Reddit – Dive into anything – Short Horror Story

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I wandered from the hospital dazed and dreary and in dire need of sleep. I came across a young girl as I walked along the sidewalk toward the parking lot; she was small but her eyes seemed wise, and she sat behind a vendor’s booth. I assumed she was selling the flowers on her table, though there were but two bouquets left. One, three long-stemmed roses, was held by a tall and slender crystal vase, and the other was a flourish of daisies stuffed haphazardly into a squatty ceramic pot.

. . . familiar . . .

I knew which one I wanted.

“I’ll take the daisies,” I said, remembering.

She shook her head, said with concern and rhythm, “They aren’t for sale.” Confused, I started to question, but she went on. “You can have the roses.”

I didn’t have the will to fight, so I reached in my wallet. Roses would do.

“How much?”

She shook her head slowly. “You can’t buy them.”

That seemed silly, so I summoned the strength to inquire, but the world faded . . .

When I came to I was lying in a hospital bed, tubes in either arm, a pounding in my head, a weight on my chest, and the roses resting on a table by the window. As my vision cleared, I spied the little girl sitting on the far side of the room, the shabby bouquet of daisies in her lap. She was watching me with conviction.

. . . Gloria . . . why are you here? Why am I . . .

She began to speak, I thought, but my eyelids were too heavy . . .

I found myself in a fevered dream beset with hellscapes, fingerlike clouds of hungry poison rising from pools of boiling sulfur, and ghastly demons riding decaying horses. Just before one of the bastard souls clasped its bony fingers around my arm, I woke to the dim light of a new day, a ragged wail tearing itself from my lungs. I was in my own bed, in my own room, in my own house . . . but I knew that this time, I was alone.

Why aren’t you here? I felt the words out loud. Why did you leave? I could feel her eyes piercing through me. My sweet Gloria . . . you know I tried, don’t you? You know I tried . . . and your daisies, the ones you planted in the backyard . . . I think they’re better . . .

The three roses sat on my nightstand in their flawless crystal vase, deep red and unrelenting, and across the room sat my sweet little girl . . . my Gloria . . . holding the pot of flowers I couldn’t buy . . .

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