Obsession? I am not sure what I then had for the strange roses could be called an obsession. I mean sure, I thought about them every single minute of the day, I skipped work for a number of days because I was rummaging the woods for that garden of roses, I hardly slept but when I did every dream I had was about those sparkling roses, I spent countless hours on the internet searching for the red stemmed and black petal roses, I consulted a lot of botanists and florists who could have any information about the foul smelling roses, I joined a library to read as much literature as possible regarding roses and flowers in general and I created a web on my bedroom wall filled with pictures and all the facts I had collected about all kinds of roses. But you can’t call that an obsession… well now that I write it all down it does seem like an obsession.
Okay fine, I was obsessed with the roses. They were all I could think about. I remember I skipped meals and forgot to bath as I read countless books on flowers or was on my computer scouring even the deep web for any information I could get on the roses. I even gave the black slime which was on my bible to a scientist so he can tell me exactly what it was. I called him every hour of the day for weeks to ask if he has any answers for me. He didn’t. He had no clue what the slime was. He eventually blocked my number because I didn’t stop pestering him. Yeah, that was definitely an obsession.
That was why I started writing this blog. I was hoping someone out there could help me identify the roses that pricked me and almost claimed my life. I have now decided to write more on my blog because there is a more to tell, not only about those weird roses which pricked me but about how crazy my life got after that incident.
My boss passed on the big commercial to someone else because I never came up with anything good, in fact I never came up with any other idea at all. I was so busy researching those roses I often neglected my work. And as I said, I skipped work a lot so I guess he was justified for his action. However, I was given several other projects to work on but I never bothered myself with them. Good Lord, I was obsessed with those roses.
My right hand still hurt so it continuously reminded me of the roses. I went to see a doctor and I even took my detached fingernails with me thinking they would just glue them back on me. The doctor laughed at my initiative.
“New fingernails will grow back eventually,” he said.
When I asked him how long it will take for that to happen, his reply shocked me. “Anytime between three to six months,” he said with a shrug. He prescribed me pills to mitigate the pain. He also applied neomycin ointment and dressed my fingertips with bandages. He encouraged me to change the bandages often. He also told me my right hand surprisingly had no internal damage which was odd for it still felt weak and I could have sworn those black veiny lines damaged some tissue or muscles within me.
I also took the time to ask the doctor about the mark that had formed on my index finger. On the exact spot I was pricked, a strange symbol had appeared. I noticed it the day I woke up from that horror night after I was pricked. The mark was small, light green in color and it glowed like a beacon. With the naked eye, it was very difficult to make out but with a magnifying glass I was able to tell it was a square with sharp pointy edges. Inside the square was a circle which had a vertical line within it.
This mark was also something else I was obsessed with. I read up various ancient texts that have anything to do with religion and symbolism and I found nothing about it. The doctor was as dumbfounded as I was. What was stranger, was the fact that the mark glowed enough to be noticed even under the bandages the doctor applied on my fingertips.
I was concerned it was an infection of some sort, but the doctor did several tests and told me I probably have nothing to worry about. He took a picture of the symbol and said he will do more research on it. He then told me he will call me if he found something helpful.
The best I could do was hope and pray that it was nothing bad. Yes, that’s right I said pray. I turned a new leaf after my close brush with death. It was obvious that the Bible saved me from the grip of the grim reaper the other night, so I figured I should start going to church, praying and all that jazz. I joined a Catholic Church located right in the city center. It was led by father Hernandez, a short and stout man with a thick moustache, black crew cut hair and serious looking dark brown eyes.
His sermons were very uplifting. He spoke about the word of God with passion and vigor. The congregation itself was welcoming. They didn’t laugh at me when I stammered like Moses during my introduction on my first day. If I was in kindergarten, middle or high school the other children would have had a field day with me for that. The congregation was truly nice to me, especially Rebecca.
I had noticed her the second I walked into the church. She was seated in the front row of the choir which sits behind the podium the pastor preaches from. She had long curly black hair which reached her shoulders, chestnut brown eyes, a petite body with wide hips, colossal bosoms and flawless smooth skin. I soon learnt she is the daughter of father Hernandez. Her voice was angelic. She led all the songs during the service and did it to perfection.
