By Donna L Greenwood
The bride runs down the street, her wedding train glistening under the mad glare of the moon. She stumbles forward, trying not to fall or cut her feet on the hard, cold stones. Her mouth and eyes are wide with terror but another emotion is fastened to her face – anger. The bride knows she will find no sanctuary in this place – though curtains twitch and candles flicker – nobody will open their doors for her tonight.
He glides behind her – all polish and poise. His pale and delicate hands gesticulate in the night, conducting an orchestra only he can see. The Groom does not hurry for he knows his bride has nowhere to hide. He waves royally at the dark windows and smiles when huddled figures duck out of sight. No one can stop him tonight – not on his wedding night – it is his right to pursue what has been bound to him by the laws of God and man.
“Please!” screams the bride at the faceless houses, “For God’s sake, somebody help me!” A soft and distant echo of her own despair is the only answer to her plea.
Finally her strength bleeds out and she falls down defeated in the street. The Groom is upon her like lichen. He presses his face close to hers and he gulps down her breath and he licks off her skin and he drinks in her sweat and tears. He burrows inside her and he devours and devours until there is nothing left but bones and a blood-wet wedding dress.
As the early morning sun laces its insipid yellow fingers around the street, the townsfolk find a single red rose lying in the gutter where the bride’s body had been.
It isn’t long before some foolish girl, with dreams of romance in her heart, skips by and claims the red rose for her very own.