Keep the Roses

She breathed deeply, taking in the essence of the flower in her hand. Pulled in the air, held it, feeling the particles trapped within. Swirling, as if panicked and seeking a way out, until finally being absorbed by her lungs. She wondered, as she often did, why it wasn’t enough. But she would buy them anyway. She looked at the price, then in her wallet to see if she had enough. Out of the corner of her eye she took in the woman standing near the door. That woman had fallen in love instantly, and was clutching a handful of fat yellow rose blooms. The wrinkles in her face crinkled as she took in the scent. The florist, sensing prey, quickly converged on the scene.

The verbal transaction was ignored. She imagined that woman going home with those flowers. She would take them, and add them to the flowers she’d bought the other day. Maybe she had a table just for the flowers she was collecting. They’d be for her, of course. Different flowers for different moods. Maybe different flowers just on a whim on different days. She’d touch the flowers. She could see the flowers looking at her, with their open keep sockets and wide grins. Then she would feel the flowers on herself. Felt their fingers slide across her skin. She licked her lips, breathed hard. Suddenly she remembered where she was, and her eyes flew open in a panic.

The florist and the woman were still talking. No one else was in the shop. No one seemed to have noticed.

She put down the flowers and hurried out of the store.

That was close.

She was being careless.

She needed to get home. She needed to get home now.
She needed… No, don’t think of that. Do not think of…

And then, she was home. She wasn’t alone. There was a man with her. Who was he? Yes… he had helped her. She was panting, in a panic, when she realized she’d set her wallet down with the flowers. But she had to get home. She licked her lips. He was handsome. She should get her wallet. She needed to get home. He paid her bus fair. He could tell she was in trouble, right? He was forward. He was trash. Why else would he get off the bus with her, a stranger, and lead her to the door? It was alright then, right? He was trash. She breathed him in. The particles floated there, confidently. They didn’t know they were trapped.

She invited him in. Drew him into the living room. The curtains were closed. They were always closed. He sat on the couch, relaxed. Maybe eager. She licked her lips. Was he eager? Maybe he was nervous. She sat next to him. They exchanged words. The words didn’t matter. They never did. They were reflex. Instinct.

She touched him. Caressed his arms, his face. He looked at her, and she could see a moment of fear. She inhaled his scent again. Kissed him. Felt him melt into her. Felt his skin ooze and drip. Felt faint wisps of vapor trickling into her lungs. Eagerly, she gripped his head and breathed in deeper and harder until she finally exhausted herself in a frenzy.

That evening, she spent some time in her study with a glass of wine sniffing the skulls strewn on every surface. She pushed a few aside on one table, and grabbed one off a bookshelf with a complimentary shape and scent and arranged it with the newest one. It was hard to feel regret when she was so relaxed.

Nightmare Fuel 2018, Day 1

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