Legacy of a Rose|
"Dorothy," said Norman, "your oil supply is getting low again. Will you go buy another tank?"
"No problem, Norman."
"Are you sure you can handle it, Miss Dorothy? I mean, it is a heavy load."
"You forget, Norman, that I can lift a man ten times your size with ease. I believe I can handle a tank full of oil."
"I apologize Dorothy. Here are the credits to buy it." Norman gave her the card. Dorothy didn't respond. She simply walked onto the elevator and went down to the first floor.
As she walked down the first few blocks, she looked at all the people pass by. It was one of the things she did most often whenever she walked somewhere. She was looking at a father and his little girl holding hands when she accidentally bumped into a young woman, making her drop her black purse. Her clothes were a little strange: she wore jeans, a midnight-blue tank top, and dark sunglasses. Her dark hair was in a ponytail.
"I'm so sorry," said the woman. "I wasn't paying attention." They both immediately went down to pick up the fallen contents of the purse.
"Your name is Rose. You are the woman who left the note," whispered Dorothy.
The woman's eyes went wide. Then she frowned. "I'm sorry, I don't know...what is your name?"
"That's a pretty name. Well, Dorothy, I don't remember giving you a note."
"You didn't give it to me. I found it in the elevator. You also left some red object." The woman stayed silent for a moment. "I saw you sneaking around outside the window."
"Do you live with Roger Smith?"
"I'm sorry, I didn't know he had a-"
"You are sadly mistaken to think I am romantically involved with him."
"Oh." They finished cleaning up. They both got up from the ground. "When you see him, please give him this and tell him 'thank you' for the other night." She handed her another rose, yet this one was yellow. Dorothy took it from her and observed it for a moment. She caught her wrist before she could go any further.
"He suffers for you Rose," she said softly. "He knows what you feel."
"How do you know this?"
"I can hear it in his sleep. I can hear it when he dreams." She let go. Rose just looked on at the walking android.
As Dorothy got home, she set down the tank of oil near the entrance to the elevator. In the other hand, she still had the yellow rose, its petals closed and in perfect condition. She placed it in a vase full of water and placed it on the windowsill Roger usually took no notice of. She pulled one of the drapes to cover it, just in case.
* * *
Roger heard a slight sound.
"Dorothy, I'm gonna pull you apart!" he said half asleep. He realized it wasn't Dorothy, but the phone. He grabbed the one next to his bed. Who the hell is crazy enough to call this late at night? And true, it was dark outside. But Roger didn't care. He picked up the phone.
"Hello?" he answered groggily.
"Roger, I need you."
He woke up in an instant. "Rose?"
"Something terrible happened. I need you to come down."
"I can't tell you here, not on the phone. I need you with me."
"Where?" She told him. "Okay, I'll be there as soon as I can." He hung up. He began dressing. He didn't realize Dorothy was watching. She had heard the entire conversation.
* * *
After parking the Griffon in the abandoned parking lot, he quickly walked up to the entrance. I can't believe I'm actually coming to Happytown after so long. He entered the closed down amusement park through the broken metal gate.
Walking, he noticed many things: the large abandoned Ferris wheel straight ahead, the rusted popcorn and cotton candy machines, the fake clown to the entrance of the House of Mirrors with a missing eye and two missing teeth, the bumper car area, with some of the cars out of the ring, and the carousel, with the paint of some of the animals peeling off. Then he saw her cat's eyes glow green. She was sitting on the floor of the carousel. Even from afar, the scent of her danced under his nose.
"He knows Roger."
"Who knows what?"
"Beck. He knows of the roses. He stole the book, the book of the roses." She looked up at him. She saw he was confused. "It doesn't only show how to grow them and control them, Roger. My father wrote in that book before The Event. It's full of memories, and he knew, and he stole them. How could I have been so stupid?" She stayed silent. "I tried to stop him, but he ended up trying to kill me as well. I got away from him."
"He doesn't want you in the way. He knows you'll kill him too." She nodded. Roger felt now was the time.
"How do you know Beck?" She looked up, her eyes glowing green again. Her gaze lowered, but Roger didn't have time for this. He placed his hands on her shoulders and shook her. "Tell me, how the hell do you know Beck!?"
"I used to date him."
"What?" This was the most shocked he had been in a long time.
"Hey, no one is born wicked. He was always good to me. I was so young and naïve. I wasn't in love, but I cared for him very much. My father trusted him. Eventually he found out about the hidden memories and was caught trying to find them. I believe he was the one responsible for planning the murder of my father." Suddenly the lights came on. The carousel began to spin slowly, playing a slower, worn-out version of "Pop Goes the Weasel". They got off as soon as it started moving.
