The Queen of the Green and the Secret Garden 

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Mary Lathra’s story began with her mother, Priya Lathra. Mary’s fondest and most intimate moment with her beloved mother was at her birth. Once she’d left her mother’s arms and found herself held by her nanny, her mother would be as distant to her as she was to the world. Priya Lathra was a star gracing the silver screens of Bollywood in its golden age, captivating the entire world in her magical eye. Besides being a sight for sore eyes, one of her lesser achievements if you could believe it, Priya had an almost magical ability of swaying the very world to her will. Before she’d hit the big screens, she captured English audiences in magical shows anywhere and everywhere she was allowed to perform, branding herself as the Queen of the Green.  

Flowers and plants would bend and sway at her muses, butterflies, bees and birds chirping and fluttering around her glimmering smile, an angelic melody easing from her silver tongue. She brought heaven to earth for her enchanted spectators, and they proclaimed her a star. In India, Priya would return as the Queen of the Green, her next conquest, the silver screen. Mary would learn all about her mother from her nanny, Maisha, and all who sang songs of her majesty. She longed to be seen in her mother’s glorious green eyes, yet it was always from a distance, a gentle smile at her progeny, before turning away, the world in her sights.  

Mary learnt of her mother’s death in the newspapers, an image of her face plastered on the front page with large bold letters reading: THE QUEEN IS DEAD, LONG LIVE THE QUEEN OF THE GREEN! Mary was old enough to understand what death meant, the shock overcoming her. It wasn’t so much the fact that her mother had died, but rather, the fact that Priya Lathra had died. Mary never really knew who her mother was, not many did, yet everyone knew who Priya Lathra was, who the Queen of the Green was, and there she was, dead.  

The flowers shriveled, the bugs dug deep, and the birds flew away, Priya’s endless estates decaying in waste, becoming mere memories of what they once were. Gone were the large parties and celebrations of her reign, enter cold dark and empty corridors, silent in mourning. Mary’s life, as she knew it, was over, she now found herself alone.  

Yet she had always been alone. She’d been raised by strangers and servants that cared little for her, all except for Maisha, her nanny. It was in Maisha’s arms that Mary lay, watching her mother smile, face wet with sweat from the labors of life’s creation. It was Maisha who fed her, Maisha who washed her, Maisha who tucked her in bed and Maisha who would tell her stories of her mother, lulling her to sleep. It was thus Maisha who Mary mourned for the most, as she found herself moving to England, called fourth to live at Misselthwaite Manor with her estranged father. 


Mary had never met, nor even known much of her father. Archibald Lennox had been a mystery that she had no clue even existed, yet apparently, he had always known of her existence. Under the care of Mrs. Medlock, chief steward of his manor, Mary made the long journey to her father’s country house, a place the likes of which she’d never seen before. It was grand, a labyrinth of green gardens that seemed to stretch till forever. Mary thought herself unable to ever pick flowers from all of them, it’d take a lifetime. When she entered the manor, another feat entered, as she thought herself unable to enter all the rooms within the house, there seemed to be hundreds upon hundreds of them! 

Yet she’d never be able to explore them all, any of them actually, for Mrs. Medlock forbade her from wandering out of her room. What once hinted at adventure and wonder in a new world, now soured into imprisonment and boredom behind four walls as Mary looked out through her window, her only escape from Mrs. Medlock’s captivity. The father who had welcomed her into his care remained a mystery, Mrs. Medlock refusing to answer any of her curiosities as to who he was and most importantly, where he was!  

Back in India, Mary remembered asking Maisha about her father, yet she would always receive hesitant eyes. Maisha was her only friend and the only one that seemed to like her. Maisha was also the only connection Mary had to her mother, as Maisha would tell her tales of the Queen of the Green that no one else knew. Among these tales were who her mother was before she became known by all the world. In one tale, her mother had been an orphan with no family nor friends to care for her, she had always been alone. Mary wondered if this was why her mother was okay with letting her grow up on her own as well, for it was merely how she had grown up herself, perhaps. It was much harder for her mother however, yet everything would change when she moved to England, when she moved to Misselthwaite Manor, for you see, Mary wasn’t the first Lathra to walk its halls. 