After my first day of service, she came up to me. She spoke to me for some minutes but I never heard what she said after, “Welcome to our church, we look forward to…”
I was so compelled with her Hispanic beauty I began imagining proposing to her, our marriage, our honeymoon, our children, our lives when we get older and our tombstones lying side by side signifying our blissfulness in the afterlife. The entire montage in my head had One Republic’s ‘future looks good’ song playing in the background. When I snapped out of my thoughts she was smiling at me and saying, “…God bless you brother,” and then she walked away. She probably thought I was ‘special’ because of my no response and the wide grin I had on my face during the whole time she was talking to me. It’s only when she walked away, I then realized the mother of all erections I had and even my zipper had become undone. Lucky enough, no one else was paying attention to me. I had to punch it down and walk out of the church in a crouched stance lying to everyone I met that I was not feeling well.
I called my parents and told them about the news. I told them the news of my renewed faith in God of course not about the b***r incident. My mother was over the moon about this.
“Thank the heavens!” she screamed through the phone. “Now I hope the Lord will finally deliver you a wife. Say you receive, Stanford!”
“I receive, mum,” I replied lethargically.
I even spoke with my dad who scolded me for not calling more often. “Your mother worries about you, boy.” I am sure he was also worried about me but never wanted to admit it. “Anyway I am glad you are now going to church, we were getting concerned you would end up… like your brother.”
The mention of my brother hit me like a bus. I am not prepared to talk about my brother for now, but soon I may tell you more about him. I didn’t tell my parents about the roses. I couldn’t find anything about the roses anywhere else so I figured they wouldn’t know much either. My father would have blamed my loneliness for my obsession with the roses. I bet he would have offered to give me another tutorial on ‘courting girls’ as he calls it and believe me those are not helpful or… appropriate.
Anyway, besides the Rebecca incident, my awkwardness with women was ameliorating. This was because I eventually befriended Candice after I ran into her a couple of times in our apartment building. I will admit the first time I met her after the incident in the woods, was weird. I complimented her perfume and then her flush skin. I then told her I wish I could keep her in a cage and lick her skin like ice-cream for the whole day. I don’t know why I thought that was romantic or appropriate to say but I swear that was the last time I acted weird with her. When I met her next, I was wearing my ‘supernatural’ T-shirt and we bonded better on our mutual love for the TV series. The more I talked with her, the more I was comfortable with her and the more I began to forget about those damn roses until one night.
I had come back home from the grocery store where I had witnessed something odd to say the least. A fat Chinese man who was the size of a fully grown panda bear came running into the store. He was b**t naked and his skin was oily. He had a bald head with a white headband scribbled something in Chinese and wearing headphones that were blaring PSY’s song ‘Gangnam Style’. A liquid was sprinkling out from nearly every part of his body. I wasn’t sure if it was sweat or water but it was gross. I did well not to get any of it on me. For someone his size, the Chinese man was fit. He ran up and down each of the stores’ aisles screaming like a pig getting a bath. He either ignored or couldn’t hear the store clerk’s repeated curses and threats. Eventually the obese naked man ran up to the exit door and began break dancing in a paddle of the colorless liquid which continuously sparge from his body.
The store clerk, an old skinny man with thick glasses and patchy white hair brought out a shotgun from behind the counter. The gun was clearly too heavy for him because he struggled to aim at the naked Chinese man. He fired several bullets which all landed on the ceiling. I had to hide because I was afraid one of the man’s stray shots will hit me. The corpulent Chinese man continued dancing completely oblivious to the gunshots. When the music coming from his headphones finally stopped, he then ran out of the store.
So when I got back home that night, I was still amused and a little bothered by that incident. I opened my fridge to offload my beer and milk in there, when I got the shock of my life. Lying horizontally on the top tray of my fridge, were three roses. The same red stemmed and black petal roses which pricked me in the woods. The putrid smell you can expect from the burp of someone who just ate a rotten rat was still distilling from them. As a shiver ran down my spine, I dropped my milk and beer and they both crashed to the floor probably creating some novel kind of cocktail.
