I just couldn’t believe it. It was her. The woman of my dreams was standing just ten feet away at the copy machine, staring at me. Me, of all people. Her hair was red and her eyes were blue. She was the true mock-up of an angel if there ever were one. She had never noticed me before, yet here I was minding my own business, and now she was staring at me. Some may have called her stare a disturbed and angry one, but I could tell she felt the same way about me as I did for her. Sure, I may have been staring at her first, and that may be what caught her attention, but I could see the yearning in her eyes. She wanted me.

For months I had watched her from the safety of my small, but quaint cubical. I knew every detail about her life - every single one. I knew when she had lunch, who her friends were, who she talked to, who she liked and disliked, and where she would be at any given moment of the work day. I even knew where she and her husband lived, as she and I both took the same bus to work. I didn’t own a vehicle, and her husband took their car to his place of employment every morning. Even on the long bus ride to work she never so much as batted an eye in my direction, but today was different. This was my chance.

I smiled at her as she made a somewhat perturbed facial expression towards me. She then looked away in a seemingly disgusted motion. Love is a strange mistress. My mind was now racing with an unending plethora of emotions, coupled with large quantities of dopamine. My synapses were firing off at an alarming rate as I stood up and started walking to the copy machine. I felt such a strong need to reach out and touch her. Just before I took my final step in her direction, my boss came over and pulled her aside to discuss some work-related issues. My march was impeded, but the ever-growing desire in me remained constant. I needed to see her.

Although we went to work at the same time, she always left an hour before I did, just in time to catch the last bus. I would usually have a co-worker bring me home. Sometimes in the summer I would even travel by bicycle. Right now, however, it was the middle of winter, and there was a storm coming tonight - a very big one. I would have to find a ride to my house.

By the time I finally punched out, my emotions were haywire with a reckless sense of longing. I truly had to see her again. She was waiting for me; I could just feel it in each and every one of my eager bones. I had to see her now.

I didn’t even bother to ask anyone for a ride home. I just walked out of the building and started heading towards her house. I knew the route by heart. I didn’t have a jacket or a hat, but I was warm. It must have been love. What else could it have been? Surely it wasn’t my button-up, short-sleeved shirt or my tie. I know it wasn’t my khaki pants. It must have been love. I had a warm sweater of love to keep me safe from the bitter, cold air of winter. I was not only warm, but elated at the same time. I was going to march all the way to her house so we could finally be together. My plan was perfect, much as she was.

I guessed that it would take me three hours to get to her house, as she lived roughly ten and a half miles from work. With this in mind, I made long and firm strides in the hopes of minimizing the amount of time it would take me to reach her. While walking down main street in this fashion, I noticed a lot of the shops closing up for the night due to the approaching blizzard. One of these shops was the local florist. An idea sprang into my aroused mind. I couldn’t show up at her house empty handed. That just wouldn’t be right. I needed a gift - one that would profess my love for her in material form. I needed a rose.

I pushed the door open just as the florist was about to lock up. I startled the hell out of her. I grabbed the nearest rose I could find, threw some money down onto the counter, and left in a haste. I had a mission, after all.

I started power walking towards her house once again, hoping I would beat the storm there. Before making it too far, I felt a sharp pain in my hand. I looked down and saw droplets of blood spattered across the ground. It was the rose. I must have grabbed an uncut one, thorns and all. My palm was now bleeding profusely, but I kept walking. It was merely a wound garnered while attending to affairs of the heart. I was focused on the bigger picture.

I trudged through harsh winds, my pace never wavering. I could tell the storm was coming. I was now maybe a quarter of the way there. It was then that I felt snow. It began falling at a swift and steady rate, making it almost impossible to see in front of me. Still, I pressed on. My love for this woman was insatiable and desirous. I needed her. I absolutely needed her.

I walked and walked, feeling the sting of the snow on my bare face. After an hour or so, I noticed a mark on my arm. It was beginning to turn black. This was the onset of frostbite, I guessed. This in now way slowed me down. I still had my sweater of love keeping me warm, every step of the way. I neither felt the chill in my arm, nor did I care about the risk to my health. I had made up my mind, and it could not be altered; not by a human or by the frozen forces of mother nature herself.

My arm became blacker and blacker as I walked. My other arm started becoming discolored too. I could only assume my face was as well. This did not bother me in the slightest. I only cared about the task at hand. As the gusts of wind turned harsher, I clenched the rose harder with my now gray hand. I was determined - more so than I had ever been.

After another long and treacherous hour, I finally arrived at her street. This was it. My love would finally be reciprocated. I could hardly contain my excitement as I made my way over to her house. Luckily, her husband wasn’t home yet. The lawn was covered in snow, but I could still see the stone walkway leading the way to the front door. I took a step onto it, but quickly fell to the ground, slipping on a sheet of ice. I landed on my arm. I didn’t feel anything, but I’m sure that I broke it, as I couldn’t move it one bit. I stood up and kept walking, calling out to her as I did. I hoped that she would hear my shrieks and come running out to see me. Just then, the front door to her house opened, and she walked out, proving my cries to be effective.

She said nothing. She simply looked at me with the most frightened look I had ever seen. She raised her hand over her mouth in shock of what she was witnessing. I reached up and presented her the rose. My voice was tired from yelling her name, but I managed to offer her a couple of words.

“…For you…”

She stared at me for a second just as she did earlier at work. Those eyes of disgust. That look of confusion. It was now turning into sheer terror. Love truly is a strange mistress. Before I could speak again, she began to scream. She screamed so loudly in fact that I felt a sharp pain in my ears. This was the first time I had felt any pain at all during the long and arduous day. The second pain I would feel would be in my heart. I could tell that she was terrified of me. I may have looked odd and disfigured, but my love for her remained intact. Why couldn’t she see this? Why was she doing this to me? How could she?

Rage began to overcome my emotions. I couldn’t handle the unrequited mess that had just been thrown directly in front of me. I could now feel the bitter coldness of the storm. I was now aware of my frostbitten skin as well. The immense amount of emotional and physical pain I felt at this moment caused me to lash out at my one true love. Using my good arm, I took the rose, thorns and all, and started beating her with it. I slashed open every inch of beautiful skin that I could see. As the blood dripped from her defenseless body, she screamed once again. I kept slashing at her skin, over and over again, but she wouldn’t stop. The sound of her voice pierced through the cold night as well as my ears. With one last swipe, I sliced open her throat with the rose. She finally stopped.

Her lifeless body fell to the snowy ground. I laid down with her, trying to provide her with some warmth.

She looked so faultless; so attractive. Her beauty was staggering, even after death. I smiled, happy that she was no longer screaming - happy that I had provided her with inner peace. She could now rest. We both could. I placed the bloody rose in between us, and let our bodies envelop it. I looked at her eyes once more before closing mine. Maybe now we could finally be together.

Written by Christopher Maxim