Roses are Red, You are Dead

Thando Bhebhe / Lead Infinitum Writer

What is morality, where do you draw the line and who’s stopping you from crossing it? I like to think that we all have a code, a nice little list of dos and don’ts, a little voice in the back of our heads that stops us from crossing over to the other side, to that realm where predators and prey roam, that land of lawless men, that ether of absolute freedom. Yes, freedom. 

At least that’s how you saw it, right? 

You were free, wandering aimlessly with not a single inhibition in sight. A racing lion sprinting across the savannah, all that mattered was the real world. The burning sun, the gloomy skies, the puddled streets, the golden grasslands. At the branch’s break, your mouth watered, nature’s gifts teeming in sight, waiting for you, begging you to take them!  

The rain poured, a blink fluttering, the drop splashing, black on green glaring in melting aqua. Your eye twitched, the sun’s stare searing your sight. Pink tongue hung, saliva dripping, muscles tensing, claws clenching, black on white, bull’s-eye. 

Oblivious prey, a single turn, in your eyes she lay. A smile, yours, hers, action! 

The red sand stormed at your break, the puddled streets splashing at your feet. Black and white stripes, earth shattering, survival clattering in flee. If only she was so lucky. In the jungle, things are much clearer, you’re either safe or inches from death, there is no middle ground.  

She roamed a different jungle whose trees shot to the sky, piercing heaven in their concrete glee. In this wilderness, the wolves roamed among the sheep, unknown, until it was too late. 

“I knew it was you.” 

“Oh, look at that, you got me.” 

A leap, a clutch, a sigh, a cry. She shoved you, playfully. 

“So, have you been stalking me now…….?” 

A smile slipped, a grin grinding red flesh. 

“And if I was?” 

“Then I’d ask why.” 

“Have you looked in the mirror lately?” 

“Oh, stop it.”  

In her laugh, another shove, playful. Blood dripped, black and white torn to shreds, the lion had killed its prey. 

“Well, since you’ve caught me, it’s time I come clean.” 

“This should be good.” 

“You think so, it seems you already know where this is going.” 

“Yes, and the answer’s yes.” 

In her laugh, another shove, playful. Blood scented, black on green, right in place. Your prey’s life hung on a thread, and you’d usurped the fates. 

What does it take to make someone fall in love with you? Is it sweet words, lingering eyes, tempting touches or an honest heart? Maybe it’s spotting a glimmering speck in a golden desert, a spotlight in a black auditorium. Whatever it was, you’d mastered it, turning it into a game, a sport, a blood sport. 

“So, where are you taking me?” 

“To be quite honest, I hadn’t thought this far.” 


“Seriously, this was a suicide mission.” 

“Oh please, I don’t believe you Romeo.” 

“So that should make you Juliet.” 

“I already said yes!” 

“Fine, fine, just making sure I didn’t dream it up.” 

“Oh, stop it, you’re such a flirt.” 

Another shove. Playful. 

“I got it, how about I take sweet Juliet to my castle?” 

Oblivious prey, another turn, in your eyes she lay. A smile, yours, hers, action! 

Many haven’t mastered love, for the rest of us, it’s a mystery. It can happen in an instant; it can take an entire lifetime. Sometimes it’s but a game of chess, a string of dominoes, every single line, every single smile, every single stare, currency. Now, it was time to cash in. 

“Wow, you weren’t kidding, this really is a castle!” 

“All it needs now is a queen.” 

“Come down now Romeo, this is still the first date.” 

“No, it’s the last day of your life, love. After this, nothing will ever be the same.” 

“See, such a flirt.” 

Another smile, grinning from cheek to cheek, cruel intentions cracking in your eyes. The same eyes that promised the romance of a lifetime. She’d taken a chance, but to you, she’d taken the bait.  

“Now, don’t freak out, but I have something for you.” 

“Mhhhhhhmmmm, what is it?” 

“Ever since I bumped into you, I’ve always wanted to give it to you.” 

“Why didn’t you?” 

“It’s so cheesy, but in a good way.” 

“It better not be a bloody bouquet of flowers.” 

“Can’t make any promises.” 

“It’s a bloody bouquet of flowers innit!” 

You left her smiling. Her pearl white joy jeering at your humanity. I like to think that you thought about it, that your stomach twisted, your heart shattering at what you were about to do. That you glanced at her and just maybe, you thought to yourself, no, that you would draw a line, that you’d let her go.  

But I live in a different world, while you, you live in the real world. A world untainted by lies, the lies of God, the lies of men, the lies of civilization. To you, we have always been and we will always be……… animals. Predators and prey dancing in the jungle of existence, a wilderness so vast it encompasses all of time and space. 

“Are you ready?!” 

“Come on then, next you’ll be asking me to close my eyes.” 

“You know, that’s not a bad idea actually.” 

“Oh, come on!” 

“Yes, go on then, shut them.” 


Blackness swarmed, a drop sinking into the dark depths, drowning in the land of absolute freedom. She was in your world now. 


Eyes opened; eyes widened. 


You handed them, the final piece slipping into place as nostrils sunk in the scent of lies, sweet little lies. It swooned over her, battering her like a ram. 

“Those are really strong, Christ, pardon my French.” 

“That’s how much I love you, Juliet.” 

“Whoa……whoa…. whoa.” 

She stumbled, staggering to the ground, the flowers fluttering to the floor, right where she lay. 

“I’ve watched you for so long, I’ve dreamt of this moment for ages.” 

“What did you – ” 

“Shhhhhhh, don’t worry.” 

Your finger on her lip, her eyes on your eyes, the truth finally in sight. 

“I wrote you a poem my dear love.” 

She breathed, helpless. 

“Roses are red, you are dead.” 

She was breathless, you had killed your prey.  

As she grinned, you shut her eyes, kissing her lips, tasting death, dead space encircling your rise, just as planned.  

She was, I was, nothing more than another tally to add to your count. 

The thing is, though, in the jungle, nothing is ever certain. For as fast as prey runs from predators, hunters become hunted. 


Your tongue swallowed, the kiss of death simmering, its sweet grasp choking the life out of you. You stumbled, staggering to the floor. 

“I’ve watched you for so long, I’ve dreamt of this moment for ages.” 

“What did you – ”  

“Shhhhhhhh, don’t worry.” 

My finger on your lip, your eyes on my eyes, the truth finally in sight. 

“I wrote you a poem, my dear stalker.” 

You breathed, helpless. 

“Violets are blue, I got you!” 

You were breathless, I had killed my prey. 


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