“A Garden of Souls” by Alex Alvarado

by E.V. Jacob on October 26, 2013

Tonight, get a little unsettled with a spooky story from Alex Alvarado!  You can follow him on Twitter at @alexalvar7!


The  Mexican restaurant was only a block away from the clinic. Norma never cared much for Mexican food but loved the margaritas they served and they were a sure-fire way to kill the tension from a long mundane week of filing medical records and setting doctor’s appointments. It was a position that was constantly being abandoned until Norma took the job for good.

Her co-worker, Elyse, sat across from her at a table and noticed Norma had been unusually quiet for someone who was usually very talkative and excited on a Friday afternoon happy hour. The silence started when the girl holding a basket full of roses walked into the place.

“Are you alright?” Elysa asked. “You’ve been kind of quiet lately.”

Norma motioned with her head toward the girl. “See that girl? She is pure evil.”

Elyse glanced at the girl and turned back to Norma. “She’s just a child.”

“Sure,” Norma said with a tone of sarcasm. “You see what she’s carrying, don’t you?”

Elyse shrugged. “Yes. It’s a basket filled with roses she’s trying to sell. What’s wrong with that?”

“Black roses,” Norma pointed out.

Elyse laughed and raised a hand. “Okay, obviously someone has had a few too many because those roses are clearly red.”

“Sure they’re red now, but once you buy one it turns black and then all hell breaks loose.”

“How do you know they turn black? Have you ever bought one before?”

Norma shook her head after taking a sip. “Saw a neighbor of mine here not too long ago. She bought one from her and then left the place after taking her order to go.”


“You remember that fire that happened near my house the other week?”

“Wait,” Elyse scrunched her face in disbelief. “Your not suggesting that the fire had anything to do with the rose, do you?”

“My husband knew Bill, the fireman who responded to the fire, and he heard that everything was pretty much blown to ashes – all but a little black rose in perfect condition.”

“That can’t be,” Elyse said.

“It’s the truth,” Norma said flatly. “And you want to know what happened to Bill a day later?”


“He was found dead in his truck that was parked on his driveway . They said it was a heart attack. He was only twenty-eight years old.”

“Heart attacks happen to young people too,” Elysa pointed out.

“A black rose was found on his dashboard.”

“C’mon,” Elyse waved away. “That had to have been some made up story.”

“I’m telling you it happened!” Norma stammered.

Elyse looked around the place and noticed a few of the patrons looking their direction. She leaned forward and said in a low tone, “Alright, calm down! I’m just saying it sounds a bit crazy.”

Norma took another sip and then breathed in deeply. She looked at Elyse with and relented. “I’m sorry. I guess I‘ve been a little on the edge with all these weird happenings and people dying everywhere.”

“I‘m sure they are all just coincidences,” Elyse assured. “You’ve been working too hard and probably just need to take a break from all the stress and just find some relaxation time.”

Norma smiled. It was the first smile Elyse had seen since they left the office. “Maybe you‘re right,” she said.

The waitress came around later with Elyse’s chicken enchiladas plate and Norma’s third margarita. They moved on to other things to talk about and the subject about the black rose was long forgotten. Elyse later became surprised when she looked at the time on her smartphone.

“Wow, it’s almost nine,” Elyse said and rose from the chair. “Guess I better get moving. I got get an early start tomorrow morning for the swap meet. Are you gonna be okay to drive?”

Norma nodded. “I’ll be fine here. Thanks”


Elyse was barely dipping a toe into the warm suds of her bathtub when a knock on the door came. She quickly dressed, answered the door and found Norma standing there with wide panic-stricken eyes.

“What’s wrong?” Elyse asked.

Norma raised her left hand, the one holding the black rose. “I found this on the driver’s seat of my car! I’m cursed now! What am I gonna do now?”

“Shhh…okay, calm down,” Elyse said and ushered Norma into her house.

They settled on the living room sofa. Norma trembled uncontrollably as she stared at the black rose now on the coffee table. She looked at Elyse and said, “Would you mind if I stayed here for the night? I don’t want to be alone.”

“Of course you can stay the night,” Elyse said with a wide grin. “Just try to relax. Want me to make you some tea?”

Norma gave a tight smile. “Sure.”

The herbal tea had helped calm Norma’s nerves, and she was now lying on the sofa, letting her senses relax and take her into sleep mode when she heard the sound of a little girl giggling.

“Elyse?” Norma called out.

Moments later, light footsteps were heard and Elyse appeared. “Yes?”

“I heard something.”

“Oh?” Elyse walked further, toward Norma. “What did you hear?”

Norma rubbed at her shoulders and looked around. “Why is it so cold in here all of a sudden?”

Elyse sighed and sat down beside Norma. “I’m sorry. I guess I should have told you about Regina earlier. I just didn‘t know how.”

“Who’s Regina?

“Regina is my only child and it appears that you have something she wants.”

“I don’t understand,” Norma said just before cold tiny hands pressed on her shoulders. Norma screamed, barely able to make out the pale face of the girl behind her before her body shriveled into a heap of ashes.

Regina came around the sofa, handed the rose to her mother and said, “I think she made a good print.”

Satisfied with the rose’s swirling multi-color pattern, Elyse grinned. “Good. I hate it when they turn black, not very good for the garden.”

  • T.C. McVay

    I loved this one. Great job.

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