The Blood Rose: dead rose and the mask

Not only is this the start of a new story it’s also me competing in yesterday’s challenge.

It was a perfect day. The rain battered at their tent and the winds threatened to snatch the whole thing, making their hearts beat faster though this sound was silenced by the nearby thunder. None the less Erik had never been happier. He was finally going to confess his feelings for his life long friend Rose Thornbrooke. He looked at her hope and courage welling up from deep within as he began to speak, “I have something to tell you Ro.” She covered his mouth hushing him. “Did you hear that it sounds like footsteps?” He looked confused as he started to shiver from all the freezing rain seeping through the recently added tears of his favourite tent. Seeing him suffering at the hands of the elements Rose hugged him hoping their combined body heat would be sufficient to preserve them through what would undoubtedly be a traumatic experience. And then they died.

To say the story ends there is to be disingenuous. The sound Rose mistook for footsteps was the sound of a branch beginning to snap, it soon crushed both her and her soulmate ending them moments before they could truly find each other. This torment this heartbreak this abrupt shift would have been traumatic enough on it’s own but things quickly went from horrible to worse. Rose awoke in a train station the only noise she could hear was that of ticking clocks and the shifting sands of a thousand hour glasses. She of course saw none of this, just trains passing slowly never stopping because no one save for her was there to even consider boarding.
“Hello strangeling, I will be your guide,” spoke a voice from behind. As she turned Rose was greeted with a yellow smiley face mask. “What are you?” She asked resisting the urge to jump back in fear at the man who clearly wasn’t there a moment ago. “Hello strangleing I, will be your guide,” he repeated emphasising the word I this time. “I see your point, I guess you did just tell me that, but what do I call you?” Rose asked calming down a little. “Hello strangeling,” the man started once more before she interrupted. “Okay I get it you’re my guide I’ll call you guide and you are my guide. Can you say anything else?” Rose asked unsure which of the two people in the train station was acting foolishly. “I answer questions, and I lead you on your way.” The masked guide said. “Where are we, and what time is it?” Rose asked as she began to understand what was going on. “You’re out of time.” Spoke the guide with a tone that sounded to Rose as if he had a mischievous grin on his covered face. “I thought you said you answered questions, not state random things.” Rose complained more to herself than to what was clearly the physical embodiment of madness. “I did say, and I did as I said.” He said practically laughing. “But where am I? Rose asked as she frantically looked left right up and down struggling not to panic as the reality of her situation was finally beginning to dawn on her. “There is no whet without a when and you are out of time, so I guess this is what you think nowhere looks like. Spacious enough, but mine was a desert.” The mask said as he hoped backwards to give rose the room she needed. Rose instantly began to cry.
“According to the paperwork it was quick, painless and you were smiling. Folks in charge like to call that the perfect storm, at least I think they do, never met anyone actually in charge of anything in person, or would it be in spirit, either way.” rambled the mask as he watched her fall down into the feral position sobbing uncontrollably. “I’ll stand here and wait for you to be strong,” he said in a serious tone which shook what was left of the shattered girl to her very core. “Why would I be strong, why should I be strong? I’ve just lost everything!!” Rose screamed finally snapping, she leaped to her feet with a stern lion on her face. “You’re special, you have something most don’t, call it a favour from the men upstairs, though it could very well be from the great below, the after life is a mystery even to the dead,” the mask said as he began circling Rose, eyeing her up and down from beyond his mask. “What do I have?” Rose asked her confusion dampening the fury she felt a moment ago. “Hello strangeling, I will be your guide.” The mask repeated in a sing-song voice.

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ECHO ECHO