Blood Roses

by Dena Oliver

1

"Hello? Are you awake?"

I needed sleep badly. I was at the point that even breathing seemed to be a struggle. I looked at the computer screen and started to melt into the scene of beaches and turquoise skies.

"Brownie? Where are you at, you look horrible?"

Sadly, I had no idea where I was really at. I know that the last time I got any real rest was 58 days ago. That was the day that everything seemed to change for me. That night, I tried to close my eyes and nothing happened, only the darkness of my room and the buzz of the T.V.

"Bronwyn"

"Yes, I heard you each and every time before. Why are you screaming?"

"Go look at yourself, splash some water on your face."

I got up to walk away from the presentation. I don't think I even looked in the mirror at myself anymore. Pulling myself out of bed and getting dressed was so mundane that I could pull it off in my comatose state. I opened the door to the restroom. The door felt like it weighed a ton. I could barely find the strength. I went to the cold, white, porcelain sink and put my hands under the motion sensor. It seems to always take a while for the water to come on but when it did, it was cool and refreshing. It felt like I was in the Atlantic Ocean close to the sore, too scared to enter into deep water. I held my hands together and threw the water on my face. I looked up in the mirror and saw someone that seemed a stranger. My normally healthy skin looked haggard and gray. My eyes seemed to be hanging onto my eyelids for life. Every line on my face was accented, almost as if a child had used highlighter on my face. Each crack on my lips was exposed for all to see. I needed sleep. I left the restroom and walked to my cubicle. The hallways of the office seemed blurry almost fuzzy. The brown colors on the cubicle walls were lighter than before. Was I truly hallucinating or was it something else? I got to my desk and there was a note and a plastic bag.

Please take these and try again tomorrow Lucia :)

Inside the plastic bag were two white pills. I had no idea what they were and there were no markings, just stark whiteness. I tucked the pills into my purse and turned everything off. I walked towards the elevator in hopes of finally getting peace. The doors opened and darkness consumed me.

2

There is no light in the dark, only quiet. I sat in the darkness and waited. There is a certain amount of patience required before they come. I closed my eyes and listened. I heard the rattling of metal against granite then a leather shoe dragging along after the metal. His foot was slightly curved, I knew this from memory and the extra arms normally hung down to his knee. I imagined that today he would have the green sweater on with the white lines. His eyes would most likely be shaking and spastic like an addict. Well, he was an addict in his own way. He was addicted to human contact or someone who has contact with humans.

"Bronwyn . . . What do I owe this pleasure?"

"I have no idea how I got here Seven. I just blacked out. Is there something that you need to tell me?"

Seven seemed to shuffle, if that is possible with only one good foot. His eyes moved back and forth in a whimsical dance. He seemed to sweat. Large droplets of pinkish slime rolled between his eyes. Why was he so nervous? It seemed to be more serious than I thought.

"Seven! Focus on what I am saying, what is going on with Sephtiana?"

"There have been some problems with the Denovin's and they have been stationed very close to here waiting for you arrival. They want to speak with the captain of the fleet concerning rules and territory."

"Where was Basition? He is second in command until my return."

Seven's face went very still, which is hard to do when you have seven eyes on your face. He grabbed my arm and pulled me away from the portal.

"Light."

A dim red light flashed above our heads.

"Basition has left and he . . . , well you know that he is part Denovin, well he said that he would prefer to be under a legitimate rule than under you."

"Excuse me?"

"I am sorry, Bronwyn but he was very clear. He has left you his resignation back at your pod. I am hoping that your home is still the way it was when you left."

"Why didn't someone call me earlier or let me know how things were here?"

"Why do you think that you were unable to sleep? We have been trying to contact you for weeks."

It was all clear to me now. I was so stupid to not see the signs that my own people were trying to send me.

"Seven, please put me to sleep and take me home. I will work on this tomorrow."

All I remembered was seeing Seven's face very close to mine. His eyes scanned my body and instead of darkness on Earth, white light encircled me.

3

I arrived at my home. I didn't have to open my eyes to know that I was there. The air smelled sweet like red peppers and warm like lavender. I could imagine the slovel, Harsu, swinging in the vines that circled my bedroom. He would probably be staring at me as I slept, waiting for a tasty piece of fruit that he knew that I would give him. I missed home so much; there was anticipation to returning to where you are most comfortable. There was a sweet tinkering in the background and I knew that Seven had crossed the threshold and was most likely in the kitchen. I sat up in the bed and looked around. The room was exactly as I remembered. Lush green vines hanging from the ceiling. Large white and purple lilies were draped along all the furniture. Hyacinths were gracing all the doorways and windows. Harsu was cooing softly. He jumped from the vine and landed on my shoulder.

"Harsu, you missed me. How are you doing love?"

I stroked his mane of golden fur and looked into his amber eyes. He had seen much since I left and would tell me more I am sure. I laid Harsu on the bed and spoke the ancient words that trapped him in his animal body.

"Metamora"

Harsu's body began to stretch and fill. I always found his transformation to be beautiful. His amber fur lengthened to form legs and arms. His golden mane changed to flowing maroon hair down to his waist. His skin was the color of soft caramel. He looked up at me with eyes that I knew would eventually turn to that sexy bronze color that I loved to stare at. I turned away since my eyes were not adjusted to the unfiltered light here.

"Bronwyn, you don't want to look at me anymore?"

I turned around and looked at Harsu. Even though he was my lover a long time before, he was still the only one that I truly loved. Every time he walked across the room, I could not help but gaze on his beauty.

"Of course, my eyes are just not used to being back home yet."

"Well you are home now."

Harsu stepped towards me. He was naked and I was not sure how I felt about him being so close. I backed up into the night stand and waited. My mind was spinning with thoughts of sex and passion but I had more important things to focus on right now. I could not get distracted.

"Seven, is breakfast ready?"

"Yes it is Bronwyn, whenever you are ready."

I took that as the answer that I needed to slip out from the uncomfortable situation and make my exit.

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