A bouquet of roses was waiting for her when she got home, exhausted from work and just wanting a cup of tea and a nap. Twenty four beautiful roses, red and white and pink, arranged artfully in a red vase, strange against the old warped wood of her battered kitchen table. The evening was getting dark, and she flipped the light on, absently flipping the switch on the kettle, her attention drawn again and again to the roses.
Roses were not her favourite flower. She wasn’t that fond of roses, found them cliché and pretentious and overtly fancy, preferred tulips, but she couldn’t deny that these were lovely. She walked over to the table, dumping her keys on the work surface. She stooped to smell the roses and smiled despite herself. They smelled wonderful, like a summer’s day. She reached out, stroking the soft petals, and then gasped in pain, jerking her hand back.
A droplet of blood fell from her pricked finger. She must have caught it on a thorn, she thought, but her brain was suddenly fuzzy, and her limbs felt numb, and she was falling, crumpling onto the ground, her hand banging painfully against the edge of the table as she tried and failed to catch her balance.
And as she lay there on the ground, vision darkening, a thought suddenly struck her, too late. How had the roses got into her house? She tried to lift her head, but her whole body felt weak, and she couldn’t stop her eyes from closing. Who had gotten into her house? She heard the kettle start to boil.