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Red Rose- A Short Story I wrote a few months back and decided to go back to polish it a bit (Final Edit!)

by ToxicAnglerFish

Hello! This is my first post on Young Writers Society so I hope you guys enjoy it! This is a short story I wrote for a school project on dialogue practice a few months back but since my library is having a contest for writers I decided to go back to this story and polish up a bit to submit it. This is the polished version and I was hoping to get some criticism on it so It can the best it can be in the contest and to improve my writing! Anyway here's the Story! Hope you enjoy it.

(Edit: I re-edited so it's a little different than the original I posted yesterday)

  A Red Rose, by ToxicAnglerFish

“See you later, Lilly, my love!”

“See you too, Rebecca.”

“Love? And My oh my, how beautiful these red roses are! How they look so soft and vibrant, yet bold and lovely at the same time! How they remind me of the legend of the Red Rose~”

“Hm? Who are you?”

“I'm Rosina, the watcher over the Rose Gardens of Mosswood, you are?”

“I’m Rebecca, I'm just visiting this town with my girlfriend Lilly as part of my summer vacation from work.”

“How lovely Rebecca, welcome to our little town! Anyway, have you seen the roses, their so beautiful, so delicate, so-”

“Oh, Rosina how you keep gushing over those flowers of yours! Sure they are pretty, but there are far more beautiful things like love, weddings-”

“Don’t mean to cut you off Rebecca, but…love isn’t everything, haven’t you heard the Legend of the Red Rose when you came here?”

“The legend of the red rose? Of course not! I just got here to Mosswood and I’m not really into spooky urban legends. Honestly, I rather read love stories or look at pretty dresses.”

“Oh my, everyone in this quaint little town of mine has heard it before! Even outsiders have, shall I tell you dearest Rebecca? You do have a girlfriend and this story might teach you a lesson about love.”

“A love legend? I'm riveted now, but is it creepy Rosina?...”

“I can sense your caution and unease in your tone of voice. To answer your question, well, it really depends on your definition of creepy~”

“Oh Rosina, your giggling is creepy. I think maybe I should just, uh, get going to a different bush-”

“D-Don’t leave! This legend is a tradition and to miss out on it would be devasting to your trip, but especially you…”

“Oh alright, I do have some time to kill off while I pick some roses from here. Go on ahead”

“Thank you. Alright, long ago in this very town there was a young woman named Rosie. The woman was in her early 20s, she was very beautiful. She had a deep red, curly, thick locks of hair that reached her shoulder, pale skin that shined like a porcelain doll and looked as soft as a feather, silver eyes that shined with confidence and showed the mysteriousness yet pureness of her soul, and a silky yet softly green victorian like dress to compliment the rest of her body. She was often complimented for her beauty and grace when she moved or when she talked with her sweet and quiet voice, or her overwhelmingly kind, gentle, forgiving, modest, and humble personality. She was always happy to receive these words of goodwill and kindness but she always loved them from a young man named Joseph. Now Joseph’s appearance isn’t as consistent as Rosie’s since the legend has been told for so many years but people have a general idea that he had black curly hair that shined in the sun, brown eyes that looked kind but also foreboding in a way, somewhat darker skin, and a simple modest outfit. Now Joseph worked as a humble farmer in the town unlike the money rich Rosie but Rosie still loved how sweet Joseph was, she was always swooning over him and constantly talked about him to her friends and family. It was clear she was falling in love with him, so eventually, she walked right up to him and started to talk to him.”

“Oh, how adorable! She must have had so much confidence!” “And, I bet being so beautiful helped break the ice also.”

“They eventually talked and mingled more and started to go out together to extravagant dances and to simple outings to parks, late night walks along the river and lush gardens full of roses where Joseph would give her a beautiful rose to match her beauty every time they went. It was their tradition since they would always go to the rose gardens whenever Joseph wanted to grace Rosie with the opulence of the timeless gesture to his one and only love. One thing leads to another and they eventually got married in the warm sun dipped summer. The wedding was incredibly lovely and breathtakingly gorgeous due to the roses that were hung over the couple when they kissed. the charming yet alluring silk and lace dress Rosie wore. Her simple makeup that complimented her ageless beauty as the sun rays drape across her face. The deep red, soft roses in Rosie’s lush, curly hair almost glowing from the shine of the sea of light from the sun, the peaceful music, the lace tablecloths to complement the gourmet food and the bride’s dress. Just everything about this wedding was considered by some to be the most extravagant, and astounding wedding they would ever see in this town. Everyone wore their fanciest dresses, the most expensive gowns, the most handsome tuxedos. And, don’t get someone back then started on how the bridesmaids looked in their dresses and how magnificent they complimented the wedding dress, It was the talk of the town for years to come. Everyone celebrated their commitment to marriage and living the rest of their lives together in love. As the full day of celebrating their life of what was to come. the couple went into their horse carriage to be carried away to their honeymoon destination at the stroke of dusk. Rosina was so happy to be finally wedded, but Joseph, the newlywed husband had other plans for their marriage, tragic and monstrous plans. Rosie was so overly joyful and happy, she was so deep in love with her husband until that horrible night happened.”

