'Rose Petals' by Susan Shipp



She lays there, my other identical self, older than I by twenty minutes.  Her eyes are closed, and her breath laboured.  She clings tenuously to life – fighting to stay with me.  She will lose.  I knew that in my heart, long before the monitors told me so.

            A warm breeze filters through the open window of her hospital room, carrying the heady scent of rose; her favourite flower.  Letting go of her hand, I ease up from the chair by her bed and move to the window, arriving in time to see a rose-petal fall softly to the moist, warm earth.

            For a moment, I smile, and the years tumble away and we are children once more …

            ‘Hurry up Jude.  We must get them before they turn brown.’
            ‘Let me finish this page.’
            ‘No, you must help me now.’
            As usual, I put my book down and follow my sister’s instruction.  She will not stop until I do.
            ‘Go and get a dish: the one with the pink roses.  I’ll start collecting.’ She dips her head back to the task, safe in the knowledge I will do as she bids.
            As I run into the kitchen, Mum is smiling.  She hands me the old ceramic pink rose-patterned bowl, and a jug of water.  ‘Best take the water now, or she’ll send you back.’
            Crouching down beside my sister, I hand her the bowl.
            ‘Did Mum see you?
            Starting to collect rose petals, I shake my head.
            ‘Good.  It’s a surprise.’

In the warmth of the hospital room, I look back at my sister.  Still, no movement.  No sign she can smell the scent she so loves.  But as sure as I am in my heart of losing her, I know there is time for one more rose-petal collection.



FlashFlood is brought to you by National Flash-Fiction Day UK, happening this year on 27th June 2015.
In the build up to the day we have now launched our Micro-Fiction Competition (stories up to 100 words) and also our annual Anthology (stories up to 500 words).  So if you have enjoyed FlashFlood, why not send us your stories?

More information about these and the Day itself available at nationalflashfictionday.co.uk.

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