Black Roses by Riya Chawla

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18:43, February 6th

His left arm rose to touch her cheek. She saw something, and stopped him to ask, “Hey, is that a tattoo? A permanent one?”

His cheeks flushed as he said, “Um… Yes…”

“What is it? Show me,” she said, her eyes sparkling with excitement. He slid back his sleeve and she examined with awe.

“Oh my god! Is that a rose?” she said. Her eyes widened and mouth opened as she noticed and asked, “Why is it that only this rose is black, but the stem green and thorns brown?”

He smirked wryly at her attention to detail and sliding his sleeve back to his forearm, he said, “Not all beautiful things are good, that’s why, the black rose.”

She frowned at the thought and noticing yet eluding her confusion, he said, “Someday, I will get you black roses and then you’ll see how beautiful they are.”

“Aw, really? I have always been fascinated by the black ones! But they are rare, right? I mean red ones are so common, and white and blue and yellow and all the others are okay, but they aren’t as attractive as the black one no! Are you really going to get them? I can’t wait already!”

 

12:39, 9th February

 

“Perhaps it’s too early to say this, but I will always be there for you, till your last breath.” He said.

“Aw! That’s so sweet of you to say that! I am always here for you too. But we don’t even know if we’ll ever stay together for so long…” she said, looking at her fingers.

“Do you trust me?” he asked. When she didn’t say anything, he said, “Answer me. Look into my eyes.”

She hesitated and subconsciously played with her fingers. He reached out to her chin and gently urged her face up so she could look at him.

“I promise to be with you through thick and thin.” He said looking into her eyes. “And I know it’s difficult for you, as many must have promised you pretty lies, but I am here to keep my promises.” he smirked wryly.

Looking at him, she smiled. He was one of the most beautiful things happened to her after a long time.

 

08:32, February 14th

 

It was Valentine’s Day. He had set a date with her in the late evening. The thought of it made her cheeks red and she began her day with a tinge of excitement stirring within her chest. As she drank her morning ginger tea skimming through the newspaper, she found the paper to be filled with hearts and flowers: shades of red and pink colored it with many articles and pictures on love. She read, sipping her steaming tea and smiled while the articles reminded her of him. As she turned the page, she came across nothing interesting on page three except gossips about trending couples, then there was the boring sports section, then in the crime section she came across an article that made her pause. She read the headline again, “Psychopath Kills Lovers on Valentine’s Day.” Her eyes widened and her mouth opened and she began laughing hard. What is this? She thought. Media these days publishes nonsense for publicity. “You won’t get real readers if you make up false stories! Hahahhaha” she laughed aloud. That’s when her phone rang and she rested her teacup on the newspaper to answer.

After minutes, she stood up in a frenzy when she saw the time. She was getting late for work! She cleaned, bathed, and left.

Excitement lurked at the back of her stomach throughout the day as she ran her chores and errands. The anticipation made it difficult for her to get through the day without looking at her watch. She took off early from work and on the way back home, she went shopping for him. She got him cute little bow ties, heart shaped chocolates and a Valentine’s Day card. She knew it hadn’t been long since they began dating, but she had developed a strange fondness towards him which she didn’t want to suppress. He was different from other guys, she thought, and he was a good kind of different. He said all the right things to her which she had always longed to hear. These thoughts kept her busy until the clock stuck 19:00, and she remembered she had to rush and get ready.

 

20:13, 14th February

She was putting on her mascara when the doorbell rang. She smoothened her black dress that she wore and her heart raced as she opened the door. Their eyes met and she stood still, awestruck. There was something so unfathomably flawless about him that she could not resist her feelings. She let him inside and as she excused herself to her bedroom, he reached out to her to stop her, and in a fleeting moment he spun her around and held her in his arms. She looked at him breathless and startled. He slid a bunch of black roses from his back to her.

While she smiled and smelled the roses, he said, “Black suits you,” then kissing her he added, “Happy Valentine’s.”

Her cheeks flushed and she said, “Happy Valentine’s,”

As he held her in an embrace, he said, “I promised you roses, didn’t I?”

“Oh, hahahaha, yes! You remem…”

He pushed her back and startled, she stopped mid-sentence. He smirked his wry smile as he removed something shiny from the back pocket of his pants.

“But you forgot, they come with thorns,” he said and vigorously shoved the knife through her back.

“Noooooooo……” she cried and whimpered. Her legs shivered, her hands moved about, trying to escape the pain. Her legs pushed the table, it quivered and the lamp fell and broke, her hands slid on the table and the papers fell on the floor. She struggled to balance up straight. She fell and he let her fall. Her hands and legs shuddered violently for moments, until her mouth widened into a slow sound of silence, until her hands, legs and fingers stopped still, and until red, thick blood reddened the white marble floor – slowly spreading out, as if pouring out the tears she could no more cry.

“I said I would stay until your last breath. See how I kept my promises.”

 

A few inches away from where she lay, the newspaper rested upside down. The tea stain from the bottom of the cup circled an article with a headline that said, “Psychopath Murders Lovers on Valentine’s Day”, and within the circle it said, “A psychopath with a tattooed black rose on his left arm goes on murdering his own lovers on Valentine’s Day. There have been 5 victims in the past 5 years and sources say that he won’t stop until he murders 14 women in all…”

 

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