Coming up Roses

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
Death can be closer than you think

Submitted: August 18, 2009

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Submitted: August 18, 2009

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Coming Up Roses
Demi had been spring cleaning. She now sat on her back steps sipping tea and admiring her garden. A breeze blew over her face, carrying with it the sweet smell of pollen. A knock at the door caught the attention of Demi, who had quietly been anticipating the arrival.
Cory had kind eyes, and good taste in wine and no baggage. She placed her empty cup on the bench and glided over polished floorboards, down the hall to the front door. She quickly fixed her hair, straightened her hair and opened the door.
‘Hi’, smiled Cory.
‘Hello’.
‘Hope I haven’t kept you waiting?’
‘Not at all. I thought we’d have a salad, so we can eat anytime. Come in’.
‘I bought some wine’.
This was Cory’s first visit to Demi’s house. The two had met the previous week at a mutual friend’s birthday party. Some people just hit it off and this was the case here. The hallway led into an expansive open plan living area. Cory found it impossible to resist looking at an impressive collection of art which decorated the walls.
‘There’s already a bottle open’, said Demi. ‘My father was an antique dealer, I inherited most of them from him’.
‘Is he dead?’
‘Yes. Both my parents died when I was young. My aunt raised me and all this stuff was kept in trust till I was old enough’.
‘What can I say?’ said Cory.
‘Exactly’. Said Demi.
A brief silence ensued.
‘Well, a glass of wine?’
‘Love one’, said Cory.
Demi moved to the kitchen and got another wine glass from a cupboard. An open bottle of wine was sitting on the bench and she poured a glass for her guest. Cory, who had been looking at the books on an elaborate iron bookshelf, received the glass when it was offered to him.
‘You having one?’
‘I started one earlier. It’s in the fridge’.
That said, she retrieved her drink and walked to a set of French doors, which led to the backyard.
‘It’s a beautiful day’, she said, ‘let’s sit outside’.
The two moved through the doors into a spacious green yard. The main feature that immediately took Cory’s eye was a beautiful rose garden. It sat in the centre of the garden, was circular in shape and made up of 50 or 60 bushes. A small slate path led to a clearing in the centre of the roses.
‘Have a seat’, Demi said.
‘The roses are beautiful,’ said Cory.
‘They’re my pride and joy’, added Demi.
The scent was unmistakable. It seemed to surround them as they sat. Cory observed that the bushes were meticulously pruned and the majority were at a uniform height.
‘Any particular reason all those bushes are white? asked Cory.
‘I don’t know. There’s something about a pure white rose and the rich green of the leaves. I can’t explain it’.
There was another quiet moment as both people enjoyed the warmth of the sun and the sweet smell in the air. Cory sensed an appropriate moment and offered a toast.
‘To new friends’.
‘To new friends’.
After raising their glasses both sipped their drinks and looked into each other’s eyes.
‘Mmm, it’s sweet,’ Cory said.
‘I hope you like it. So, tell me about yourself. You’ve just recently moved to town?’
Cory took another drink from his wine and nodded. ‘Yes. A promotion came up at work, which also meant the transfer here. And, I have no family, so it wasn’t much for me to pack up and shift’.
‘It’s nice here’, added Demi.
As she spoke, Cory’s eyes began to blur and his head began to throb. He felt as if he were atop a tall building looking down at the street. His head began to swim. Fearing he would drop his glass, he tried to place it on the ground, but it fell from his hand.
He looked to Demi and she seemed to be saying something to him, but there was now a sharp ringing in his ears, obstructing her words.
‘You ok?’ Demi asked. She looked over at Cory, who was now slumped in his chair, clutching his stomach. She stood up and walked over to Cory, placing a hand on his forehead.
‘Relax’, she said, ‘the sickness will pass’. Cory tried to reply but his mouth was numb and drawing breath was becoming more difficult. Demi withdrew to her kitchen and returned to the garden with a dagger in her hands. The blade shone in the sunlight and she tightly gripped the brass and ivory handle.
Demi grabbed the collar of Cory’s shirt and pulled him from his chair. He knelt on the grass, his head lolled back and exposed his neck to the afternoon sun. Demi whispered a silent prayer and with slick efficiency slit the man’s throat from ear to ear.
Blood burst from the incision and his muscles began to spasm. Demi released her grip on his hair and he fell to the ground and he bled into the earth. She returned to the chair, sipped on her wine, waited and watched.
The body became still and the sun moved across the sky.
Slowly, ever so slowly, as the shadows began to creep, the white petals of the roses transformed to emanate a colour of rich, deep, red.


© Copyright 2020 Paul J Burns. All rights reserved.

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