One of my favorite sayings ever since I started going to church was, ‘When God closes a window he opens a door.’ Or is it, when he closes a door he opens a window? I am not sure, but you know what I mean it’s something along those lines. I loved this saying a bit more when it manifested in my life.
When I was standing on the lawn of my apartment building with nowhere to go because I didn’t have any close friends who could take me in for the night and I had spent most of my money on groceries earlier on at the supermarket which meant I could barely afford the cheapest motel, God opened a window or door for me. (Well at least I thought he did).
I felt pretty stranded at the time. At one point I thought I should call the cops or… a gardener or someone who can deal with these roses. I searched my pockets for my phone but I didn’t have it, I realized I had probably left it in my apartment. Of which I didn’t mind this too much because, what was I going to tell the 911 operator?
“Hello, can you please send a police officer to my apartment? There are these roses that are giving me problems.” I am pretty sure that is one of the easiest ways of booking a room at a psychiatric hospital.
I also realized I had left my car and apartment keys behind. I only had my wallet which I hadn’t taken out of my back pocket when I came back from the grocery store and my blunt mini knife which I was still holding on to for some strange reason. With a couple of dollar bills as the only denizens of my wallet, I was sure not even a hobo will allow me to share their cardboard house with them for the night.
“Oh my God, Stan?” I heard a voice from behind me. I was so startled at the mention of my name that I dropped my small knife. When I turned around I saw Candice standing on the footpath that leads to and from the front gate of the flat. I stepped over the knife so that she wouldn’t see it and I tried to act casual.
Candice’s blonde hair was flowing to her shoulders and she was garbed in a light blue dress which barely reached her knee caps and exposed her long smooth legs. She had grocery bags in both her hands and her face was that of utter shock and concern.
“Are you okay?” she questioned.
I forced out a nervous laughter and replied, “Who me? Yeah, of course, I am fine. What could possibly make you think otherwise?”
“Well your face is bleeding for one. And isn’t that your apartment window that is smashed to bits?”
I quickly glanced up at my apartment window and the roses were not there. But I somehow knew they were still in my apartment. This made it harder for me to tell Candice the truth, so I had to think of a lie. The problem was I am not too good at lying. When I was thirteen years old, my mother found a magazine of p**n under my pillow. The best explanation I could come up with was I was using the magazine to improve my biology rather than anything else. I didn’t even say it as a joke. I said it as my ultimate defense against the possibility of being punished.
“Stan?” Candice said with a concerned tone after realizing I was staring at the broken window for too long. “Do you need me to call someone?”
“Oh no uhm I am fine. Believe me, uhm I fell out the window as I was practicing my dance moves,” I replied.
“Dance moves?” She enquired incredulously with a chuckle.
“Yeah and trust me if you can’t moon walk, don’t try it too close to the window,” I laughed.
Candice appeared unconvinced as she narrowed her eyes at me. I bet she could see through my pathetic prevarication. I think she could always tell when I was lying. She also didn’t believe me a few days ago when I told her that I got the bandages on my fingertips after I saved a bunch of orphans from a burning building. Thankfully, she didn’t ask about the glowing mark on my index finger because I don’t know what I would have said to her.
“Uhm okay, I know first aid so can you at least let me treat that cut on you?” she coaxed.
I placed a hand on my forehead. I felt the cut and blood spewing out from there. The cut wasn’t that deep but the blood was more that I had expected.
“Come up with me to my apartment, I will patch you up real good,” Candice suggested. There was no point arguing because she had already started walking towards the entrance door of the flat. I followed and helped with her groceries.
Her apartment was on the fourth floor which meant it was just above mine. This made me feel uneasy knowing that those roses are just a floor below me.
All the apartments of the building are identical so when I walked into hers, it felt like my own. Expect this one was cleaner and ornamented with expensive furniture. The walls were a pristine white and decorated with a plethora of paintings all framed in gold. A huge flat screen TV sat in front of a long white couch which had a matching fluffy carpet underneath it. A narrow corridor led away from the lounge and it had two doors on its left and right side. All the doors were closed but I knew that two of them led to the bedrooms and the other two led to the toilet and bathroom respectively.
Candice ran into her bedroom and came back with a first aid kit box. She gave me pills which I just took and threw into my mouth without even asking what they were. This amused Candice before she told me there were painkillers. After she cleaned and placed a bandage on my forehead, she poured a glass of wine for herself and asked if I wanted coffee or juice.
“What? No, I want what you are having,” I replied. I desperately needed a strong drink after what I had experienced.
“Uhm I don’t think it’s a good idea to drink when you have taken pills,” she reasoned.
“Oh come on, I will be fine,” I argued.
“Okay, just don’t die in my apartment,” she giggled as she poured a glass of wine for me.
We talked for what seemed like days. Candice asked a lot about my life which I was reluctant to share because of how massively embarrassing it was but after I had several glasses of wine, I opened up like book. Candice didn’t say much about herself which disappointed me because I really wanted to know her. She seemed to maneuver her way out of all the questions I posed to her. I had asked her to tell me about her childhood when she leaned in and kissed me. My whole body rippled with excitement as her soft lips touched mine. Her lip gloss smelt like strawberries and I was tempted to bite her at one point. When I touched the velvet skin of her body I felt electricity coursing through my veins.
“Let’s go to my bedroom,” she seductively sang into my ears and that was the last thing I remember from that encounter. I am not sure if it was because of the wine or the pills she gave me, but my recollections of what happened next seem non-existent.
I woke up in her bed a few hours later and I remember the immense amount of disappointment I felt. I had finally got the opportunity to sleep with the girl I had lusted over for months and I couldn’t remember the experience. Did I even have s*x with her? Was I good? These two questions really troubled me at the time.