Mary wondered if her mother had lived in the very room she now lived in, slept in the very bed she lay in. If Maisha’s tales were true, her mother would’ve likely been cleaning that very room and tending to the Masters’ needs as a mere servant. Now here Mary sat as a little mistress of the house, tended to by servants, her mother having far outlived her humble beginnings. Mary believed this tale, for Maisha had been her mother’s closest confidante and friend as well, tending to her only daughter and family, but this was all according to Maisha at least. Mary also believed this because it brought her closer to her mother, for she felt herself walking in her very shoes, learning more and more about that seemingly unsolvable mystery.  

One of the few interactions with her mother happened on Mary’s birthday, and her mother had thrown a party in her honor. She escaped the eyes of her guests, shining her eyes solely on Mary, granting her a gift. It was a golden key, and Maisha would later claim it had come from Misselthwaite Manor. 

Maisha’s tale also brought answers to another mystery, that of her father. She knew now that he was the master of the manor, and her mother had once been a servant in this very manor. Was this where they met, where the love that would conceive her was born? Was it even love, and if so, why had they been separated, continents away from one another? Why had she always been alone, without them? 


It seemed Mary’s questions would never be answered, that was until her father visited her. It had been another ordinary morning as she awoke, another unnamed servant serving her breakfast, their face cross with annoyance of the house nuisance. Mary felt as if everyone hated her, all refusing to speak to her nor even so much as smile at her. On this day, however, a smiling stranger entered her room, a bouquet of flowers in his hands. He was an Englishman, seemingly the same age as her mother, and just as striking. What was more striking was how he treated her with kindness, granting her the flowers and going about asking her what her name was. Mary was stunned, not having spoken to anyone in a while. She replied, her English accented in foreignness, yet he understood her clearly, not rebuking nor mocking her like the others, but in fact, seeming quite charmed. 

He then introduced himself as Archie, her father. Though kind, he was a soft-spoken man, seemingly awkward and shy, yet endearing as he let her out for a walk, the two waltzing the green gardens. They didn’t speak much, aside from his reassurances that he was going to take care of her. He then wondered if she missed India and she revealed to him how she missed Maisha. Here, she was ignored and frowned at, refused from leaving her room, at least back in India, she had Maisha to tend to her and tell her stories. Archie’s face then fell in pity, he promised her that he’d make her stay more comfortable, this was her home and she deserved to feel at home.  

Mary didn’t know what to feel, she had spent so much time ignored and forgotten by the world, and here this man was, promising to answer her every need. She now saw how her mother might’ve fallen in love with him, she loved him already! She then asked him about her mother, and he paused, worrying Mary. Had she said something wrong? The man crumbled into grief, quickly departing from her in tears without another word, leaving her alone in blink. That was the last that she saw of him. 

Yet his promises remained, even in his departure. Mary was now liberated from her room, allowed to explore the gardens outside, though the other rooms inside the house were still restricted, Mrs. Medlock keeping a stern eye on her. Mary’s wildest dreams were also venerated, as Maisha soon entered the Manor, having travelled all the way from India, here to resume tending to Mary. A certain fellow walked her in, alongside Mrs. Medlock, strikingly similar to her father in appearance. 

Craven Lennox was the man’s name, and unlike his brother, he was stout and cold, his face gleaming with disgust. Mary learned not to like him the very moment she met him, and she wasn’t the only one. Finally reunited with Maisha, she learnt all about this man through her tales. It seemed he had taken to handling all of his brother’s business, including that of his newfound daughter, Mary. Being the sole survivor of her mother, Mary now learned that she had inherited all of her late mother’s assets and estates, becoming a very wealthy mistress indeed. Yet she was still a child, and Craven, through his brother who’d been assigned caretaker of Mary at her mother’s request, now controlled all of the young mistress’ inheritance.  

He had become wealthy indeed. Maisha told tales of how he was selling many of Mary’s mother’s estates back in India, bringing all the money back to England, as he dismantled the Queen of the Green’s queendom, piece by piece, and there was nothing Mary could do about it. 


Despite the discomforting news, Mary tried to look towards the good, sleeping peacefully as Maisha’s sweet voice lulled her back to slumber. Mary and Maisha seemed inseparable, both outsiders to the manor, slowly trying to make a space for themselves in a place that seemed to loathe them. Mrs. Medlock remained an eternal pest, nagging at Mary and now Maisha, who felt it the most as a mere servant. Even though Maisha had tutored Mary, mastering many tongues including English, it was never good enough for Mrs. Medlock, alongside many other things. Yet Mary and Maisha found comfort in each other, trading tales and wandering around in the gardens together. Mary would find herself waltzing alone most of the time, however, Mrs. Medlock was leashing Maisha in as many duties as she could.  