"Now why do you say that?" cried Beck laughingly from the platform of the Ferris wheel. The lights were on and the wheel was rotating, making strong squeaky noises. It didn't look like it would be stable for very long.
Rose went very still. She grabbed Roger's hand.
"Run!" she cried. She pulled him and ran as fast as she could. Roger ran along, struggling not to stumble. Just then, the carousel exploded in a giant ball of orange flame. It was so loud their ears were ringing. They almost didn't hear Beck laughing. He was taunting them, showing off the black book. He ran inside the House of Mirrors, followed by the thief and negotiator.
As they ran inside, they stopped. They had to make sure that they spotted Beck and not get shot. His laugh echoed through the House. Rose saw him. She aimed for his arm. Bang! and the glass broke.
"Dammit!" she cried. He laughed harder. They saw hundreds of him!
"There!" called out Roger, and she shot point blank. She got him! His smile was wiped off with the cry of pain. He started to run, and the couple ran after him. They heard a rumbling sound.
"What the hell is that?" Rose asked loudly. As they got to the exit, they saw that a golden Megadeus, similar to the one Big O fought almost a month before, had appeared out of the abyss.
"You are both foolish!" called Beck from the cockpit. "You cannot stop me and my Golden M! These memories are mine for the taking!" Rose looked up in fear. She looked at Roger, and he at Rose. And Roger thought: Do I really have a choice?
Roger pulled his sleeve, exposing his watch.
"Big O, showtime!"
"What are you doing!? This is no time to play games."
"I'll explain later. Right now we have to get to safety." The Megadeus attempted to step on the two, but they got out of the way just in time. It fired a missile into one of the old food stands, barely missing them. Rose tried shooting up at it.
"It won't work! We got to keep going!" Just then, Big O popped up from the ground behind the Ferris wheel.
"You-" she pointed at Roger, "it's your Megadeus. You saved me that day."
"Yeah I did. Now go! Go somewhere safe, away from here." She looked at him with wide, green, glowing eyes. He pushed her, forcing her to fall on the ground.
"Go, dammit, go!" After one more glance, she ran off to the direction of the entrance.
Roger proceeded to enter Big O. As he got to the cockpit, he sat in the chair and got the controls ready. The screen displayed the message:
CAST IN THE NAME OF GOD, YE NOT GUILTY
"Big O," Roger cried, "action!" Big O swung his right fist to hit the Golden M, but missed. It then uncovered the metal armor of its arms, showing off its missiles. The Golden M shot them, but Big O blocked them. The golden Megadeus went down on one knee, then hit the ground with its right fist, causing it to tremble and Big O to stumble back, bumping into the Ferris wheel. The Golden M stood up once more, then held up its left hand, which turned into a blade with electrical energy, guaranteed to short-circuit the other Megadeus. It headed straight for Big O, but suddenly the electricity stopped.
"Huh?" Beck was left in confusion. He heard loud ticks all of a sudden. Then the arm of the Megadeus became straight, then went down to its side.
"What is wrong with you, you stupid thing?" Beck tried to manipulate the controls. Finding that he couldn't get its controls to work, he started banging on them. "Why-won't-you-work?" Through the window of the cockpit he noticed Rose on the ground, gun aimed at the Golden M. She ruined my weapon?
Big O did not take the opportunity for granted. He balled his hands into fists and placed them on the Golden M's chest, firing the hidden missiles. Beck could do nothing but scream as the Megadeus fell in the darkness to its grave of concrete and dust.
Woosie, thought Roger.
Seeing that his job was done, Roger got out of the cockpit and out of Big O. He put his hands in his pockets and started walking. As he fought the urge not to yawn, he heard his watch sound.
"What is it Norman?"
"Master Roger, where are you? Dorothy awoke me telling me you left. It's a miracle you woke up this early in the morning."
"Cut the crap, Norman. It's too early."
"Are you sure that everything's all right?"
"Yes, Norman, everything's all right."
"Roger!" He looked up from his watch. Rose was running to him.
"Rose, what the-"
"Get down!!!" In front of him he saw Beck, once again bloodied, but with a gun in hand, aiming for him. Rose pushed him as Beck started shooting, letting him fall to the ground, unhurt. She cried out, falling to the ground herself. She grabbed the side of her stomach and curled into a fetal position. Roger saw something dark soaking her body-clinging suit.
Beck started to laugh, and kept on laughing. Tears were streaming down from his eyes. He held up the black book in his hand.