I also noticed I was naked but was not entirely sure if anything happened because I just couldn’t remember anything from the time she invited me to her bedroom. I turned to the digital clock on the side of the bed and it read 01:38 PM. I felt relieved because I could still find out from her if we had s*x and if I was any good, so that I can at least try to redeem myself if I was awful. I reached out next to me and there was no one. I sat up, ran my hand all over the bed and sure enough I was alone.
“Probably went to the bathroom or something,” I said to myself as I waited. I took the time to thank God for opening this window or door for me. I not only found a place to sleep for the night but I had made great strides in my relationship with Candice.
One minute passed as I waited for her, then two, then three, then four and after five minutes I jumped out of bed. I decided to go ask her these burning questions as she pisses or takes a s**t or whatever.
I noticed a used condom on the floor when I got out of bed and I smiled because that answered one of my questions but the other still remained a mystery. I only put on my boxer shorts expecting that if I learn that I was terrible in bed, we can come back and I can quickly make things right.
As soon as I stepped into the hallway, I felt antsy. The florescent light in the corridor flickered continuously and created a quite daunting atmosphere. I walked over to the toilet door which was ajar and I called out her name. I called her four more times before I opened the door and found no one inside. I went to the bathroom and it was also empty. I then went to search for her in the other bedroom assuming that she had decided to sleep in there because I was snoring or taking all the bed sheets or something. But it was also vacant. I stepped back into the hallway and called out her name a bit louder as panic was starting to slip into me.
I went to switch on the lights in the kitchen and lounge only to find no one there. I then realized the front door was still locked from the inside. So that eliminated the possibility of her having left the apartment.
I called out her name again and my voice echoed around the small apartment. By this point I was practically screaming her name out. Something was not right and my body could sense it. My stomach became acrobatic and back flipped continuously within me, my heart became claustrophobic as it banged on my chest to escape and my throat became anorexic as it thinned itself to the extent of almost choking me. I had a feeling those black petal roses had something to do with her disappearance. I knew I wasn’t safe to be just a floor above those foul smelling roses.
I went into the kitchen and this time I took the biggest and meanest looking butcher knife I could find. The knife could have easily qualified as a machete and no one would argue. I took a deep breath and decided to do a search of all the rooms once more.
Bedroom one was empty.
Bedroom two was also empty.
The toilet was empty.
The bathroom was empty.
I had given up on calling her name and was now searching the apartment in frantic silence. I was in such a panicked state that I even searched under the couch, in the kitchen drawers, behind the stove and inside the fridge. I stood in the hallway on the verge of tears and then I smelt it. That foul stench you would expect from the armpits of someone who lives in a dump yard filled with manure. The odor engulfed my nostrils and churned my stomach.
From the bedroom I was sleeping in, I saw a rose slither out. Its supple long red stem was thin but it had huge glittering black petals. I gripped the knife in my hand tighter as rage boiled within me, my fear had somehow evaporated. This damn rose had done something to Candice and I was prepared to make it pay.
“Calm down Stan,” a bloodcurdling voice spoke from behind me.
I nearly jumped out of my skin when I turned around to see Candice standing by the door, which was not possible because I never heard her come in. Besides that, how did she even come in when the door was still locked from the inside? On top of that, the voice she had used was not her own. Her voice now sounded like a choir of robotic chipmunks. Also her eyes were jet-black with a vertical red line in the middle. As if that was not enough, her face was wrinkled and mashed up like it was stampeded by a herd of buffaloes but I could still tell it was Candice.
“It’s okay. He means you no harm. You have to allow him in because…”
I didn’t hear anything else Candice said from this point because she was naked as the day she was born. Although her face had lost its appeal her body hadn’t and my eyes plus concentration veered to her loosely hanging lush breasts, her smooth flawless skin and curvy hips. In my mind I could see myself taking her back into the bedroom, proposing to her after making love, our marriage, our honeymoon, our children, our lives in old age 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. (I was quite obsessed with this song at the time.)
“Are you even listening?!” the alien voice from within Candice screamed.
I snapped out of my reverie and realized the mountainous erection I now had.
Candice noticed it too and groaned, “Pathetic human.” She then bolted towards me.
In my state of shock, I stretched my right hand in front of me to stop her but as soon as I touched her, she was set ablaze by white flames. She shrieked like a siren before her body exploded leaving me and her white walls marred by black slime.
I was stunned. Her body had detonated to black guck.
I looked down at my hand and realized the glow of the mark on my index finger had slightly dimmed. But I had no time to think too much on that because I then noticed the huge rose down the hallway was now charging towards me. I side-stepped the rose and it slid past me and knocked down the front door. I slashed at its long stem detaching it from its petals which were the size of elephant ears and the whole rose rapidly became dry before devolving to black slime.
I then noticed four more roses with steroid sized black petals were slithering out of the same room as the first rose. My anger and courage were quickly substituted by fear. There was no way I could take them all on. I wish I could tell you I wasn’t about to s**t my pants, but I am Christian now and to be honest at that moment I was very close to messing up the only form of clothing I had on me.
So I ran out of the apartment through the smashed down front door and fleeted out of the flat with the speed of sonic. I never stopped to think I was still in my boxer shorts with a huge erection poking out, covered with black slime and holding a thick butcher knife in my hand.
Anyone who saw me that night probably thought I was all kinds of crazy but I didn’t care, I was terrified. I now knew these roses were something supernatural and would not stop coming for me. I also knew I had to find sanctuary. As I ran down the street, I only had one place in mind where I hoped I could get protection and help.
I just prayed father Hernandez will be able to take me in that late at night.