What was once a curse soon ripened into a gift as Mary’s lone adventures led her to new friends. She met Ben Weatherstaff, an old fellow who tended to the gardens. He could be cheery and offer good company, but he could also turn cold and distant, pulling away from Mary and her endless curiosities. Yet the two found solace in their shared solitude. Mary also met a little red bird which always sang to her, tagging along on her journeys, chirping and tweeting about in cheer, melting her heart in glee. She learned the bird was friends with Ben too, and after following along in its flight, she met its other friend, a young boy named Dickon.  

Dickon was friends with all the green. Birds, butterflies, bees and foxes flocked toward him as he ensnared them in his charm. Mary too fell to his allure, utterly struck by his kindness and welcoming spirit. The two became fast friends, and they felt they’d always known one another despite being raised in different continents! Mary no longer walked alone, new friends by her side, as Dickon and his green army marched alongside her. Mary took to calling Dickon the little prince of the green due to how much the green loved him, just like it had loved her mother. Despite his title, Dickon was of more humble roots, the child, among many more siblings, of mere servants working within the Manor and living in a cottage hidden in the green. Among these servants was Dickon’s older sister, Martha, who had befriended Maisha. 

Maisha and Mary would trade stories of their new friends in her room, all glittering with glee, finally happy to be seen and accepted by kind friends. They’d all wander together under bright blue skies, but when Mrs. Medlock had her way, both would still have company. Mary and Dickon would adventure together while Maisha and Martha worked alongside each other, loving one another’s company, in their shared misery.  

For the first time in a long time, Mary felt herself alive, felt herself seen, no longer a shadow ignored by the world, but a bright star glimmering with joy and wonder. Her mother might not have seen her, her father might not have known her, but with Dickon and friends, she was known, seen and celebrated! Yet her mother’s light continued to shine brighter than hers, new tales of the Queen of the Green springing forth, from the green itself. 


Mary didn’t speak much of her mother anymore. After having frightened her father away, the topic of her mother always seemed to ruffle the wrong feathers. Ben Weatherstaff would grow cold and distant at her curiosities about her, and Maisha’s face would sour into sadness at the mention of her name, while Mrs. Medlock would surely have none of it. Mary didn’t want to lose her new friends with asking the wrong questions, so she didn’t speak of her mother anymore. The mystery remained etching at her soul however, and it would be the little red bird that scratched the itch.   

Dickon had not only tamed and charmed the green, but he had also learnt to understand it, speaking with the birds and bees, understanding their tweets and buzzes. It was a magical sight that perplexed young Mary, she wondered how he could do it, yet neither could offer any answers, nothing but awe flushing over her. Dickon learnt that the green spoke of a secret garden hidden among the labyrinth of gardens in the massive manor. It was where many of them came from, including the little red bird which would fly toward it, perched up on a tree within it. Mary and Dickon could not follow it in, this garden seemingly impenetrable as its doors stayed shut, locked.  

Mary inquired about the locked garden with Ben, and he would grow cold, leaving her presence. Dickon would be none the wiser and when he turned to the little red bird for answers, it told him entering the garden meant nothing, for within the locked garden was another garden, a true secret garden, one filled with wonder and magic the likes of which they’d never seen, yet it too was locked, even to the little red bird.  

Dickon wondered how it knew so much about this secret secret garden, and it revealed to him that this was its home, the home of all the green. Mary was perfectly satisfied with leaving it at that, despite the promises of magic and wonder. The mystery of the garden made Ben Weatherstaff ignore her and Mrs. Medlock shout that it was none of her business. Despite its promises, it didn’t seem worth the trouble. That was until the little red bird told Dickon that the secret garden was home to not only the green, but also the Queen of the Green, who ruled it as her queendom! 

The little red bird spoke of how the Queen was to return and how it wished to offer its thanks and fealty to her, for you see, the Queen had liberated the secret garden from the rule of an evil tyrant, long, long ago. All Mary heard however was the Queen of the Green… The Queen of the Green… Her mother! How could it be, could it be? The curiosities burst within her, trapping her in mad rumination. The thought of her mother being alive was too great, too sweet to let pass. Yet how? This was impossible, absurd, unreal, yet isn’t that what magic is. She’d learnt this from a boy who could talk to birds, this was all absurd! Her entire life was absurd and yet she was here, hearing about her mother, still living on, reigning on, in a secret garden, still just as magical as she had always been. 

