The Friday Muse – Crimson Rose

Today’s Friday Muse piece is based on a writing prompt I participated in many years ago and never published. The story has piqued my curiosity enough to want to possibly expand upon this in the coming months. For now, here’s the writing prompt and my literary piece to the prompt.
Writing Prompt
Your character(s) is in a field of wild roses when she/he notices that one of them has blood dripping from its thorns. Taking a closer look, they notice a trail of blood leading out of the field…

Crimson Rose
Brittany hesitated when she looked out on the horizon and realized the field butted up against a wall of trees. The forest of Feralden, a terrible place of darkness and creatures so vile she had only seen them in her nightmares. She couldn’t go in there – wouldn’t go in there – just to satisfy a curiosity. A curiosity that was slowly gaining speed.

Looking down on the rose again, she noticed the blood was drying somewhat quickly on the sharp thorns of the flower’s stem. Whose blood was there on the rose? And if they were wounded, why would they run into the dark forest?

Brittany turned to leave the field in the opposite direction of the forest when she heard a soft whisper seep out of the trees. “Find the doorway to the other world.”

Who said that? And how was it she was able to hear a whisper from almost a quarter mile – if not more – away? Her curiosity tore at her like the teeth of a panther and she suddenly found herself moving toward the forest, her mind screaming at her not to do it, but her body rebelling with every fiber it had within it.

When she reached the trees, she felt a frightening chill sweep across her bare arms, pulling the hair up at the back of her neck. She could see nobody, nothing but trees. Trees and darkness. The sunlight was barred from reaching the forest floor thanks to the shield of leaves gracing the tree tops. 

Brittany stepped into the forest, her eyes scanning the floor for the trail of blood. Although her eyes couldn’t make out the dark spots against the forest floor, she didn’t have to go far to find who had been bleeding. A young man in a tattered white shirt and black pants lay on the ground at the base of a tree. His hand was gripping something jetting out of the side of the trunk – a knob.

She rushed to him, oblivious to any dangers she might encounter. When she reached him, he looked up at her with glowing blue eyes and whispered, “The other world.” Brittany watched as his hand slipped from the knob and he closed his eyes. 

He was dead. Brittany reached her hand out to the doorknob, grabbing hold of the cold brass. She felt power within that knob, great power. When she turned the knob, a door opened in the tree, emitting bright colorful light into her face. She knew it was her destiny to step inside, to enter this ‘other world’ this dead man at her feet had spoken of. 

And so she entered the trap that the forest had laid out for her…


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