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This short piece of fiction was created for a Flash Fiction Challenge: The Plot Thickens set up by author Dan Alatorre. You can follow the link to see the interesting way that this particular plot was chosen (I got number 7 of 13).
The Deadly Rose
Karl opened the garden gate, passed inside, and closed it again without a sound. How he could be so stealthy in this state he didn’t know. His insides were boiling like a witch’s brew, cooking him from the inside out. His hands were shaking with anger and frustration, almost dropping the deadly bucket.
Liselle must be asleep inside. The house seemed dark and brooding in the pale glow of the half moon rising in the east, her bedroom window overlooking this elegant rose garden, her pride and her joy. Now it would be her downfall.
Karl set down the bucket and pulled out his mini-flashlight. Cupping one had over the light head, he snapped it on, knowing it could not be seen from the window above. He must locate the perfect bloom, with soft and delicate petals like the cheeks of his former lover.
“Ah,” he sighed softly, as he caressed the outermost lavender and white petals with his bare fingers. “This is the one.”
Looking up to her window, his face transformed from a gentle lover into a skeletal mask, skin pulled tightly over his cheeks and forehead. Now she would pay.
Drawing the rubber gloves from the bucket over his trembling fingers and hands, he made ready his act of jealousy and rage. Karl pulled the rose forward, exposing the small thorns on its stalk. Squeezing the clear liquid paste from the tube onto the brush, he gently painted a fine coat of contact poison over the entire stem. It would dry in minutes and be completely undetectable.
Now he must set the trap, for Liselle must notice this particular bloom and clip it off to be discarded on the compost heap in the back woods. With a small, battery operated hair dryer, Karl turned up the heat on the petals of this deadly rose. He watched carefully as some of the petals curled under the heat. In several areas, subtle brown spots appeared as if by magic. Perfection was now perfectly marred. It would draw Liselle’s attention like a hummingbird to a feeder.
Karl gently place everything back in the bucket, then peeled off the gloves so that the deadly poisoned outsides disappeared from view, with the glove’s inner linings now exposed to plain view. Slipping back out the gate was easy. The deed was done. Now he had to wait.
Sunlight fluttered through the curtains and danced on Liselle’s eyelids.
“I’m up. It’s time to play” they said as Liselle stirred, trying to recall the last vestiges of the dream disappearing like morning mist before the bright sun. Remembering last night, she reached over and softly caressed the strong back of Jackson, her latest lover. Her needs had been completely satisfied last night, so perhaps this one would last more than a few weeks. Only time would tell.
Slipping quietly out of the bed, Liselle tiptoed over to the east window to let the beautiful sunny morning warm her lithe and naked figure. A glance down at her rose garden brought a smile to her lips. So many blooms were on display this season. The riotous colors just begged for a visit.
“Come back to bed, my gorgeous Liselle. I want to feel those soft curves once more.”
“Patience, Jackson. I’m just going down to the garden for a minute. I’ll bring back a spray of beautiful roses to place on the stand by the bed. Every sense must be stimulated to the fullest: roses for their beauty and perfume, fresh squeezed orange juice for the taste, the sounds of the birds and the whisper of the breezes coming through the curtains, and best of all, the touch of your hands and the caress of your lips on my skin. I will have slow, sensual overload this morning after our torrid affair of last night.”
“Don’t be long, my love!” said Jackson as he stood and held her robe.
She slipped her arms into the sleeves, and without closing the front, turned and raised her lips for a brief but sensual kiss. “Of course I won’t be long,” she said as she turned again and headed out the door and down the stairs. “I’ll be back in no time.”
Karl heard the door opening from his place of hiding behind the gardening shed. There she was, in all of her goddess like beauty, coming down the porch steps wearing the gossamer robe he had given her only two weeks before. His heart ached for her as she slipped into the garden and picked up the clippers in the pouch by the gate. He knew the routine very well. He had observed it many times from her bedroom window as he awaited her return.
Now came the critical moment as she perused her glorious roses, looking for the best of the best. He heard her in-drawn breathe as she discovered the wilted bloom. She was hooked like a fish on the lure. Nothing could stop her from ridding her garden of that almost dead bloom in the middle of such splendor.
But she hesitated, stepping back a pace, her hand to her mouth.”What could be wrong?” Karl silently asked himself. “Why wasn’t she clipping the damaged rose?”
Suddenly, Liselle dropped the clippers and ran from the garden and back into the house, her gown flowing like the wings of an angel behind her. The door slammed behind her as the house swallowed his prize.
Quickly and quietly, Karl came out of hiding, jumped the fence to the garden and stood before the deadly rose. Then he knew. The rose had warned her not to touch. The rose petals had curled into a death mask with a sinister grin. The meaning was quite clear.
“Touch me at your own peril”.
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