I was further startled by a loud banging on my walls.
I knew it was Miss Brown, my neighbor. She was an old woman who was always giving me stick for making noise, even when I sneezed! The woman was such a hypocrite because she always played loud hip-hop music in the middle of the night which was strange for a number of reasons. I knew it was her because she lived alone and had no children or grandchildren. Judging by her snow white hair, raisin wrinkled skin and hedgehog like hunchback, you wouldn’t expect her to be playing such loud music but she did. I know it was her. You also wouldn’t expect her to be as promiscuous as a high school cheerleader, but every morning I met different men in the hallway sneaking out of her apartment. The old hag was also very fond of profanity so please excuse the harsh language.
“Shut the f**k up!” I will call the f*****g cops on you, a*****e,” she yelled.
I was about to apologize to her when I realized the roses were moving. Their stems began extending. I tried to shut the fridge door but one of the roses’ petals collided with the door forcing it to swing back open. I was flummoxed. With a quivering heart and trembling legs, I waddled back slowly as the roses slithered out of the fridge. The glittering black petals of each of the three roses belligerently swayed from side to side like the head of a snake.
I dashed to one of my kitchen drawers to search for a weapon I can use against the roses. I hastily pulled out the first object I touched and was immediately disappointed with it. I had taken out a very small knife. The blade was the size of my thumb and I had never used the knife before because it was blunt as hell and couldn’t even cut through a boiled potato.
But I had no time to look for another knife because the roses were almost upon me, so I swung the pathetic knife frantically in front of me using my left hand. The roses seemed unfazed because they kept advancing towards me. Two of the roses were jabbing forward in an attempt to strike me with their petals. I nimbly dodged the attacks because I was very aware of what will happen if the petals made contact with my skin. The third rose surged upright like a cobra until its petals reached the ceiling. It was clearly preparing for a massive strike. I sprinted out of the kitchen before it could clobber down me (remember when I told you, I only run if I am being chased? Well there you go.)
I ran to my bedroom, slammed the door shut and took my Bible which I now kept on the side of my bed. To my horror, my bedroom door was instantly smashed down and the roses snaked their way in. Their ever extending stems engendered thinner stalk which spiraled all over my bedroom walls and roof. They even destroyed my web of research I had on one of the walls. I held the Bible in front of me and the roses stopped their advancement. I then had a stupid idea of throwing the Bible at the roses, which I did using my left hand. The Bible hit the petals of one of the roses and it instantly ignited into flames. A loud screeching noise emanated from the rose before it expeditiously turned to black slime. My joy was short lived as I then realized my mistake. The other two roses began gliding towards me and I had no effective weapon to fend them off.
I vehemently swung my blunt mini knife at the two roses with my weak right hand and could only scratch their stems which had formed a semi-circle around me. My only option was to escape the room. My only exit was the window behind me which was fortunately not yet covered by the stalk. I took a few seconds to contemplate whether I should run through the window like they do in the movies but was scared of how sore it may be. I hadn’t realized how much time I wasted on this stupid rumination until I saw the roses were now too close to me. Their petals were already assailing towards my chest. But I was quick to react as I twirled around and dove out the window. I fell outside on the well-manicured green lawn of the apartment building and every inch of my body endured excruciating pain. It turns out jumping off the third floor of a building does that to you.
I took a moment lying on the grass to try and recuperate. I slowly got up expecting to have broken or fractured a bone or two, lucky enough that was not the case. I dusted off the shards of glass which were all over my body. I looked up at my apartment window and saw the two roses glaring at me. I assume there were looking at me because their petals were lolled down to where I stood.
After weeks of searching for them, they came to find me. It was then I eliminated the possibility of it being a coincidence when I was pricked in the woods.
I was now not only concerned about what the hell these roses were, but was also worried about where the hell will I sleep for the night?