The Rose Garden

The Rose Garden

A Story by terry smith


by Terry Smith

It was seven AM and just like every other morning William Wheatly was heading out to get his mail. He did this every morning like clockwork and it didn't matter how many pieces of mail there were he would only take it out in quantities of seven. Mr. Wheatly was obsessed with the number seven. He lived in the seventh house on seventh street in house number 124.There are seven shrubs on his property and his house has seven rooms with a window in each. He has seven phonograph records next to a record player and would let the phone ring seven times before he answered it. In his closet there were matching sets of suit jackets, shirts and pants, in a quantity of, you guessed it, seven.

William had been born on the seventh of July and when he turned seven some twenty odd years ago he had gotten what till this day he considered to be the greatest gift of his life, a brand new cherry red seven speed bicycle. The bike still hangs on a wall in his garage.

It was when William reached his mailbox that he noticed something odd. His neighbor, Annie, who he usually had a short but pleasant conversation with every morning, was laying on the ground covered in what appeared to be many roses like she was a people pot for flowers. William knew that was not the case and as he approached he realized their were only seven roses the rest being blood spots camouflaged as roses, like a surreal rose garden painted by death. It was then that William called the Police.

Annie O'Connell was not quite five feet tall, ninety five pounds soaking wet with brown hair and hazel eyes. She was twenty six years old and lived at one twenty five seventh street. She had been married for a brief time when she was barely eighteen to a man who would join the marines to fight in the war. One day he was a Sargent and the next he was a ghost. It was as a ghost that he had come home to her and it was as a ghost that he kept her company and kept potential suitors away.

That was before Peter as he never seemed to pay any mind to the ghost and soon with Peter around neither did Annie, until one day the ghost moved on as ghosts do in these situations, leaving Peter and Annie as a couple.

Not two minutes later as William was waiting for the police, a car drove up. It was Peter. Peter Butler had been seeing Annie for some time now and was there to pick her up to go to breakfast. William did not think breakfast was on the menu this morning and solemnly asked Peter to get out of his car. Confused as to why William was standing in his girlfriends yard and also why there was a patch of roses in the yard where their had never been one before when he realized much as William had that this was not a rose garden but a murder scene.

Peter had met Annie for the first time when he had to deliver flowers to a building with a room

where her grandfather was taking a nap in a brand new suit in a rosewood casket while people cried and told stories of what a good milk man he had been and how he was a stickler about being on time.

Peters car had stalled in the driveway right in front of the hearse and now the man would have to wait to be buried. Everyone agreed that he would not have liked that. Once Peter had gotten his car started he offered Annie a ride for which she was quite grateful seeing as she didn't have a ride and it would be a long walk to the cemetery. It was then that Peter promised her that he would never be late to anything again and he was as good as his word.

Just as Peter started to cry out of nowhere came Peg. Peggy McEntire worked in the gardening section of the local hardware store which was across the street from the flower shop. She would visit Peter there often to buy flowers and to daydream. She also happened to live next door to William. When she saw the tears start falling from Peters face Peg raced up to him giving him the biggest unwanted hug William had ever seen, like a dog lover hugging a cat. It was then with the three of them standing there that the sheriff arrived.

Sheriff John Murphy had been the sheriff of this town for over twenty years and small towns being as they are everyone knew the sheriff and the sheriff knew everyone. He asked that they all take a seat on the porch while he examined the crime scene

The first thing the sheriff noticed was that Annie was dead. There were seven blood spots from seven stab wounds that made her white sundress look like a rose garden. The second thing he noticed was that there was a bouquet of seven roses next to the body like she had just finished first in the Mrs. Dead Pageant. Then the sheriff notice her watch, which was broken and stopped he presumed at the time of the murder. The watch read seven minutes past seven. He also noticed something else which he kept to himself, and so shall I, for now.

When he finished as promised he came to the porch to ask just what it was that everyone knew, and since he had been the one to find the body the sheriff decided to start with William.

William explained how he came out at exactly seven o'clock to get his mail as he did every morning when he noticed something odd across the street. Most mornings Annie would also be out getting her mail but instead this morning seemed to be auditioning for the part of a small rose garden and this confused William so he walked over to get a closer look. It was then that he realized she was dead.

