It’s been entirely too long since my last 500 Club post. So, here we go again. I don’t really know what to say about this one. The prompt was simply, “Write a scene involving the color blue. This can mean the literal color blue, a blue emotion, blue language or an object or symbolism involving the color blue. Be creative. Don’t write the obvious or the cliché.”
I try to avoid the cliché whenever I can, and if being cliché somehow makes me not cliché, then I’m all in. What follows then is a bit different from anything else I’ve flash-fictioned before, something almost comically gothic. I hope you enjoy it.
roses are blue
I know it’s cliché, showing up at her door with 13 blue roses in hand. The effect is somewhat lessened by the fact that the image is so iconic in certain circles. I might as well have brought her candied thumbs, or, stars forbid, a toad with a little black ribbon tied around his neck.
But the gift was necessary. I cared for her. There’s always that. But it was more than just sentiment. It was a political move, too, making sure I was seen on the long walk to her mausoleum just after moonrise. Shadows danced in the peripheral of my vision. I hoped they were nodding with approval rather than clacking silently with disdain.
The dead tend to take desecration of a grave seriously, and I’d done one hell of a number on hers. Like the gift, it had been necessary, the elaborate binding which sealed her that night and every blue moon thereafter. I’d saved lives with that spell. Lives and souls, some of them now watching me from behind tombstones and sepulchers.
It’s complicated to say the least. I loved her when we were kids. I loved her when we came of age, exploring each other’s bodies and becoming adults together. I loved her when we married, when we had our first child, when we bought our first home. And I loved her when she was taken from me, twisted by the effects of a dark magic she’d played with far too carelessly. When she embraced the darkness. When she ate our first born. When I killed her.
I thought it would stop then, the blue-black descent into a dizzying madness, but the grave could not hold her. She had become a ghoul, a boogie-woman. She was her worst on blue moons. Binding her was the only way.
The grave is a door. It opens and closes and, like other doors, one can walk through it from either direction. To do what I had done, to ply forces against the door, jamming it shut from one side, this would be taken as an extreme act by the dead and those who sympathize with them. There would be some, a few people and many more spirits, who might regard my actions as extremely offensive.
Just because someone is dead, it doesn’t mean their sense of manners is.
I carried the blue roses gingerly, walking quickly toward her corner of the cemetery, hoping those watching would wait long enough to allow my peace offering. She wouldn’t understand the gesture, but they would. God, I hoped they would. I didn’t want to die.
The door swings both ways, yes, but I’m not ready to walk through it.
As I approached the squat stone structure, I felt cold breath on my neck and I heard, I’m almost certain, rustling footfalls behind me. I didn’t look back, though. Never knowingly look on the dead. Instead, I stepped forward and laid blue roses on the steps and hoped the watchers couldn’t see the fear in my eyes.