Darlene stared at the bouquet of withered roses, contemplating her next move. The crinkled brown leaves curled around brittle stems and the dried, almost black, rose blooms drooped from the mouth of the crystal vase.
A reasonable person might suggest she discard the arrangement, dump the foul chemical-filmed water and scrub the vase clean. But her heart couldn’t do it. Scott gave her those flowers before he disappeared. The only trace of him: a blood stain left in his truck parked near the Mogollon Rim.
Like a torrential monsoon rain, tears gushed down her cheeks. Each sob sent a wave of misery through her, so she wrapped her arms around her torso to ease the movement of her cracked ribs. It had been nearly four weeks since she almost died, but her wounds still gaped.
The emotional agony rivaled her physical scars. Nightmares of smoke and flames interrupted her sleep. She relived the panic of the stuck windows, the desperate grasp at life she made by throwing herself through the glass, and the jarring smack of concrete twenty feet below.
Scott had stayed with her in the hospital. He held her hand, slumped over with his head next to her on the bed. He did this for five days and then he was gone.
Darlene took a shallow breath and forced herself to slowly exhale. She grabbed the bunch of stems and dropped them in the trash. She spotted the unopened pink envelope on top of the heap, still held by the plastic pitchfork.
She stared at the small rectangle until it grew blurry. Finally, she lifted the envelope and slid her finger under the sealed flap, saying a quick prayer before reading his message.
“I’m sorry. You’re stronger than I thought…it wasn’t supposed to end this way.”
His apology left her with more questions than answers and a fury that sent crystal shards and putrid water spraying across the ceramic tile floor.
MOUTH: something that resembles a mouth especially in affording entrance or exit: as (a)the place where a stream enters a larger body of water; (b) the surface opening of an underground cavity; (c)the opening of a container; (d)an opening in the side of an organ flue pipe
If you want to try the challenge yourself, or read the other responses, click on the tricycle picture to view Trifecta’s site. As always, thanks for reading