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The Deadly Rose
The girl, Charlotte, stepped into the street, her rich ebony skin sparkling with sweat. A thick headband kept her dark hair out of her eyes as she jogged across, her feet splashing through the muddy puddles.
My heart thumped with rage. That was the girl that had told my ex-boyfriend that I had made out with some guy at Felicity's party. It was her that made him break up with me in front of everyone at lunch. And she wasn't going to get away with it, not while I was around.
Just then, a stroke of luck, Charlotte's tennis shoe got sucked into mud in the middle of the street. I revved the engine of my pink mustang, my foot inching the gas pedal to the floor'
I shoved through a group of freshmen crowding the school door. They were too immersed in their conversation to let me by, as they should have. Didn't anyone have respect for the higher-ups anymore?
'Did you hear about that girl?' One of them was whispering excitedly to her pimply friend.
'Charlotte Hopper? Yeah, they're still looking for her body!'
'I heard that they found animal prints around her house.'
'I heard that there was blood all over her dad!' I sighed in disgust. It would figure that Charlotte would be the subject of so much talk. Even if she was still a nobody.
'Hey Rose!' Felicity waved at me, holding my Monday morning latte.
'Hey.' I opened my locker. 'How was your weekend?' I took a brush and began working it through my brown hair. In my miniature mirror, I saw Felicity frown.
'I dunno. It got a lot scarier after that girl disappeared. I canceled the picnic with Jay because of it. Who knows what happened to her!' My locker slammed shut. I scowled inwardly, then started the walk to my physics class.
'Yeah. Who knows?'
Ugh. I really hate history. And I really, really hate that the teacher, Professor Scotts, is lecturing us not about the American Civil War, but about, yes, Charlotte Hopper.
'Take this tragic case as an example: you're never as safe as you think. Look back at all of history's serial killers. If Jack the Ripper's victims had had more protection, they might have lived through the experience to tell.' The bell rang, raking across my eardrums. On an impulse, I ducked into the library as I passed it, anxious to miss Calc.
A freshman class was sitting at the circular tables in the center of the room. I edged around, trying to keep in the shadows and be avoided from being seen. The teacher that was in there (Mrs. Swan or something) had me for English three years ago. She hated me almost as much as I hated her.
The aisle I ended up in smelled strongly of old book. Ew. New books were bad enough. My high heels clicked fairly loudly on the carpeted floor as I sauntered down the row. It was a lot longer than it looked; after a few minutes of walking, I still hadn't reached the end.
A thump came from behind me. I spun around, my heart racing underneath my pink cashmere sweater. For a second, I thought I saw Charlotte Hopper standing in the dimly lit aisle with me. The class seemed miles away, and, as I took one step farther, their noises disappeared completely.
"Rose, you're going crazy," I muttered to myself, taking a deep breath. I continued down, seeing the light at the end now. Every few seconds, a black shadow would flick across my vision, scaring me halfway to death. Almost there...just a few more steps...my breathing slowed with releif.
The thud made me scream. I clutched my neck, trying to stop the erratic pattern my pulse had taken.
"It's just a book." I laughed nervously, walking back to the 'scary' book that had frightened me so. I picked it up sheepishly, ashamed that a book had scared me worse than any horror flick I had ever seen.
The cover was once blue, but now it was molted brown with only faint strips of the original color left. Little spots of mildew were sprinkled across the cover, which was, oddly, void of words. No title. No author. My curiosity got the best of me. As I opened the book, the sickly smell of mold rushed into my nose. I gagged, coughing away the dust clinging to the yellow pages.
An uneasy feeling befell me. I shook it off, not wanting to humiliate myself more than I had. The first page was empty, as was the second, third, tenth, thirtieth. I ripped through the pages, searching for something, anything. The absolute emptiness was killing me. Finally, on the last page, there were words.
"Thank you God," I muttered, running my long nails across the handwriting-like print.
Once upon a time, there was a beautiful princess with a heart darker than licorice. She grew jealous of a gorgeous serving wench, who was doted upon by even her father, the king. A boy from the stables would bring her a blue rose to wear in her dark hair every morning, another in the eve, and that simple flower increased her beauty more than the princess could stand to look at. Even the princess's suitors fell in love with the servant as soon as they saw her glowing radiance, forgetting about the princess at once. Every day she watched in green envy as the girl was showered by attention and gifts.
One night, the servant girl was alone in the kitchens, washing the dinner dishes. She sang a gentle tune, her clear voice ringing around the room. The princess snuck up behind her, cradling a bread knife.
"Oh, milady," the girl said when she noticed the princess. The princess scowled in response, stepping closer, the knife held tightly behind her back.
"Er, may I help you, princess?" The girl took a step back, her eyes widening at the maniacal air emitting from the princess.
"Yes you may, wench."
"Anything, miss." The princess smiled darkly, taking the knife out from around her nightdress.
"You can leave." The servant girl watched as the princess came closer, the knife held ominously in her fist. She didn't know that the princess only wanted to scare her a little, display the dominance. The knife was to the girl's neck.
"Please, princess. Don't," the girl said pleadingly, a tear slipping down her face. The rose in her hair fell. It fluttered gently to the princess's dainty feet.
"How pretty will you be without a head?" The princess pondered. She felt fullfilled at the look of sheer terror on the servant's face. Her job was done. The princess slowly took the knife away from the girls neck, loving the way her dark eyes watched the entire thing.
