A Roses Dream
I woke up a day later. The smell of blood was still drenching my senses. He’d been a quiet man, sweet and gentle. To others. To me, he demanded his coffee and cake regularly at 3 every afternoon. He waited for his breakfast at 9 in the morning, sharp, not a minute later. He put on his jacket and left for Lord knows where at 5 in the afternoon, then came home to prepare for his daily evening routine. It involved a baseball bat and several of my body parts, he was always very careful not to get any of my own blood on his clothes. I had no escape, he was the law in our town, and nobody would believe my words. Bruises were always left invisible, it was some sort of a craft for him. I knew, the second I hid that knife under my pillow, that my life would be over. But so would his.
I’m looking around to the small shack I found fleeing from home. What had been once my friends home, it was now abandoned for years. The only shelter I could remember, from those good days. I managed to bring with me a bottle of wine, some books, a vial of hemlock and a couple of candles, a pack I’d made before he came home. It felt rather reassuring to have that vial with me, a sweet swift escape should the hounds track me down. My mind had suffered a rather peculiar disease. I couldn’t see colors anymore, not after leaving my Blaine in that pool of blood on the bed. I could only see the dark red on my hands. The rest was grey. A numbing grey.
Hello? Is anybody there?
I hid immediately. Someone had approached the shack, probably a homeless man looking for a place to live. Gripping onto the hemlock, I refrained from breathing, for something that seemed like hours. But the process did slow down my heart beats and calmed me for what was yet to come.
He soon went on his way, probably startled by the feeble light coming from my candles. He wouldn’t be the only one to come here, not after they discover that there’s no one to open the gates of the police headquarters. They’d go to my home, my prison, and discover his body there, on pristine white sheets he demanded to be washed daily. No impurity in his home, just in his heart.
It grew darker outside, so I stepped out. It was the first time in years when I felt the cool air of the evening on my skin. A bird’s cry, some distinct howling in the distance told me they’d discovered my crime. My instinct told me to run. I was barefoot, in my night gown, as there wasn’t enough time to dress before fleeing. The sharp cuts my hands and feet experienced while running through the waste dump were nothing compared to the interior injuries I had sustained.
I soon stumbled upon the old train tracks. My father had helped build them, I remember playing around him as he hammered giant nails into the ground, to keep the tracks steady. The first train to come through our town was greeted with a crowd, balloons and sparkling spirits. What a joy that was, for a second you’d feel there’s nowhere you could’t travel, no place you couldn’t see. Ten years later, they re-routed the tracks through a larger town, maybe they didn’t like the scenery as much. My father had already passed by then, the drink he had at my wedding ended his life. I never knew why that was, he liked a drink here and there, and was fine, before that day.
I ran past the tunnels, to the old cemetery. They haven’t been using this spot in years and years, far before I can remember. They built a new cemetery, high on the hill, and abandoned their dead down here. A stray candle’s still burning. Weird old Annie Starr still lights her mother’s candle. Perhaps a quiet place to sleep? No, I cannot afford to, no sleep for those damned.
Once, I used to love being inside the run down church, next to the cemetery. It brought me a sense of peace, I was a silly little girl at the time though. It was where I wanted to marry, but Blaine said I should leave my childish emotions aside, we’re to be married in his father’s ways, on the hilltop looking down to the water. I wish he would have just pushed me to the side, before my vows were completed. A more humane few minutes, than the hell he’s had me so many years.
“I love you, sweetheart, don’t you forget it” he said, as he struck another blow.
Hounds were closing in, I could tell as the wind was carrying their howls. Tales of werewolves, my father’s voice, so soft and peaceful in my ears, were, for a swift moment, my sweet escape. But no, my father was six feet under and his voice would be heard no more. I ran faster. The docks!
They wouldn’t find me here, and if they did, I’d jump in the black waters. I knew just what path to take to reach there sooner. Time was of the essence as I’d already caught a glimpse of a man carrying a torch. How did they know where to look? I looked down at my feet, they were bleeding. No doubt the hounds had caught the smell of my wounds. Faster, Rose, faster, I told myself. The waters were already shining in the moonlight. Faster!
Oh the escape was there. My escape from the pain, from the sure death they’d have for me. A chair, a switch and it was all over. Faster, Rose! Oh Lord, there’s a man on the dock. NO! Please, let me plunge. No..
They caught me. I struggled to be let loose in the waters, but the tight grip reminded me so much of Blaine’s. I surrendered, I had no strength in me as the torture of the years was catching up. They’d removed the vial of hemlock I was forgetfully gripping, and tossed it in the waters. They had me now in their powers and for a few moments I blacked out. All I could remember from the journey back to the chair was men laughing and shouting at me. Calling me all names they could think, I’d murdered their friend and protector. Weird old Annie Starr was crying as I passed her house. She sensed I was a victim, not a killer. But the others, oh how they shouted.
The judge was called from his sleep. Verdict? Swift. “Take her to the chair”. Judgment was fast to come, and the outcome was evident. I was to take the chair that very night. In a glass cage, so the world could see my death. People had gathered, they were angry and throwing rocks at me. “Whore, murderer, you destroyed our town”, they shouted. And if I did, I would do it all over again. The protection from the town I sought had never come, they’d betrayed me, leaving me to my torture. And now their betrayal had come.
I couldn’t hear anything as I was placed in the cage. No blindfold for me, they said the town must see my death up close, they must see me fry. They wrapped leather straps on my arms and legs, tied me so I couldn’t escape. Like there was any escape for me. My executioner grinned at me. “Dear Rose, your time has come, you will feel pain, the likes of which you’ve never felt before”. “I did, Mr. Smitherson. I did. He beat me every night, every night my wounds were open”. He knelt down next to me and whispered: “I know”. And shut the glass door behind him.
Sounds were gone. I could tell people were shouting outside. But their shouts were muffled by the solid glass. Oh Lord! No! NO!
There he was, Blaine. In the far distance! A large wrap around his neck, he was alive! My hands must have been shaking when I slashed his throat, no! The demon that had tortured me was breathing, he’d inflict that pain on another poor soul, and be left unharmed. He laughed, I could see his white teeth in the deep darkness. Lord no!
That was the last thing I remember saying. Sharp current started flowing through my veins. I felt my skin shaking and peeling off of my body, and my heart was racing. My body twitching. And then I woke up.
It was a clear morning, roses in my room were filling the air with their scent. I gazed through the room, it reminded me so much of my youth. White sheets, with a soft pink pattern, so comfortable and smelling of clean air. I rose swiftly. My hands and feet weren’t bleeding, my body was untouched. Was it all a dream?
Come, dear, wake from your slumber!
My father! My dear sweet father! Oh Lord, could it be real? His voice so soft and comforting, he was alive and calling me!
I ran downstairs and hugged him. He laughed and lifted me up, like he used to do when I was a child. Kissed my cheek and called my mother there too. She laughed as she saw the scene and beckoned me to breakfast. Everything was alright again, Blaine must have been a nightmare. I’m safe and home, and breakfast is waiting for my father, my mother and me.
I stacked four pancakes on my plate and smothered them in maple syrup. Reached for the apple juice and laughed as it spilled a little. Then glimpsed at the family room. There, a pure white gown was waiting. Elegant lace and shiny beads, and my mother’s white shoes. A blue silk band and a pair of earrings I’d borrowed from my cousin. Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. It was my wedding day, and Blaine would be at the altar, waiting.
And my nightmare was beginning.