Glistening drops permeated a potted rose sitting in my balcony. Its rouge petals announced the arrival of Spring. It was dazzling yet menacing. Roses represent the superlative capriciousness of beauty.

This perennial child was a present from a gypsy I met on a flea market. She was keen on the arts of divination. She told me that this particular breed of rose didn’t need water or any specific care. She was willing to give it to me for free, on one condition. She instructed me to tend to it as if it were of my kindred. Failing to do so would lead to terrible repercussions. At the time, I didn’t understand what she meant by this.

It took all my will to not laugh at her absurd augury. Unlike her, I paid no heed to idiotic occult rubbish. Still, I welcomed her gift, for it suit my sense of aesthetics, very much so.

As days have started passing, I began noticing subtle changes. My flowery companion seemed to be in perpetual bloom. An ethereal aura protected its very life. Indeed, this rose refused to wither, no matter what.

I thought nothing of it. They were some novelty roses, hardy of constitution, I thought. Nothing more, nothing less.

Years began to pass. And yet, my youth and energy remained intact. Could it be that this humble rose was the cause of such miracle?

Impossible, I insisted to myself. How can a plant harness such power over a person? My imagination was playing tricks on me.

Moreover, diseases and minor injuries were a thing of the past. Indeed, it seemed that I had attained immortality. Not by my own accord, but thanks to a fortuitous favor. I chalked it out to a healthy lifestyle, but was that it?

Decades started to slip by. At that moment, an alarming transformation occured: I started to sprout roses from my body. They were minuscule buds at first, yet they were quick to take over my limbs. Both my arms and legs, infested by lovely yet ruinous clusters of blossoming roses.

It didn’t take long before they spread towards my torso. At that point, moving was out of the question. I became bedridden overnight.

I lost track of the passage of time. Did decades pass? Centuries? It all became a blur. I lost my sense of self: I became the host of a splendid, yet murderous rose garden.

Then I saw her. The vagrant from before. She who handed me out the rose that started it all. Her sly smile was enough for me to realize what has been in the making.

Her gift wasn’t meant in good will. Indeed, I served my function to the letter. As my consciousness faded, I saw her harvest the roses covering my body. A bountiful yield, ready to serve its vile purpose once more. She finished picking every one of them. Afterwards, she departed without uttering a single word.

A dried-up, human-shaped rose bush sat in a room, devoid of life, once and for all.

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