From a mug filled with soil were two roses with only a few velvet lips remaining. They nodded towards the last of the sunlight as Sophie watched. Late afternoon light came through a crack in the barricaded windows. Most of the glass had been shattered ages ago. Her eyes were shrunken like raisins as she fixed her gaze on the roses, obsessing over them, it had been so long since she had seen a plant. It had been so long since she had seen anything living, actually. The feeling of comfort crept into her chest for a moment before she dropped the roses, stifling the feeling deep somewhere it would not be easily stirred. Comfort was a luxury she could afford to have yet she found remnants lingering within her.
Her knees cracked as she picked herself up from the floor and looked around. What remained of a wooden chest of drawers blocked the only door into the room, but still a trail of cockroaches made their way to something that looked like a dead mouse. It had fallen next to a dusty bookshelf full of children’s books that seemed untouched. Girls’ clothes strewn across the place, “Probably a girl around the same as Rose,” Sophie thought, taking the few not covered in sweat marks and stuffing them into her duffle bag.
A rusted metal bed frame with a misshapen mattress took up a corner. The mattress was foul and crimson sullied the middle of it. Sophie picked up the cup of roses and crawled into bed, wrapping herself in a blanket. A smell of mold came from it. It was decorated with pink elephants standing on circus balls. Sophie closed her eyes and felt the warmth of the last person that had been there, but decided it was just her imagination. Whoever lived here left a while ago, years ago maybe, but prodding the soil in the cup she could feel a slight damp. It’s green leaves replaced the stains that had seeped into the wood grain of the floor. Fresh perfume replaced the musty stink from the walls, from Sophie and her uncombed locks, and from the ragged bath rug she’d been using as a jacket.
Hours passed as she stared at the roses and silver light spilled into the room. A familiar pinch gripped her stomach, a tightening radiated into her chest and throat then down into her pelvis. No food in a day and a half, no water for two. Still she curled on the mattress with the roses that reminded her of her own Rose somewhere below ground. “Roses for my Rose.” she said in a low whisper, but only the floorboards beneath her replied. She longed to hear a young girls’ laugh, footfalls, cries, anything, but only heard the unrest of her stomach searching for food that would never come. Her head bobbed along with the flowers as she clutched the cup to her chest. Finally she slept.