My Love Is Like...
by Mari Mitchell
Lost in beauty, Thomas wandered off the path. The scent of the flowers was almost overwhelming as he took a rest on a stone bench in the cool shade under an old oak. To the side were copious amounts of creamy roses. Only the tips of the petals had a blush of color.
Thomas looked around the wild overgrown forest. “I’ve no idea where I am. At least it’s a lovely spot to have lost one’s way.”
A soft breeze brought the words, “Thank you,” as a woman stepped from behind the goliath tree. Her long white dress flowed in the wind, red hair aglow in the sunlight.
He straightened from a slouch, and sucked in his tummy at the presence of an attractive young woman. His words fell together. “Is this your garden? Can you tell me where I am? I’m so lost.”
She smiled like a cat, her brown eyes deep. “I think of it as mine.”
“Then you know where I am.” He laughed a little, trying to sound confident and masculine. “I mean, where we are.” Too casually he straightened his shirt and tried to slick back his sandy hair.
“Yes, I do. You are in a lovely garden with me.”
Thomas thought, Wow, she’s into me.
“Do you mind if I sit with you?” she asked.
He shook his head no, dusted the bench and gazed into those eyes. “What’s your name?”
“Lauren. What’s yours?”
“Thomas, Thomas Hunter. Do you live nearby? I drove up from Boston College for a break from studying. I pulled over and there was this sign, and a path, and I started hiking...”
Lauren smiled at him as he rambled on, both listening and not. She broke in, “And you found my special place. Would you like something to drink? I’m sure you could use some refreshment.”
“That would be nice.” He rose and dusted off his khakis. “Which way?”
“Right here.” She handed him a glass. “It’s tea. My own blend.”
A little taken aback, he took the glass from her hand. Lauren stroked his fingers in a gentle, inviting manner. He thought, She is really into me. And why not? He wasn’t bad looking, he was smart and usually well groomed. She knew he was attending Boston College.
Stranger things happened. How many times had he heard stories of women sharing drinks and then sharing more? It was his turn to sow some wild oats and wasn’t this a lovely spot. Even if she was only flirting with no intentions of anything physical, what a story it would be.
“Thanks.” He drank the tea, which was as cool as river water. “What kind is it?”
“Red rose tea. I use the petals.”
He shook his head as he sipped more of the tea. Thomas sat back down, this time with less control. His body heavy.
Lauren ascended. The sun behind made her appear to be like an angel. “Tell me Thomas, did you study history at Boston College?” She mocked his Kennedy-Boston accent.
“Yes. History is my minor. I am majoring in...”
Thomas stopped in mid-sentence. His eyes shut.
“It is time for you to listen. Somewhere in the pages of your textbooks there must have been a mention of local history? After all, Massachusetts is full of history. History full of blood and tears.” Her voice echoed and changed in tone, no longer soft and sexy but full of contempt.
He thought he shook his head but could not be sure.
“It was here, in the year 1692, when William Hunter, your ancestor, came to me and spoke words of love. When I paid his sweet words heed, and gave in to the wants of flesh, I found myself with child.”
In his mind the story unfolded as she spoke, the surroundings morphed into the past.
“Nay, it did not please Master Hunter to hear thy words, for he had promised to marry Sarah Putnam. I shall make haste and speak to the Reverend Parris, and he will see thy sins. Thy good name will be muddied by thy lies and ill deeds.”
“Nay, it was thou who cast a spell. It was thy sins. I did confess my earthly sins and was forgiven.”
“I am no witch. I cast no spell on thee. If thou wert forgiven, it was by a greedy, lustful man. Surely not by God.”
Lauren, laden with child, tried to leave her small cottage but William would not let her. Two massive hands that once stroked her red hair held it tight and dragged her outside. Hands that once caressed her alabaster skin now tore at it like a wild beast.
Thomas felt what Lauren had endured, every strike was his to share, every pain his.
William grabbed her broken body and threw it upon the roses she loved so much. Roses her mother had brought over, a connection to her family roots. Roses that she tended so lovingly.
Lauren lay on her bed of roses, weeping bitter bloody tears. Sharp thorns impaled her soft skin, entangled her red hair, embraced her pain.
“I call upon Lucifer, Lord of Darkness, to hear my prayer. Grant me revenge and thee I will serve forever.”
The woods surrounding her garden lit with fire, as a dark man appeared before Lauren. “Rise and forever remain and claim your revenge.”
* * *
Thomas’s eyes opened. The world was dark but Lauren was ablaze. Her body no longer desirable but broken, and bloodied.
“To each generation, one of William’s descendants, the one holding the most promise finds his way here and to my roses,” she said as she stroked a blossom. “Love is like roses. Sweet and lovely, but only for a short time, though its thorns are always sharp.”
With that the roses took off like vampire bats into the night sky, filling the air with their heavy sweet scent. One creamy white blossom dove at him and struck him on the cheek, drawing blood. The petals tipped with blood, Thomas’s blood.
“Thy children are thirsty. ’Tis twenty long years since last they drank.”
“Please, I did nothing.”
Like madding snow, a flurry of white blooms whirled above Thomas, descending, biting with thorns, petals partaking of blood.
She smiled her cat-smile. “Thy blood carries sin and my children must have nourishment.” Her deep brown eyes glinted with an inner fire.
The last of the thirsty roses struck, taking Thomas’s blood and life.
Lauren lay herself down in the cool dark earth under her roses, waiting for the next generation to arrive. The roses’ roots lovingly embraced her, as a forest of strong stems stood — an edifice of secrets, sharp thorns guarding, green leaves flirting with the breeze, as creamy white roses sang lullabies of love...
Copyright © 2007 by Mari Mitchell