The Devil’s RoseYou would never take a rose from a beast. If his callous hand were to hold out a scarlet flower, his grip unaffected by pricking thorns, you would shrink from the gift and refuse it. I know that is what you would do. But the cunning beast will have his beauty. He hunts not in hopeless pursuit, for fear would have you sprint all the day long. Thus, he turns toward the shadows and clutches the rosebud, crunching and twisting until every delicate petal is detached. One falls not far from your feet, and you notice the red spot in the snow. The color sparkles in the sunlight, catching your curious eye. No beast stands in sight; there is nothing to fear, so you dare retrieve the lone petal. The touch of temptation is velvet against your thumb. It carries a scent you bring to your nose, and both eyes close to float on a cloud of perfume. As your lashes lift, another scarlet drop stains the snow at a near distance. A glance around perceives no danger, and so your footprints scar the snowflakes to retrieve another rosy leaflet as soft and sweet as the first. Your eyes shine with flecks of golden greed at the discovery of more discarded petals, and you blame the wind for scattering them mere footprints apart. All you want is a few, so you step and snatch, step and snatch, step and snatch. Soon, there is enough velvet to rub against your cheek like a silken kerchief. Your collection of one-plus-one-more reeks of floral essence. Distracted, you jump at the sight of the beast in your path. He stands before his lair, grinning without love. His callous hands grip at thorns on a single naked stem, and you look down at your own hands that now cup his rose. But how can it be? You would never take a rose from a beast. You would shrink from the gift and refuse it. He knows that is what you would do.