She was famous for her roses.
In their season, great swathes of vibrant colour and suffocating perfume filled the rosebeds sweeping across the green lawns under the heavily leafed trees. And the blooms, enormous and bursting with colour, caught the envy of her neighbours. There was nothing anywhere else in the neighbourhood to compare with her roses.
They thought it might be something she put in the soil that made them grow so prolifically, but she wouldn’t ever say. They even tried to worm her secrets out of her numerous gardeners, but they never seemed to stay long enough to find out themselves.
The neighbours were convinced she replaced each gardener before he could learn her secret. Old men; young men – here today, gone tomorrow, and in between the neighbours watched them endlessly hoeing and raking and pruning without ever coming close to discovering what made her roses flourish.
The night of the Big Gale they found out. All her magnificent trees were toppled, tearing up the rose beds as they crashed to the ground. In the morning, the rose bushes lay with their roots in the air, festooned with a display of tangled, long white bones that had been ripped from under the soil, and all the gardeners’ skulls picked clean and grinning from amongst them.