Mary had to do something, anything, maybe this time things would be different, maybe this time, her mother would finally see her, just like Dickon, Martha and Maisha saw her. Like she now saw herself.    


Mary didn’t know who else to turn to. She’d told Dickon about everything, about her mother. He didn’t know what to make of it, but if there was even the slightest, tinniest chance that it was real, she owed it to herself to try, besides, he was a stern believer in the magical, he could talk to birds after all. 

Mary wanted to tell Maisha about it, but she couldn’t bare seeing her face run cold with sadness again. She feared it might even anger her, especially if she went on speaking about how her mother might still be alive in some secret magical garden. Mary found herself stuck, not knowing what to do. She tried to brush it away, carrying on as usual and acting as if nothing happened, yet every time the little red bird perched up in its tree within the garden, Mary longed to enter it, images of her mother flushing to mind. Would she hug her, would she be happy to see her, would she even know who she was?  

It may sound odd that a mother wouldn’t recognize her own child, but for Mary, it was a genuine fear. Maisha had told her that her mother was a busy woman, she had a whole world to conquer, travelling around from city to city, filming movie after movie. She had estates and empires to run, important things to attend to, yet wasn’t Mary important too? The world got her undivided attention, yet Mary could scarcely remember her mother’s eyes set upon her.  

The neglect tore at her, a memory of her birthday flashing in the dark night as her mother’s green eyes shined upon her, seemingly like a spotlight. This woke her up, rain pouring outside, blackness overcoming the Manor. Sleep was gone however, as Mary fled from her bed, searching for her birthday present from then. She then ran outside, sprinting in the rain as she made for the garden, lightning striking as the golden key glinted in its thunder. She stuck the key into the garden’s gate, turning, her hopes elating, her desperation begging for salvation, yet the key would not turn, the garden remaining impenetrable. 

Tears flowed like the rain, Mary breaking in sob as it all finally came out, the hurt of losing her mother, the hurt of never having had her, even when she was still alive. Ben Weatherstaff would hear her cries in the night and come to her aid, bringing her back into Maisha’s arms as she fell back into her bed, her eyes red in mourning. Maisha asked her what had happened, but her queries only seemed to further lower Mary’s spirits, so she ceased.  

Mary tried to move on, trying her best in accepting that the garden would never be opened, accepting that her mother would forever be a mystery to her. But her joy would never glimmer quite as bright anymore, and all of her friends noticed it, including the old fellow with whom she’d found kinship in gloom.  

Upon their encounters, Ben Weatherstaff then sat her down, and told her a tale about her mother, her father and the secret garden. 


Long long ago, Misselthwaite Manor was ruled by master Craven Sr., father to both Archibald and Craven Jr. Lennox. The family lived in immense wealth and splendor, Craven Sr. having inherited the Manor from his father who inherited it from his father, and so on and so on. The Lennox family were business tycoons in England, wealthy enough to build an estate with hundreds upon hundreds of rooms, and all their wealth came from a special place, a magical place, a secret garden. 

The secret garden held a gate within it, one that, if so entered, transported one into another world, a paradise, a heaven on earth filled with milk and honey and most importantly, magic. This was the kind of magic you read in fairy tales, the magic of fairies and nymphs, of dragons and their caves of gold. Craven Sr. inherited his father’s estates, including the secret garden, and within it, he inherited his father’s throne, the origin of all his wealth.  

The Lennox family had plundered the garden’s world, marching colonial armies into its magical fields, crushing its knights and swords with guns and soldiers of fortune, and fortune they reaped indeed. They killed the dragons, raiding their caves and marching their gold and treasures back to England, making themselves Kings of industry. They subjugated the fairies and nymphs, turning all the magical creatures into mere slaves and laborers of their greedy machine, exchanging the magic of the garden for gold as the secret garden’s skies ran grey with smoke, its green riches reaped from its very earth. 

Archibald and Craven Jr. where destined to inherit their father’s empire, the subjugation of the garden seemingly set in stone, until a young maiden from India entered the manor as a mere servant, lucky to find work. What Priya supposedly lacked in blood, she more than made up for in hard work. Yet what really shined was her kindness and charm. She would sing her melodies, beaming her smile even in the most grueling of duties, keeping her and her peers’ spirits high. Her hard work and charm quickly earned her enough trust that Craven Sr. had her working in the secret garden, the crown jewel of his empire. 

