THE ROSE

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Written by Ashly Damon

Edited by Bradley Bell

It was the peak of midday, and the spring air was sweet. There were sweeter places however.

Atop a hill that few ever bothered to climb was a small flat plain, with one tree and a ringed bed of roses, here it was especially sweet, as the roses covered all foul smells.

For one woman in particular, it was of the most absolute importance to be by this haven each day. It was a place she loved dearly. Her love awaited her atop that hill each day, silently yearning for her touch and gaze.

The path of the lovers always crossed at this point, by the same ring of roses, at the same time, and always did she hold with the same enduring love.

She would sit by his side and hold his hand, feeling breathless and calmed by his presence. She always savoured his well-kept words. “Oh my darling boy, why won’t you eat? You’ve hardly touched your apple, go on take a bite.”

Silence.

“Have I done something wrong? Say something, make it a whisper and I’ll hold it close.” As per usual he would not make an utterance; perhaps such a thing would taint their love she liked to think.

“Oh, love…” The wind fluttered the sweet rosy scent up all around her. “What a vexing thing.” She sighed. She left her love and promised to meet him the same time tomorrow.

She returned the next day with more apples and berries in her picnic basket, looking forward to her day with him. Only this time, as the woman sat in front of the man she adored, she wept, for she knew he could not reply, it was not a thing a dead man could do.

“I still love you, you know that yes?” Silence. “I’m not a woman to simply fling away a sentiment this heavy.” She clutched his bony, withered hand. “To the end of time and beyond, I will clutch at your finger for dear life.”

Silence.

“It matters not if you heed a reply. It matters not if you were to leave me for another woman. You are here with me, to stay here forever, to smell good and be precious with the flowers. You are mine, my love.” Her grip tightened. The thorny rose in both their hands pricked her.

“I’m terribly sorry, my grip was too tight.” She stared into the empty sockets of his dirty skull, and slowly she began to realise the frailty of her situation.

“You killed me.” He said to her without moving a joint.

His potent whispers swirled around her head. She felt herself begin to shake.

“I…no you were going to leave me. I had to I…I…”

The roses surrounding her began to grow, and twist as they did so. Their thorns jutted out like daggers, surrounding her in a dome of thorns and petals.

Her face became stricken with terror. She squeezed her eyes shut and held on to her love’s hand hoping that the sight before her would cease to be.

“I’m sorry. I’m here to repent. Repent I tell you!” She cried aloud.

And then it was over.

She kissed his skull over and over again.

“Nobody else can ever have you, my love, nobody but me.” She rose and wiped away the earth off her skirt. “Now, I will be back tomorrow, hopefully you will be a tad more talkative.” A little manic laugh escaped her. “I will see you tomorrow and forever after until I am reunited with you.”

That evening as she slept in the home they once shared, she suffered terrible night terrors. The entire night she tossed and turned, flashes of her last moments with him coming back to the young woman.

“You dare touch another? You…bastard!” Blinded by her rage, she stabbed him in the circle of roses.

“I…W-what have I done? Oh you foolish girl. Oh.” She whimpered to herself as he lay there cold, his blood tainting the flowers around him.

The woman lit a candle and found her way to her attic. Amongst the litter a glass jar lay frosted with dust.

She prepped it into her picnic basket and went back to sleep.

Once more she made the arduous hour walk up the hill, somewhat delighted by the smells of spring yet still drained by the exercise.

She sat by her love’s side, and took his hand in her own.

“I realise why you have been so stiff with me, it is unfair what has transpired, to be parted with the thing you gave your life.”

She placed the dusty glass jar in front of him.

“You gave me this thing,” the dust wiped off revealing a blood stained rose, “You told me it was the idol of our love, and you kissed every petal before giving it to me. And then you told me of the others, and how you wanted such a lovely rose to be shared. And that could never happen, and that is how, my love, this flower became tainted.”

She remembered his eyes when they were alive, with passion and adoration. Oh how she loved those eyes.

“To be done away with, just another rose. No, it is I whom returns to you every day faithfully. Always for you.”

She planted the rose between his teeth.

“This will make you happy.” She chirped. “I do hope you’ll say something tomorrow.”

And off she went, content with her day, and her happy husband, surely to see him again tomorrow.

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