Kyra dreams nightly of grappling with a mystical wrestler. The wrestler has snakes for arms, and pins Kyra before leading her through tangled vines to a shiny white light.

Fern appears in front of Kyra’s house in a black sedan, bounding out of the car in her wrestling uniform, quickly moving into the house, though Kyra has never met her. "You’ve been waiting for me, haven’t you Kyra?" says Fern. Kyra feels smothered by Fern and has no response. Within hours, the domineering Fern takes over the household.

    The next day, Fern goes off to wrestling practice and Kyra waters fern plants that sit in pots on woven mats. She feels relieved to be free of Fern’s presence. Suddenly, the ferns on the mats grow rapidly, blocking out the sunlight, strangling Kyra with their vines. Waking up in the hospital, when asked what she remembers, Kyra says, "I went down to the mat, and there was Fern, in her wrestling uniform, grinning fiendishly, gripping me in a half nelson."

    Having been released from the hospital, Kyra walks through a corridor in her house, unsure of which door to choose. Choosing the third door on the left, she enters a garden populated with crawling vines and coffee tables. Fern is there, and she immediately puts Kyra into a headlock. On the 9th coffee table is an ashtray filled with snakes. Somehow, Kyra believes that an angelic presence is going to rescue her, but instead the snakes in the ashtray wrap tightly, pulling her back into Fern’s grasping headlock.

    Looking at the 19th coffee table in the garden, Kyra sees a chess board. Fern has released her from the headlock and is now sitting at the other side of the chess board in her wrestling uniform, impatiently waiting for Kyra to move a piece. Kyra sits down and moves a rook to queen’s bishop 4. As a response, Fern moves a pawn that grows twisting vines, subduing plastic knights and bishops, covering the chess board in a tangle of weeds.

    Kyra approaches a park ranger at the corner of the garden, who kindly lets her use his binoculars. She looks through the lenses and sees plastic mannequins dancing in the skulls of mysterious operatives, who pound sledgehammers through an intricate, dainty, glass windowpane. Behind the shattered window is Fern, knitting knives and practicing full nelsons as myopic tea-stained visionaries dance. Kyra puts down the binoculars and looks at the park ranger, whose khaki shirtsleeves are dripping venom. He advises that leaves are growing obscenely in the sunlight, anxious to find their place in the world’s metaphysical plant box.

    Back across the garden, Fern pulls off a rubber mask, which is oddly identical to her real face. She approaches Kyra, wielding the knitted knives, as the park ranger wrestles with his demons. Fern pulls off another rubber mask, revealing a face identical to Kyra’s. "I’ve been waiting for you all my life," says Kyra.

    Fern moves forward to a tangle of vines and starts cutting them with the knitted knives. Kyra goes to the fern plants and pulls them out of the dirt, as the park ranger stands by, a manic grin plastered on his face. 9 minutes later, Fern stomps through the door of the garden, back into the corridor.

    Kyra tentatively returns to the corridor, finding it empty. She looks out a window, seeing Fern and the park ranger get into the black sedan and disappear down the street. Looking down the corridor, Kyra decides to go back to the garden and grapple with the snakes.


Eric Suhem
Eric Suhem lives in the orange hallway (orangehallway.com).