The Garden of Ending

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“I prefer to call the place ‘The Garden of The-Ladder-to-What-Lies-Beyond.’ It is accurate, if not poetic. But, gargoyles aren’t given to poetry.”

The Garden of Ending By K.J. Kabza is a sad little tale about how Everyone is locked into societal roles. Everyone yearns to break free and see past their confinement, despite the extreme lengths society goes to to prevent it. When Everone escapes their confinement, oh but how society shudders.

The story moves prosaically and inevitably to a conclusion not foreseen by the reader till the last. The world building is compact and concise– there isn’t much Everyone knows of the world beyond their enclosure– which is the point. The language is eloquent and courtly, setting the tone of sorrowful purposefulness, rigorous enforcement of societal roles, and the inner yearning to be free. It is a tale told not by an idiot but by the gargoyle/gardener, a sensitive, highly skilled artisan who cannot conceive of any other life. Or perhaps he can, which explains his bitterness. Though Everyone makes her escape through the gargoyle’s assistance, he remains confined within the gardens and the role set upon him by society.

The story reminds me of “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, a story I’ve not thought of in thirty years. The same soul-crushing sense of entrapment is indolent in both endings.