The Rose

There was a rose in the front hall; and a window. The rose was still fresh, as red and deceptively beautiful as the day it had been plucked from the vine. The thorns that studded the long, thick stem flashed their wicked points through the old glass vase. Looking in from the rotting porch through the window, the rose seemed as unreal as a picture in a frame-and all those who saw it were mysteriously drawn to it.

One particular evening in early autumn, a young girl came speeding down the overgrown driveway on her bicycle. The girl threw out her kickstand and hopped off the leather seat. She ran her fingers through her tousled auburn hair and dusted her jeans with the sleeve of her blue windbreaker. Anyone observing the scene would have wondered what she was doing there, so young. The place was not at all inviting, though its overgrown gardens and creeping ivy told faintly of a beautiful past. But those days were long over, and all that was left of the place was dead. Everything except the rose. The rose in the front hall.

As the sky darkened, the girl walked toward the whitewashed porch. Just as she reached the bottom stair, she stopped, but only for a moment; then girl continued up the staircase.

Reaching the top of the stairs, she saw it. Through the window- a beacon of light in the dark house-it shone. The girl placed her hand against the window and stared, entranced by its unearthly glow. She could not peel her eyes away from that rose, but something pulled her towards the door of the abandoned building. Her hand touched the rusted knob, and slowly, she turned it. The girl stepped into the front hall. The rose sat in its vase on an oak table. The girl looked from left to right. Darkness. Her heart pounded as she took another step toward the rose. Her eyes were drawn to a leather bound book, lying open next to the rose. She walked closer to see, and the light from the rose was just enough for the girl to read three names written in red ink:
Rosalind Mason-1857
Rosalind Fredericks-1907
Rosalind Richardson-1957

The girl touched the open book. As soon as she did, a new name appeared on the page in wet, black ink.
Rosalind O’Connor-2007

The girl gasped. How had the book known her name? Rosalind backed away from the book and ran. She tried the door, only to find it locked. Rosalind banged and screamed, but to no avail. Suddenly, icy fingers pulled her by the shoulder from behind. Rosalind spun around. Nothing was there. Nothing but the rose. Once again, the rose bewitched her. Rosalind was so enchanted that she did not notice the book of names slam shut, sealing her fate. The silence was suddenly broken. In the wind, Rosalind heard it. “Touch the rose,” it beckoned her. The voice was not in the wind, but of the wind. “Touch the rose. Touch the rose.” Rosalind stepped closer to the rose. The rose was now pulsing, thumping with every beat of Rosalind’s heart. The wind whistled. “Now. Touch the rose now.”

In the front hall, there is a rose. A rose with one new petal. A rose flowing with the blood of all its victims--growing redder and redder, and brighter and brighter. A rose that will never die; drinking its life from the blood of those who know it. In the front hall there is a rose-so devilishly beautiful- and all who see it are mysteriously drawn to it.





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