The roses are rage-red, some bright, some wilted, all shaking in the summer wind, thorns long and sharp and slick with rain. Every year more blooms emerge, bursting with their bloody colour, every year.

I tried to stop it once; sick of being told it was pretty, I hacked at the many-headed thing like a righteous knight but it did no good. Every year more blooms emerge. I lost a battle with a fucking plant.

Some idiot online wrote that rose petals were good for sweets, face masks, and love spells. I knew mine better. I hid nine thorns in the centre of a bud. I carved a slip of wood with a name. I reddened both with blood from thorn-pricked veins and buried them, not in my own garden, but under the fence, sneaking under the boundary of that old warlock next door. I won that one. I watched him wilt and fail until he fell and broke his hip.

Not so pretty now is it?

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