The Garden of Impossible Flowers by Ashton Noone
2019 CBC Short Story Prize longlist
Ashton Noone has made the 2019 CBC Short Story Prize longlist for The Garden of Impossible Flowers.
Ashton Noone's short fiction has been a finalist in the In Places Between: The Robyn Herrington Memorial Short Story Contest and has been published in Across the Margin, Bosie Magazine and Poydras Review. She lives in Calgary, Alta., and is currently working on her first novel and a collection of short stories.
Entry in five-ish words
A girl struggles with demons.
The story's source of inspiration
"I found myself thinking about the language that we use to describe the things we fear, the things that hurt us and the things that haunt us. The phrase 'battling inner demons' is often used to describe these personal struggles. I started to wonder what would happen if a traumatic event manifested physically as a demonic possession and decided to try to tell that story."
From the story
Her name is Azalea, like the flower that only blooms for a few brief weeks during the spring. As beautiful as it is lethal, she sometimes wonders what premonition inspired her mother to name her after something so toxic. At least the name fits her now — people see her strange eyes and avoid her like poison.
In the summer, she grows a garden on the balcony of her apartment. Oleander and nightshade, hyacinth and henbane. She waters the flowers every night before she sleeps and that is how she discovers that the man who lives next door is a demon, too. Every evening, he screams wordless through the thin walls of the building.
About the 2019 CBC Short Story Prize
The winner of the 2019 CBC Short Story Prize will receive $6,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts, have their work published on CBC Books and attend a two-week writing residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. Four finalists will each receive $1,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts and have their work published on CBC Books.