Here's the more completed version of the second-last Chapter of The New Girl which replaces the slightly inadequate one I posted in a rush last night. Do re-read it if neccessary, under all esteemed recommendations. And just like the Chapter before this, I ended up writing something different for the last paragraph than what I had in mind during the first. Strange, that keeps happening lately...spontaneity at play?
Have fun while it lasts, you don't get second-last Chapters around here everyday.
May had seen enough madness here to last her a lifetime. It was no longer a matter of who was behind what or whether Jean or Saras was wrong. The most apparent thing now was that the garden was no longer the safe haven that Jean had had her believe. It was a devil's playground masquerading as an angelic paradise which had ruined both their lives in different ways.
"Jean," she cried in desperation. "What have you done? When does this all end?"
"I-I don't know," she seemed dazed as well.
Saras' limp body, sprawled on the grass, cast a long shadow over the two girls. May didn't even realise that the sun was already setting. It wasn't the first time she had witnessed a sunset in the secret garden, but this one was somewhat different - darker, more sinister, as if bringing closure to the final chapter of her life.
"Is she dead?"
"There's no way we can leave now," Jean's bloodshot eyes reflected in May's. "We'll just get thrown in jail and executed. Let's just stay here forever."
"HELLO, THAT'S NOT GOING TO SOLVE ANYTHING! Let's leave this place already! I can't afford to get any older!"
"Oh, please don't say that May. Please don't leave me now...it's all become such a big mess. This garden is all I have left now. I'll talk to the fairies and see what they can do about the age thing. Just don't go. I'm begging you."
"Maybe I am," she wept. "But all I ever wanted to become was a normal girl like you and Misha. I try really so hard that it makes me tired, and still people are so cruel. Life itself is so cruel to me. I-is it really that wrong to want to be happy?"
An uncontrollable pity for the desperate girl pleading before her squeezed tears out of May's eyes. "No, Jean. It's not wrong."
"We all have things we don't like about our lives, and it's how we go about them that make some people happier than others. You've been trying to hide, trying to run away all your life. There's a real world out there and you need to face it."
Her head hung low.
"It's the only way, girl. Forget this garden. It's only temporary."
Bit by bit the leaves in the trees detached themselves and fell to the ground. The grass morphed into a muddy brown till it became a part of the soil. The wind, the birds, the streams - everything disappeared before May's eyes. She couldn't describe how or why, but it just did.
"There. It's over."
Jean was now an unconsolable sob. "No...no...why..."
Often words were the last thing you needed for times like this. May put her arms around her and hugged her for all she was worth.