I looked down and to my right as I took my first steps back into the garden, and, happily, the founder of the sacred garden (and all of Interrestria, may it be known), Edwin the Bee was there upon his lotus flower. He stood and adjusted his glasses while squinting a bit, "Well, look who decided to grace us with his presence!"
I scanned many angles of the garden and responded, "I love you too, Edwin." Thinking it better to not get wrapped up in a nostalgic discussion with Edwin and Raven (for I feared all the garden's inhabitants were now long gone), I pressed forward and into the dark and thick overgrowth. I turned back for just a second and shouted, "Lovely gatekeeper, no guests in the garden until further notice, please...this place is a disaster! I'll catch up with you guys later today!"
Continuing further into the darkness of the overgrowth, my suspicions were confirmed: there was no one to be seen, heard, or felt. My precious Butterfly and Weasel, brilliant Magpie and ever productive Mongoose--and his eternal shovel...gone. Leo, the canine star-mapper, Casey the Cardinal, and beautiful Oread (the mountain lion for whom we broke our no-cats-in-the-garden rule)...gone. And the ancient river wolf, Styvendrake--and his glorious wife Duchess--nowhere to be found. Freddie the Frog's pond of fanciness had sadly been left unattended for quite some time, and the pond now appeared to be much more scum than pond--the lily pads couldn't be seen through the muck.
And of course, I knew the precious Princess Mydnite wouldn't be found here...for she had long since returned to her people on her home planet of Gliridesceta. I hope she can save them from destruction. It occurred to me just then that Styvendrake and Duchess may well be with her, as Gliridesceta is also their home planet. That brought me a bit of comfort, for the powerful and immortal river wolves are sure to keep her safe.
I worked my way through more of the dark overgrowth to the north, toward the mountains, and was happy to see the Persian rug was still there...though disgusting with moss, mold, and who knows what. It was probably the most special place in the sacred garden way back when. I remembered all the special times we all shared there...not just Andrew and I (Andrew also was not there, I noted), but all the critters at some point or another. For those unfamiliar, the Persian rug is a VERY large Persian rug. It is the size of a cottage--except flat of course--since it's a rug. I know it is this size, for in that very place in the sacred garden was previously a cottage, one we tore down and replaced with the Persian rug during a dark time when an evil woman had infiltrated our sacred garden. You will gather by now, I presume, that there are many stories to be told. And I will do my best to do so. But we will have to make new ones...for it's a brand new day.
Thank you, O loveliest of lovely gatekeepers for giving me courage, and for reminding me that the sacred garden is still mine. Greatest Raven there ever was! We will find a way. We will make it beautiful and majestic once again, as it deserves to be...however long it may take.