The golden wing-shaped doors opened revealing an expansive indoor garden. Flowers of all shapes and colors bloomed like a rainbow. A crystal waterfall twinkled off to the right. Delicate glass angels decorated the greenery. Juicy red apples taunted Master Rufio as he walked past. Pine trees covered in pure snow made him suppress a shiver. But most magnificent were the roses. Rows and rows of them smelled delightfully like her. He greedily inhaled the scent until he got light headed.

A servant dressed impeccably cleared his throat. “It’s perfect.” Master Rufio declared. The servant’s face remained solemn as he beckoned Master Rufio through the roses.

As they passed, Master Rufio thought the roses began to fade, but he shook the feeling off. His garden was perfect and everything in it would be preserved, frozen in its perfection, immortalized. But as they got closer and closer to her, the roses not only faded but were losing petals. And the last row of roses were shriveled and dead.

Master Rufio took the last few steps up to the glass capsule that held her. Inside it, his love was perfect. She was youthful with smooth skin and lush dark hair. He followed her defined cheek bones and traced her full red lips. Her beauty brought tears to his eyes. He longed to hold her, but he knew that he couldn’t. Everything he touched, he destroyed.

Master Rufio made to turn away when something caught his eye. Two tiny wrinkles creased her forehead. He squinted hard believing it to be a trick of the light. Desperately he wiped the glass hoping it was just a crack. But the wrinkle stayed.

The servant appeared at Master Rufio’s side. “You can’t keep her forever.”

Icy fear forced the breath from Master Rufio’s lungs. He inhaled knives. The smell of the roses tickled his nose, taunting him. Hunched over the glass her clung to the capsule. And before his eyes her wrinkles spread.

Her skin withered deforming her features. Silver snaked through her hair. Her eyelids sunk into her sockets. All her color faded away. What was left was a wrinkled old prune.

“No!” The cry ripped from Master Rufio followed by tortured agonizing screams. The servant stood frozen, trying not to hear. But he couldn’t avoid the gaping wound that burned Master Rufio’s chest revealing a bloody beating eye sore, Master Rufio’s heart.


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