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Rated: 18+ · Short Story · Contest Entry · #2211365
Spectacular in summer, but what about the shade underneath. Screams!!! 1/27/2020
The Rosebush

There can be no denying that it is an impressive sight when it is in full bloom. Those flowers, where petals overlap petals in fragrant abundance, their color blood red, are many.

From bud to fading bloom, they range, until eventually every single petal has been shed.

It might have lost its flowers but the rosebush itself continues to live, even to thrive. Look carefully at the stems. Can you see the veins of red that thread through them to join the thicker wood-like stems that thrust their roots beneath the ground? The thorns don't die, but stay sharp, ready to draw blood from the careless or unwary.

Even during the harshest of winter months there is a shaded, shadowed spot at the base of the rosebush. The earth, hidden, is different to that in the remainder of the garden. It's the nutrients that make the difference; the iron, the blood, that seeps deep into the ground to nourish the plant.

But there are other things in that soil besides the roots of the rosebush. There are creatures that thrive away from the sun. They relish the shade and they feed on the soil, and they develop a taste for blood.

To the untrained eye they appear very much like the average earthworm. Longer, thicker than most of their species, they have evolved in a way that their unusual thirst can be quenched. Their undersides are covered with tiny prickles. These are just like the thorns of the rosebush itself, only minute in comparison.

And here is the problem. During the winter, when their hunger is at its greatest, when their need for nutrition is all-consuming, no one nears the plants. The shaded spot beneath the rosebush is soon drained of the blood these worms now crave. There has to be an answer somewhere, doesn't there?

It takes them time to find a solution. During this period of intense hunger they burrow ever deeper, ever further. They've somehow developed a sense that allows them to seek out the flesh that contains the veins through which blood does flow.

Have you watched a worm as it wriggles along? It can cover a surprisingly large distance in a mind-bogglingly short space of time. And that's just you average common garden variety. These, that have emerged from the shade of the rosebush, have a purpose that spurs them on towards reaching unwormly feats. Every part of them is tuned in to blood, to the search and the hunger.

Is your house secure? Are you sure that there are no gaps in the foundations big enough to let a worm wriggle through? But then again, so what? You don't live in the foundations so you are safe. Or are you?

Perhaps you should check every inch of your floor. Make sure there are no cracks in the concrete, or gaps in the floorboards. Move all of your furniture; lift up the vinyl, the mats and the carpet, for they have left that shaded place beneath the rosebush, the one that gave birth to that thirst, and they are rapidly on the move.

(518 words)

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