"You better stay out of my sight." The servant girl nodded. As the princess turned to leave, her foot slipped on the blue rose. Her misstep threw her into the servant, the knife going deeply into her throat. The serving girl screamed. Blood-
"NO!" I screeched, slamming the book shut. I threw it on the ground, running from it. I burst into the fluorescent light, right into the middle of the freshman class.
"Ms. Evans, may I help you?" Mrs. Swan asked sharply.
"IT WASN'T MY FAULT!" I screamed at her, running out of the library to the chorus of snickers.
"Dude, are you okay?" Felicity asked over the web cam. She was chewing on her red hair, an annoying habit she had picked up during the summer at Choir camp.
"I'm fine. Why?" I capped my green nail polish, blowing on my nails.
"You disappeared after History. I thought something happened to you..." I laughed. Over the last few hours, I had convinced myself that the whole library incident had been a exhaustion-driven hallucination. I was under so much stress.
"Hey, I gotta go. Trig homework. See you tomorrow?" Absolute worry resided on her (too-sharp) features.
"Yeah. Tomorrow." I turned off the computer, collapsing on my four-poster bed. As soon as I closed my eyes, visions of liquid rubies rained down on me, screams echoing in my ears. I automatically sat up, shying away from the fear. It's not like I did it on purpose. And really, who was she to be all...Ugh, never mind.
"MA, CAN I GO TO THE MOVIES?" I yelled down the stairs to my mother. A distraction is all I really needed.
"IS YOUR HOMEWORK DONE?" I groaned. Of course it wasn't. I reached into my designer book bag, pulling out the book we were supposed to read for English. The Blue Note...er the Scarlet Letter. Whatever it was was boring me to death. I must have dozed, for when I woke up, the clock said 9:57. Of course Mom wouldn't wake me up for dinner. She already thought I was fat enough.
The book fell off of my lap onto the shag carpeting. I sighed, reaching down for it. When I straightened up, I choked down a scream. In the mirror, staring back at me, wasn't my own green eyes, but the dark brown eyes of Charlotte Hopper. I blinked a few times and the smiling face disappeared. Hunger hallucinations. That was it.
I slid the book back into my bag, but it met an obstacle half-way through. Sure that there shouldn't be anything in there, I reached in, half expecting some prank from my little brother, Dylan.
What I wasn't expecting was to extract the book from the library.
My first reaction was to drop it. And stomp on it. And burn it. Unfortunately, I didn't have a lighter or matches in my room, so I had to settle with stomping and tearing the living hell out of it.
I threw the decrepit book in my waste bin, then crawled under my comforter, clapping for the lights to turn off. Even though it was hot, I was too afraid to get out from under the blankets, as childlike as it was. The dark slid around me, making harmless shapes seem menacing.
A few terrifying hours later I fell asleep, or at least lost consciousness. When I woke up, I tried to remember why. I knew I had heard a noise, a startling noise that had ripped me from blissful unaware to achingly alert. Then it came again. Laughing. Not nice laughing, like one might hear when someone laughed politely at a joke, but full on, evil villain guffawing. I pulled the blanket over my chin, only my eyes and forehead peeking out from under it.
The lights snapped on, then burst out-all but one. In the faint light, I could make out a square shape on my chest. As my eyes adjusted to the light, I saw that it was the book I had just ruined before. I was too scared to scream, kind of like in a dream, where you just can't get it out.
My French doors that led to my balcony burst open, freezing wind ripping through my room, knocking glasses and books down. It was a wonder my parents didn't hear. A figure appeared in the doorway, the light from the moon framing the distinctly feminine shape. The last light blinked off, throwing me in semi-darkness.
My heart beat quicker, shivers twisting down my body. The book flew open to a page, then floated into the air, coming at me horizontally. The page was giving off a faint glow, and I was able to see the rapidly changing picture.
Charlotte Hopper in the street.
Charlotte Hopper looking into the headlights like a deer.
Charlotte Hopper dead, in a puddle of blood.
Me, pulling her into a lake.
The tears started falling, splashing like rain onto the book's pages. The figure flickered closer, and I could see her face. It didn't surprise me, really, that it was Charlotte, but more that she was bloodied from the head wound, that her arms and legs were broken in crooked angles, and the way she walked, as if she were frozen. Her skin had even gained a faint blue hue. It wasn't right.
The book, now on my stomach, glowed brightly now. I could see into Charlotte's face, her tortured eyes, her matted hair.
"You did this to me." She murmured, her cold hand reaching to caress my cheek.
"No!" I cried, flinching away.
"YOU DID THIS TO ME!" She screamed, and out of the book sprang vines. The vines twisted around my body, constricting me. Charlotte leaned closer, wet dripping onto me. I was too scared to know if it was blood or water.
"Wake up, wake up!" I chanted, biting into my lip.
"There's no waking up now," Charlotte whispered. The vines were wrapped tightly around me, tightening with each second. Charlotte touched the vines, and brilliant cerulean roses jumped from the vines.
"What pretty roses...Just like you, Rose." I struggled against my bonds, finally being able to scream- just when a rose covered my mouth. Only a second slipped around the flower before it unfolded in my mouth, suffocating me. Charlotte touched the vines again. Sharp pricks bit at the exposed parts of my body. My scream was muffled when I saw what they were.
Thorns, everywhere, sinking into my skin.
"Yes, poisonous thorns for the deadly Rose." Charlotte giggled, watching me struggle. Her eyes flashed red. "It is your fault." And then I felt a sharp prick on my neck. My attempts at escape slowed, my heart beat sluggishly. Complete black ringed my vision, and I felt it. The end.
"Sleep, my deadly Rose..."