And rain. Which, if you looked up at the sky there was no mistaking. Blue for days and not a cloud. Mildly warm, as the sun had not reached its curve back down for the afternoon. It was important to get out and tend to the garden before 3pm. After that, intolerably warm. Humid too. There was no way to stay in the garden, surrounded by lush greenery, in that sort of humidity. Loose fitting clothing would get in the way and hats! A must. He brushed away a gnat, or a fly from his face. Might have been a bee - He heard buzzing over his left ear.
The tomatoes. Ah, that was the vegetable he proudly leaned down to inspect. So many types! One for cooking, one for his little salads he placed in the middle of the table for each dinner. The bright orange ones, small yet sweet and next to them in a row that went for the length of the side of the garden, perfectly circular red tomatoes bigger than a man’s fist. He grabbed several vines that had begun to grow unruly out of their cages and tucked them neatly away. Brushing against the leaves emitted the smell of summer. A heady, earthy green, and he closed his eyes to imagine the taste combined with basil a dash of olive oil. Some cracked pepper. Perfect.
He stepped back and placed his hands on his hips and nodded in approval. It seemed that finally, finally!, he would enjoy a perfect growing season. No one could boast of their harvest now! Ah those leaves. He bent down again to rub several between his fingers. Lush and green and… yellow… with little black spots… No. Wait. That wasn’t right! He crouched down and dug with his fingers about an inch under the soil. It was perfect. Not too dry, not too wet. No matter. The leaves were quickly discarded and the plant was blemish free again.
And his hand rose to brush against the flesh of a single tomato. He couldn’t resist. Off the vine it came with a quick snap at the stem.
He weighed it in his palm and rubbed his thumb over the skin. Smooth and firm, like a … Never mind. The thought made him smile and he chuckled. Ah, again the smell of summer. He brought the tomato to just under his nose and inhaled deeply. He would relish this moment. A victory in unison with the forces of Mother Nature. A tiny seed now transformed and about to fill his mouth with the mysterious combination of acid and sweet juices.
He licked his lips.
And opened his eyes, his mouth in formation around the red skin.
He pulled back his hand and reached into the tomato with his fingers and pressed gently, just where the one inch hole was visible. Pierced and jagged skin, and the flesh eaten to the core.
His lips closed and his mouth turned in a dark frown and his eyes flashed a spark of fire.
And on a wooden post, just a few feet away, sat a lovely plump creature bobbing up and down, twisting its curious head back and forth and balancing against the wind with its tail.