Now everyone in town knew about William and his obsession with sevens and the fact that their were seven roses and seven stab wounds to some would make him look rather suspicious. “ Did you say you came out to check your mail at exactly seven this morning and not a few minutes later?” the sheriff asked, “Yes seven o'clock on the nose as always.” was Williams reply.

Next the sheriff decided to find out what it was that Peter knew. Peter was a very handsome and charismatic young man who worked at the flower shop and sold more roses than Mr. Ford had sold motor cars. He was relatively knew to the area and was a big hit with the ladies. Peter had been dating Annie for a little while now and this morning he had come to take her to breakfast when he saw William in Annie's yard.

Lastly the sheriff sat down next to Peg and asked her how she happened to be at the crime scene that morning. “ I was just out for a morning stroll when I saw Peter in Annie's yard crying and I wanted to console him.” That was all Peg had to say about that.

The next day a large group of people gathered in the town square angrily debating over who the murderer was. “What about all the sevens!” a woman shouted speaking the mind of every woman in the square that morning as they all were in love with Peter and wouldn't believe that he was capable of such a thing.

One man was heard to say that nothing we knew about Annie added up to seven and that it was all just so much nonsense. Another man yelled out “What about the roses !” It was something all the men were in agreement upon as they just wanted the love of their womenfolk back.. Just then someone shouted out “The butler did it!” which caught on like the plague till a large crowd was chanting “ The butler did it!!The butler did it!!” It was then that the sheriff who had come to calm down the situation exclaimed “ When I saw the bouquet of seven roses, I knew exactly who had murdered Mrs. O'Connell.”

Later that evening Sheriff John Murphy drove up to house 126, got out of his car walked up to the door and knocked. When Peg answered the door the sheriff announced that she was under arrest for the murder of Annie O'Connell. Not surprised Peg asked how he had known.

Before he was a sheriff and just a little boy John lived on a farm with his grandparents. Every summer it was his job to kill the weeds that grew around the fence that marked their property. John would go down to the hardware store and buy some weedkiller which had worked very well till one warm summer day had turned into a furnace and the fumes had made John feel weird and a little light headed and now he just wanted to get the job over with. He didn't even notice, until it was too late that he had mistakenly sprayed his grandmothers prize rosebush. John did everything he could to save them but it was of no use. Before the petals had fallen off the stems had turned an ashen white, the same ashen white he had seen on the roses at the crime scene. There, now I told you. “That my dear Ms. McEntire is how I knew”. “The only thing I don't know as of yet is why.”

Over the next several weeks of investigation this is what the sheriff discovered. First, in the trash just outside of her house he found five red roses,along with the bloody clothes that Peg must have been wearing at the time of the attack. He also found the pruning sheers that were used to make Annie's pleasant summer day come to an abrupt end.

In the house he found a book about arson and a pile of unpaid bills. In the closet in her bedroom the sheriff found hundreds of pictures of Peter along with a small fortune in surveillance equipment. It was a crime of passion, thought the sheriff and he was partially right but there was more to it. After spending some time in prison Peg had told her cellmate the whole story, and this is how it goes.

In the alternate psychotic reality where Peg lived, Peter and her were in love and going to get married, that is until Annie came along, so she needed to go. Next she would need a fall guy and she had always loved Williams house and knew she would be able to get it for a song if he went away for murder as no-one wanted to live in the house of a murderer. This also would take care of her financial problems as she would set fire to her house and claim the insurance money, certainly enough to wipe her dept clean and buy her a nice little house next door to live in with Peter who would surely come back to her now that Annie was dead.

Her plan was to poison Annie by having the thorns that were covered in pesticides break Annie's skin causing it to enter her blood stream. When this didn't happen Peggy went a little insane and jumped out of the bushes she had been hiding behind and stabbed her with the pruning sheers.

She decided seven was a good number of stab wounds to implicate William and she set Annie's watch to seven minutes after seven just for good measure.

The End

© 2019 terry smith

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I found this enthralling
I had to read to the end

Posted 3 Years Ago

2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

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Added on March 6, 2019
Last Updated on March 6, 2019


terry smith
terry smith

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