Priya remained ever cheery and charming, befriending the green as she embraced the magic of the garden. She labored alongside the fairies and nymphs, entertaining them and exploring their lands, overcome by wonder, and never-ceasing curiosity. She loved the garden and its folks, and it loved her. Yet she’d also ensnared the Lennox family in her charms, Craven Sr. impressed in her work and loyalty, while Craven Jr. was smitten by her beauty and Archibald was overwhelmed by her kindness and wit. They all loved her, and the two brothers fell for her, hard. 

As to who she loved, her heart fell for Archibald. In him she found a kindred spirit, one disgusted by the ugliness of Craven Sr.’s rule upon the secret garden and its folk. Magic existed and this was how it was wasted, reduced to nothing more than gold. This was not even speaking on the utterly inhuman and torturous treatment of the green and its folk, whose cruel treatment was justified because they were not seen as human, nor deserving of human respect and kindness, let alone rights. 

Craven Sr.’s reign of terror could not continue any longer, something had to be done, and so it was done in heaven as it had been on earth. Priya embraced revolution and alongside Archibald, she sought to earn the garden independence from Craven Sr.’s hold as the knights were reunited, this time with guns and magic! 


It was here, that Priya became the Queen of the Green, granted sovereignty over it as it bent to her will, believing in her cause. Craven Jr. joined their revolt, longing for Priya who seemingly remained open, yet her heart had already been stolen by Archibald. 

Archibald and Priya’s love had been a forbidden love. As were the times, the two were forbidden to be with one another, and they had to keep up appearances, lest his father know he was harboring his very own demise. They destroyed him from within, using his allies and tools against him, including Craven Jr. who had adored his father, desperate for his validation as he had been the last born. As the last born, he lived in the shadow of Archibald, knowing he would not inherit the empire as it was destined to his brother. If he knew that he had also lost the apple in his eye to Archibald as well, that would surely turn him against Archibald and Priya’s cause, so for these reasons, they loved in secret. 

They were going after the very source of all the Lennox family’s wealth; thus, they needed all the help they could get. All those hundreds upon hundreds of dwellers had every reason to stop them. Against all odds, they launched their revolt, and the Queen of the Green overthrew Craven Sr., seating upon his throne, while Archibald inherited his estates. 

Under Archibald, the Lennox family fortune would not be reaped from the secret garden as it was left squarely in the hands of the green and its folk, and they declared their liberator Queen! Priya would accept their praises, but she had to leave the throne, yet she swore to return as she was now part of the green, imbued with its magic. 

Thus, when she departed from our world, she would be returned to the world of the secret garden, as Queen of the Green. As she left the garden, she did not do so empty-handed. Granted magical sovereignty over the green, it would continue to yield to her even on the outside, and it is with this magical gift that she would enchant the world, building yet another legacy. 

Yet none of it meant anything without Archibald. The two had loved each other in secret long enough and wanted to be with one another, finally! They resided in the Manor as Master and Mistress, the world their oyster, readying to marry, away from the eyes of the law, and it would’ve all come to pass, if not for Craven Jr…. He would eventually realize that Priya’s heart was out of his reach and thus proclaimed that if he couldn’t have her, then no one could, including his very brother. 

He could still turn the entire family against Archibald, especially if they learnt both of his forbidden love affair, one that he was more than willing to partake in himself if it was added. And the fact that Archibald now controlled their wealth, ready to risk it all because of what, kindness? Archibald had people to please, and Craven Jr. threatened to use these against him, bending him to his will, his spite consuming him.  

The only condition for Archibald’s survival was letting go of Priya, if he couldn’t have her, no one could. Their love was everything, but they couldn’t risk returning the garden into yet another dark age like the one it had just escaped, so they submitted to Craven Jr.  

It is here that Priya left for India, heartbroken. Archibald would never be the same. The secret garden was then closed and locked away, both for its own safety, and as a desperate bid for Archibald to forget his Queen of the Green. Yet Priya would never be able to forget him, as her departure still carried Archibald’s memory within her, in the form of Mary. How could she ever forget him now….  


The truth that was meant to set Mary free, only seemed to dig yet another well of questions as dissatisfaction fell over her. Ben Weatherstaff had seen a lot in his day, an old fellow, a well of wisdom. Mary had no reason not to believe him, and he had no reason to deceive her. She then found herself in her bed, Maisha tucking her in and readying her for bed, her face stiff in thought. Maisha then asked her once again about what happened, begging that she not leave her in the dark. They had always told each other everything, always been there for one another, didn’t Mary trust her anymore? 

