Rosebed

Written by Miss Smiley

Beautiful scarlet roses for Mrs Hawthorne…

I only found the book this morning. Not much I can do about it now. It was weird – I found it in my roses, just outside my bedroom window. That should have triggered me off straight-up, but no. No, sensible Mrs Hawthorn Bridge doesn’t spot anything wrong with this.

Naturally, I opened it up. I’m the person who opens up other peoples’ medicine cabinets, after all. Like I wouldn’t open up a weird book outside my house, my room. Puh-lease.

That wasn’t even my first mistake.

It was all in a weird code. I couldn’t make head or tail of it at first. That was exciting. I love a good puzzle. But I was late for work and what was I going to do, leave it there, right outside my bedroom window? I think not.

So I took it to work with me. Thinking about it, it probably wasn’t my best move, but hey – can’t do anything about it now, can I?

I took another glance at the book at lunch time. I really wish I hadn’t. It wasn’t about the code – that was easy, once I’d started. Just a typical picture code – squiggle means A, small cat means C, that kind of thing. That really wasn’t the problem. The problem was the content.

Typical to my style, I worked out a page at a time. For me, that’s easier after all. But the uncoded ‘code’… was also in code. Still, never mind. I love a good puzzle, after all. The harder they are, the more satisfying they turn out to be. And this one came with an extra challenge – get it solved by tonight, so I could return it to the rose patch when I got home.

It all turned a bit sour when I discovered what the actual words were.

They were my daily routines, all copied down on paper – the time I’d cook dinner, the time my husband got home, what time I went for a jog, when I’d water the garden…

Ah. A stalker’s diary. That was… lovely. Just lovely.

That was nothing to the last 3 pages. It turned my blood to ice. It wasn’t even in code. Just…stark text.

I KNOW YOU’RE READING THIS, HAWTHORNE.
READ THE NEXT PAGE.

I did. I wish I hadn’t. I really wish I hadn’t. All these plans…

I’m sorry. It just really upsets me to talk about it. I don’t want to talk about what the plans said. Don’t make me, please.

The very last page just said:  SEE YOU TONIGHT.

I called my husband immediately. Not that it did any good. He had a late night at the office. He told me he’d get home ASAP and to just call the police or something. So I called my best friend. She had a late night,too – going on a date or something.

So I went home alone.

Dumb idea. Dumb idea! Well… nothing I can do about it now.

They were waiting for me when I got home.

And now, I’m under the roses. Best friends and husbands can’t be trusted apparently.

Miss Smiley has been shocking and surprising us with her beautifully crafted writing for nearly three years now, and the Inkwell is a brighter place for her presence. This is her second piece to be published on Inkblots: why not go read her first?

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3 Comments

  1. […] Miss Smiley’s song lyrics for ‘The Laurel’ were inspired on behalf of an older Half Hour Challenge. We thought it was such a gorgeous lyrical ensemble but we never found the right moment to use it in our themed content. However, it’s here now and it gives us goosebumps thinking about the bitter-sweet days of love and loss. Miss Smiley also recorded the song too, and you can listen to it at the link here. If you enjoyed Miss Smiley’s work, be sure to check out ‘Rosebed‘.  […]

    Reply

  2. […] Miss Smiley’s short story was submitted as part of a past HHC entry, with a Horror theme. It’s possibly more suited to October’s upcoming theme “fear”, but we liked it too much to consider leaving for too long. Besides the performance from the bells is particularly enthralling. If you liked Miss Smiley’s piece, and are utterly terrified of those bells, make sure you check out some of her other tales of sneaky horror, such as “Fetish” and “Rosebed“.  […]

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