Rose waited her turn. She was past the point of fearing death.
She’d seen so many around her die already. Horribly gruesome death after death. And it was always the same way. Cut completely in half and the top half taken away to God knows where for God knows what purpose.
Rose wondered if their mutilated remains were being displayed somewhere in order to serve as a warning to others. Rose wondered what that warning could possibly be seeing as none of the decent lives around her seemed to be taken for any reason. Nothing was said to them and they had done nothing differently today than they had their whole lives, yet here they were being massacred one by one.
The only thing that she was sure of is that it was all very unfair. Nothing had been done to deserve this.
As she thought this, the executioner stood before their group. He looked them over for a good while first. He stared and analyzed them quietly, even gently caressing a few of them. He didn’t touch Rose and she was glad he didn’t. The whole process seemed to make it all that much more cruel.
Then, silently and suddenly, he began to take them. He started behind Rose as she stayed perfectly still. When he’d cut about a dozen of them in half, he took them away, always the top half to do what ever it was he did with them and the rest of the group was left to wonder how long they had before it was their turn.
This was the time that bothered Rose the most. It was the minutes that dragged on for hours as she hoped that the madness would end. She prayed that the man would not return to take any more lives.
But, inevitably, he always did. She had already witnessed the other groups, all around her, just like hers decimated. Family members separated from one another at first, only to be reunited eventually in whatever macabre display was being made of them all. And just as she hoped that enough lives had been lost, they would come back for more.
At this point, she reasoned he would not be satisfied until he took them all. Not until he had carried away every single one of them would he stop. Rose merely waited her turn.
When he returned this time, he worked quickly. There was no more inspection, no perusal. He worked coldly and methodically, slicing his way through the crowd. Those on either side of her were cut down with a swoosh and Rose tried not to notice as the fluids oozed out from where their upper halves used to be.
And before she knew it, her time came. The steel blade descended upon her faster than it had appeared to with the other. Just as she began to welcome the end and the sweet relief, the end of the fear, that it would bring it was over, and Rose saw only darkness.
Rose was sent off with eleven others from her group. They were delivered in a glass vase the next morning and a heavy-set woman in her fifties smiled widely at them on her doorstep. It was a smile that Rose never saw. Rose was the last to be cut down and in what came to be known amongst her kind as the Valentine’s Day Massacre.