Mary didn’t want to hurt her by speaking about her mother, but Maisha wouldn’t let it go, desperate to help her, so she succumbed, and they ended up talking about her mother. Mary told Maisha everything she’d learnt, and like she’d foreseen, Maisha’s face fell, shrouded in sorrow. It wasn’t sorrow for Mary’s mother though, instead, being sorrowful for Mary herself. 

Mary believed she finally now understood why her mother had been so distant. Like Archibald running away from her and Misselthwaite Manor, despite endangering it and the secret garden within the hungry hands of Craven. Mary’s mother had likely refused to see her because she reminded her of what she would never have, of the man she was forbidden to love, yet would forever love.  

Mary and the secret garden were ghosts of a past life, one both her mother and her father couldn’t bear looking at, the memories and longings too painful to bear. So, her mother turned away from her, leaving her in the care of Maisha, and her father locked up the secret garden, hiding the key. Yet Mary had been granted the keys to both, by both her mother as a gift and her father through Ben Weatherstaff, who told her that Archibald had hidden the key in one of the hundreds upon hundreds of rooms within the manor. 

Somewhere within those rooms, her salvation lay, one key already in hand, all she had to do now was find the other. Mary wondered what that salvation looked like though; would things really be different this time? Would death truly change her mother’s heart toward her or would she once again remind her of the torments of her past life and what-not even magic could grant her? Mary didn’t know the answers, all she knew was that she had a key to find. 

She scoured the rooms, door by door, day by day, finding many things large and small, charming and boring, all seemingly empty and abandoned. There was one room that revealed a desk of ivory elephants, gleaming brightly. Then another room where she found a rat and her young, hidden within a cushion. Then there was, finally, the golden room, where she found the golden key! 

Maisha and Martha had departed the Manor, and while Mary searched for the key, they searched for Master Archibald at Mary’s request, hoping he’d make what seemed an impossible search easier. It had been like finding a needle in a haystack. Maisha owed it to Mary, for Mary’s conclusion had been true. Maisha had been one of the few friends Priya kept and in moments of tears under a dark sky, she would reveal her shame, how she couldn’t bear to see her daughter’s face, for it reminded her of him. She had the whole world in her palm, yet she’d give it all away for another second in his eyes, another kiss from his lips, another chance with his heart.  

Maisha and Martha now searched out that chance, Mary holding the key to unlocking it. 

It would not come without obstacle as Mary left the room, elated, key in hand as she prepared to meet with Dickon and make their way for the secret garden. Mrs. Medlock stood in her way however, seeing her exit the forbidden room, her face cross with disgust. Mary tried to hide the key in her pockets, hoping apologies would be enough as she exclaimed how she had been lost and was trying to find her way back to her room, but there were so many rooms.  

Mrs. Medlock was no fool however, knowing she was not lost at all. Mrs. Medlock then demanded Mary return her the key, for it did not belong to her and she was a little thief. Mary remained frozen, knowing if she handed her that key, she would never see it again. She was so close, inches away from closure. All she needed to do was unlock the garden and see for herself what was and what was not, she owed it to herself to try, owed it to herself to see it through, owed it to herself to refuse Mrs. Medlock.  

Mrs. Medlock was taken aback by Mary’s stubbornness, completely in disbelief. Mary was no longer just an annoyance but had now become an opponent that challenged her authority, challenged her power, her very being. Who did she think she was, this little brown girl refusing her, her!  Mrs. Medlock’s voice soured into venom, she hissed for Mary to give her that key, now! Mary shook her head, pacing back, her heart beating, mind in overdrive, wondering how deep a hole she’d dug herself into. It didn’t matter anymore, for she was at the point of no return.  

With her face red and hot with rage, her mouth roiling and frothing with barks and rebukes, Mrs. Medlock then pounced on Mary, attempting to trap her in her grasps. Mary jumped back, stumbling to the ground in fright, Mrs. Medlock scurrying toward her as she grabbed hold of the little girl’s leg, screaming that she was a little thief.  Mary scampered backwards, pulling away as Mrs. Medlock fell to the ground with her, Mary slipping to her feet and turning tail, running. 

