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Four Vases

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There were four vases on the table. He had put them there. The glass one with the lovely, yet oddly confusing, etchings was in the center of the table. Framing it in a triangle were the funky plastic vase with the different colored spots, the metal vase so sleek and cold, and the soft wooden vase with the butterfly designs. In each vase He had placed four white roses and the effect was really quite stunning. As He admired his fine collection a ray of sunlight fell through the window and landed upon the arrangement, making it glow that much brighter and lifting His spirits so that he felt determined to complete the day’s tasks. Turning to leave, He did not notice a shadow that fell over the center vase in such a way that it was surrounded by a dreary darkness while the others continued shining brightly.

As the day wore on, the sun continued to light up the three outer vases while the mysterious shadow completely clouded the glass vase in the middle of the table. But the strangest thing was that every time He looked at the table the shadow would disappear, once again completely bathing the entire table in sunlight. The sixth time He looked at the table, around noon or so, He noticed that the roses in the glass vase were drooping a bit. He proceeded to inspect the other flowers for signs of weakness, but they seemed fine, so He decided to take the glass vase into the kitchen to give it some fresh water for the flowers.

While He was gone with the glass vase the shadow did not return, instead the three remaining vases inched slowly, slowly together with a whispering of water and flowers that seemed to hold some sort of sinister secret.

Then He returned with the vase and replaced it on the table. He looked at the arrangement for a few more minutes. The wilting flowers had perked up a bit after the fresh water, but He noticed that the vases seemed a bit crowded, and He entertained a perplexing thought for one moment that might have had something to do with the single vase of wilted flowers, but that was , of course, ridiculous. He dismissed the absurd fantasy before simply adjusting the vases to allow for a bit of space. As He left to return to his chores, the dark shadow returned, carefully placed over just the glass vase. And just as before, when He returned to admire his artwork the shadow disappeared so that He never once saw even a glimpse of it.
He never bothered to change the water in the vases again. It was only the middle vase that was wilting anyhow. He would buy more flowers in the morning, for soon the sun began to set, and though He never noticed, it took the shadow with it leaving all four vases equally unlit, and the house became dark and quiet, his snores the only audible sound.
Late in the night, the outside vases began whispering once again, and the center vase shivered. Lightning flashed, and then thunder clapped, and a thunderstorm began. The roses continued whispering, and the wood and plastic vases moved in a most treacherous fashion to the corner where the metal vase was calling to them, leaving the glass vase trembling in the center. With another flash of lightning and clap of thunder the group of three advanced upon the one so very, very slowly until it was shaking violently upon the edge of the table, its roses pleading pathetically to simply be left alone. The other flowers glared at it with hatred and contempt until another thunderclap sent it tumbling toward the tiled floor. The four dying roses flew in every direction, the dirty water spilled on every available space, and the fragile glass vase crashed into hundreds of pieces, the pounding rain drowning out the sound.
The three vases began to retreat to the center of the table as the thunderstorm became a rain shower, and they cuddled closer as the sun began to rise over the treetops, bringing with it no sign of yesterday’s ghastly shadow.
He had sixteen fresh white roses gathered in his hands to replace those that had by now surely wilted. He came to the table thinking of how beautiful the arrangement had been and was eager to repair its beauty when He promptly dropped the new flowers in astonishment. The remains of last night’s treachery lay before him. Three glowing vases, each with three bright white roses, were clustered in the center of the table. One rose from each vase had fallen, beheaded, onto the table, and on the floor lay the broken glass, the dirty, drying water, and four blackened roses.





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