"I got it! I got it! And it's all mine, beautiful! It's even better now that you'll be outta my way!" He continued to laugh. Then he heard a sound, rusting metal rub together. He turned around and saw the Ferris wheel falling, heading towards him. He stood there, he couldn't move. It fell right on him, or at least it almost did. He was trapped, lying under the rusting bars. He breathed such a sigh of relief that he closed his eyes and fell unconscious.
Meanwhile Roger had crawled up to Rose, checking to see what was wrong. She was bleeding from the side of her stomach. He took off his jacket and placed it on the wound.
"You saved me," he told her.
Through her pain, she replied with "I needed to return the favor." He lowered his head and gently gave her a chaste kiss.
"What was that for?" she asked.
"I'm afraid that I won't ever get the chance." There was a mixture of the unique scent Rose had, and the sounds of the military police heading their way.
"Roger, before I go," she winced at the pain before she spoke, "I need to say something. I'm not from here."
"They," she struggled not to cry out in pain, "lied to you." He looked confused. "I came from another place...outside of Paradigm." The negotiator was at a loss for words. He listened intently for what she had to say next.
"There is a place that exists aside from the domes, Roger. I am the last survivor of that land. I failed to find out why, but please understand this. Some know of it and they," the pain became stronger, causing the light-blue tears to fall, "lied to you, to everyone."
"Who? Who lied?" Just then, the officers came in, but Roger didn't care, he could only look at the dying Rose. They shooed him out of the way, trying to see what was wrong with her. Dastun came up to him.
"Roger, what the hell happened here?" He couldn't respond. He was busy looking at the crowd. An ambulance then came and put the girl on a stretcher. He ran up to her and saw that the paramedics had put the oxygen mask over her mouth. She was falling into unconsciousness as well. He stood there as the ambulance drove away.
He thought of something: the book! He had seen the paramedics put Beck on a stretcher too (they would take him to prison later), but he noticed that there was nothing in his hands. Did the military police find the book? He walked up to where Beck had been lying, but there was no book. He didn't want to mention anything to anybody, just in case they didn't find anything. He started to walk off, then stepped on something. He lifted his shoe, and there was the book! He made sure no one was looking, then picked up the book and walked away.
Meanwhile in the ambulance, Rose thought Papa, I succeeded. I let someone know the truth. But I failed to know why. Forgive me. The darkness then enveloped her. The roses in her small secret garden had quickly wilted and died along with her.
* * *
Roger felt something rubbing his arm. He awoke thinking: It was all a dream. Thank heaven it was all a dream. He turned over and saw Rose, sitting on top of his bed, on his sheets. She was smiling, her green eyes glowing even more. Her wound was gone, but so was her scent.
"Thank you so much Roger," she whispered, "for everything." She kissed him.
Roger opened his eyes. He was still lying in bed in his pajamas, breathing heavily. His room was empty. He sat up and felt the throbbing headache. Then it all came back to him. He found out Rose had died of blood loss. He didn't take the news very well, so he went out drinking. The last thing he remembered was a very disfigured Dorothy. Then he remembered Rose, and what she had said. It all makes sense. It explains the eyes, the tears.
He took the black book out of the drawer, with his other hand on his forehead. He took a good long look at it. He didn't want to look through it, afraid of what he might find out. He decided to burn the book in the fireplace just outside, where the piano stood. People will not be ruled by these memories. They won't take advantage of them anymore.
At the same moment, Dorothy had walked up to the piano. She thought of something then. She walked up to the windowsill and took out the yellow rose. It had begun to blossom. She placed the vase on top of the piano. As she sat down, she tried to think of what to play. She didn't want to upset Roger even more, especially after what he had been through. Suddenly a song popped up: Claire de Lune. The notes quickly passed through her system. She began to play the soft, beautiful tune.
Roger heard, confused. Is that Dorothy? He walked up to the door and carefully opened it, leaving only a crack to see. The music went through his ears and stayed there. He opened the door all the way.
"I know you had a rough night Roger. I didn't want to upset you," explained Dorothy without looking up from the black-and-white keys. That made him smile. Again, he heard that tinge of concern in her voice. She was sounding more and more human everyday.
"Thank you, Dorothy." He walked up to the fireplace, which was lit, and threw the book into the roaring fire. He then walked up behind her and watched her play.
"Dorothy, where did you get that rose?" Dorothy stopped playing. She stayed silent, staring at the keys.
"Rose told me to give it to you. She said to thank you for the other night."
"Oh." His face went solemn. Dorothy continued to play. He stopped her by holding her hand.
"Dorothy, I like what you're playing. Start it again, from the beginning." She kept quiet. "Please Dorothy."
Maybe it was the please, Roger wasn't sure. But Dorothy started to play again, all the way from the beginning. He stayed and watched, standing behind her.
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