She ran and ran, Mrs. Medlock right behind her, screaming like a siren as she ordered everyone to stop her, for she was a thief! Mary now found herself dodging both Mrs. Medlock and passing servants who tried their best to not be on the wrong side of the main steward of the house. The servants jumped and tumbled, desperate to clasp little Mary, but she slipped their grasps, swerving and ducking, sliding on her feet as she broke through the doors into the warm light of day.  

Mary ran on, running faster than she’d ever run in her entire life, the wind battering her face, her lungs digging deep filled with fresh air. Her dark hair sprang back in her flee, her heart pulsing with fright and elation, mouth creasing in relieved smile as she had them on her tail. Dickon then saw her in sprint, Ben Weatherstaff looking on in equal shock while a flushed Mrs. Medlock called to him, ordering him to stop her. 

Dickon simply joined her as the two kids ran together, and Ben Weatherstaff ended up falling into Mrs. Medlock and her sprinting servants’ way, babbling about how his eyesight was getting worse. He bought the pair enough time as Mary and Dickon reached the garden, the little red bird leading their sprint in flight. Mary dug the newly found key into the gate, turning to Dickon for reassurance, his warm eyes blinked back, and she twisted, the key clicking as the gate swung open.   

The pair finally entered the secret garden, overcome with awe. The joy and wonder they felt was indescribable, their eyes squinting at the shimmering beauty of the garden. Mrs. Medlock and her crew soon arrived, their shouts and protests dying as they too were overcome by the garden’s blooming beauty, it was heavenly. 

Dickon and Mary then approached a flowery gate at the center of the garden, seemingly glowing with ethereal green beauty. Mary pulled out her mother’s key, readying to stick it in, when Mrs. Medlock shouted in protest, demanding that she stop what she was doing at once. She told her that she was a thief and she needed to return those keys and exit the garden at once! Bubbling with all kinds of emotion, little Mary blew up in a haughty reply refusing Mrs. Medlock’s command, telling her that the key belonged to her mother and she was gifted it on her birthday back in India, this was her key! Mrs. Medlock reminded her that she owned nothing, however, everything was under the care of Master Craven, thus it was in fact, Master Craven’s key, and she was little more than a thief, she always was a thief and would always be a thief! 

Mary was overcome with emotion, her hot rage leaking into tears as Mrs. Medlock marched toward her, grabbing the key from her in swift strength. The key to Mary’s desperate mystery, desperate closure, was once again out of her hands. Ben Weatherstaff tried to protest, Dickon joining, but Mrs. Medlock would have none of it, silencing them both, lest they wish to be banished from the Manor, she was the head steward after all, and Master Craven was more than willing to oblige her requests. 

He wasn’t the only Master however, as Maisha and Martha finally entered the Garden, back from their search, having found what they were looking for. Master Archibald came in with them, ordering Mrs. Medlock to return the key to Mary. Mrs. Medlock’s face was hot with infernal rage, she refused to back down, calling on Craven’s authority, yet Craven owned nothing, reminded Master Archibald, he never had and he never would! 

If Mrs. Medlock wanted to remain employed within the Manor, she would do as she was told, or her insubordination would result in her immediate banishment, declared Master Archibald. Cornered, Mrs. Medlock surrendered, dropping the key to the ground as she stormed away, huffing and puffing. Mary bent to the ground, Dickon following her, as she grabbed the key, rising back up. 

It was finally happening, the key glimmering in her hand. Mary was once again overcome with emotion, Dickon offering his hand upon her shoulder while Archibald charged toward her, enclosing her in his arms, in his daughter’s arms. As she wailed, he wailed too, whispering apologies to her, apologies for never having been there, especially when she needed him the most. Martha came to Dickon, and Maisha comforted both Archibald and Mary, embraces galore. 

Archibald then promised Mary that no matter what lay behind that gate, he would never abandon her again, she would never be alone again. She would always have him, she would always have Maisha, Dickon, Martha and old Ben Weatherstaff who joined the circle. 

Tears were wiped away, and Mary was pulled together by her new-found family. As she stood with them, she then inserted the key, turning, the click clanging, and the gates to the secret garden unlocking. The little red bird flew into the new world, Mary and her family following in its flight.  

Blinding white light flushed over Mary’s eyes as she blinked in squint, yet as her vision cleared, she found herself enraptured in another’s eyes. The eyes gleamed green, her mother’s eyes, shining upon her like a spotlight, looking at her, seeing her and only her. 


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