Black Roses Part 1
That day, an unfamiliar face stood in the butcher’s shop. A tall, rounded man with a trimmed beard and two emerald green eyes sold her the pork shoulder. Belle stood behind the counter, watching the world play out outside the shop windows. The silence stretched between them. Sounds from outside the building echoed in the stale air. A carriage horse’s hoof clanked as it trotted through town. A child’s laughter and a mother’s harsh words trying to get it to settle down. The local church bell announcing the start of service. Then the butcher spoke, and Belle pulled her attention away in order to acknowledge them.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that,” Belle said.
“I asked you how your day has been,” the butcher replied with a gentle smile, “I apologize if I startled you.”
“No need. My day has been uneventful.”
“Uneventful is good. I like uneventful days. Makes the eventful more impactful, I think.”
To Belle, the attempt to fill the silence was a valid, if unnecessary, one. Small talk had never been her strong suit, though she rarely had anything to talk about these days. She opened her mouth to say something else when she realized something:
On the butcher’s counter lay a single black rose. It hadn’t been there before. Belle looked down at her plain blue dress, formed her face into a stoic smile, and looked back up to see the butcher had turned around to prepare her order. The doorbell jingled. At the same time, the butcher called out, and a booming voice entered her mind.
Belle looked to the newcomer, a muscular man in a tight, red shirt and brown trousers. She bit her lip then used a bit of magic to lock the exit. Outside, the world still continued. The hooves still clacked. The children still laughed. The bell still tolled. But in the butcher’s shop?
When it started again, two black roses lay on top of two dead bodies. The young woman with brown hair and blue eyes, wearing a simple blue dress, was nowhere to be found.