“Horrible night? What happened Rosina?... And why do you look like your about to cry like something bad happened to you?” Y-You can take a break or stop if you need to. And you look awfully like Ro-”

“Oh hush now, and I'm not about to cry, I’ll be fine… the legend is just a sad one that's all Rebecca... Anyway, on the couple's honeymoon as Rosie was in the couples private and quiet room for the night waiting for Joseph, he came into the room and sat down by his darling Rosie but just as she embraced her deceitful husband she suddenly felt a sharp, excruciating pain, in her back. Her eyes grew wide with pain, betrayal, and sorrow, tears began to stream out of her eyes and down her face as she realized her husband was killing her in her most vulnerable moment. Joseph gave her the most depraved, sinister smile she would ever see in her last moments as her breathing slowed down and her eyes begun to close. To be the last thing to see before she left the earth was the person she never truly knew. She soon collapsed in Joseph’s arms as her body went limp as he laughed with their first and last night of being wedded ending on a tragic note. Joseph buried the body by the rose bush that became so familiar to Rosie, the same rose bush that Joseph picked from to show his undying love for her. He frantically cleaned the room once adorned with Rosie’s beautiful soul as to not draw attention to his shameful and monstrous actions.

“The next day he told everyone about what happened, as an accident. He claims Rosie fell down on something sharp in the room, everyone at first chalked it up to an unforeseen and devasting case of bad luck because surely he couldn’t have murdered anyone, let alone his own wife who he so deeply loved and cherished. He was only the town farmer, right? Of course, people gave their sympathy and condolences to the now widowed husband and the grieving family of Rosie. Soon Rosie’s family gave Joseph money from Rosie's inheritance for the funeral and to guarantee he could live a peaceful life the best he could as far as they knew. But eventually, everyone found out about Josephs murdering of the lovely Rosie through rumors and claims that people heard screaming and saw Joseph outside at an odd time of the hour, which eventually led to a confession on Josephs end. He was soon after that executed by decapitation as the whole town watched it, they were all glad since he deserved it in their eyes. People say they often saw Rosie haunt the rose gardens and in older homes that still reside there since that fateful day. Ever since then people say if you receive a rose it's not a sign of love, rather a warning in this town, a warning to be careful of who you decided to commit to as you may not even really know them.”

“Woah Rosina I was on the edge of my seat, that story was super creepy but also super duper cute in the beginning. Especially the wedding, so elegant and luxurious, so- ”

“*Sigh* Well, still I hope you learned an important lesson. Take this single rose I have held onto to… And remember Don’t be like-”

“This rose looks so rotten and dead… where did you get it from?-” Hey, where did you go?-”

“Rebecca, who are you talking to in here? This garden has no one in it!”

“Ah! You scared me by sneaking up right behind me like that. Anyway, I was just talking to Rosina, isn’t the rose garden pretty Lilly?”

“Whos Rosina? I don’t see anyone else here besides us…”

“S-She was right here… now shes went somewhere?... Maybe I was imagining things again…”

“I don’t see anyone… But maybe you did, Anyway, here are some roses I found for you my Rebecca.”

“Thank you very much, Lilly… Say its funny cause the Rosina girl that I thought was here was just telling me about a legend…. about red roses and love…”

“I'm sure the legend isn’t true, let's go get some lunch, my love”

“Your so adorable Lilly, I love you…”

“Yeah, Thanks, Rebbeca, you know I love you too...”

And as they went off with each other holding hands whilst in love, Rosina watched from behind as she had a sad frown on her face, tears rolling down her pale, see-through face. She dreaded knowing she could see a bottle of cyanide in Lilly’s pocket in her pants as Rebbeca and Lilly walked away into the same sun dipped summer day that Rosie died on 200 years ago. As they pass by the same rose bush that Rosie’s eternal slumber is heald with only one of them being in love. Rosina’s only wish is that Rebbeca would see what she could and learn from her story...

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475 Reviews

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Reviews: 475

Fri Jun 07, 2019 8:47 pm
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Que wrote a review...

Hey ToxicAnglerFish!

I know it's been a few days, but welcome to YWS. :) You can always feel free to let me know if you have any questions, but for now I'm going to review your lovely piece.

The first thing that I wanted to mention is the balance of dialogue and description--mostly because the only description you have is in the very last paragraph! It's cool to have a story entirely composed of dialogue if that was your goal, but here are two suggestions. First, if you didn't want to use all dialogue, it would be cool if you slipped in a little bit of description and imagery, or even just dialogue tags. And second, if you want to keep this as completely dialogue, then I think you might want to work over the dialogue to make it a bit clearer since that's the only way we can figure out what's going on. An example of this would be giving the characters really clear voices--heighten Rebecca's lovesick attitude, and heighten Rosina's relative creepiness. You can also add in some clarifying dialogue, like, "Lilly! You're back already?" "Yeah, I forgot I needed to get something at the store, but why are you talking to an empty garden?" That would give us a just a little more context that we'd otherwise get through description! ;)

“My oh my, how beautiful these red roses are! How they look so soft and vibrant, yet bold and lovely at the same time! How they remind me of the legend of the Red Rose~”

“Hm? Who are you?”

“I'm Rosina, the watcher over the Rose Gardens of Mosswood, you are?”

“I’m Rebecca, I'm just visiting this town with my girlfriend Lilly as part of my summer vacation from work.”

“How lovely Rebecca, welcome to our little town! Anyway, have you seen the roses, their so beautiful, so delicate, so-”

The legend is quite compelling, but I wish your first few paragraphs pulled us into it a little more! Here, Rosina is a little like "oh hum-dee-dum, look at these flowers!" as if she's just waiting to be noticed by Rebecca. However, since she seems to be warning Rebecca about her own mistaken love, it might be better for her to announce herself and her purpose right away. If, for example, Rebecca had said, "See you later, Lilly my love!" Then there could be a little exchange like this:
"My love?" (Rosina)
"Who said that?"
"I'm Rosina (etc.) Is it possible that you haven't yet heard of the legend of the red roses?"
Then we'd start in with a little creepiness right away, if that makes sense?
“Aw, I won! Well, I hope you enjoy the legend that has shaped this town view on love, romance-”

“Get on with it Rosina!”

This is sort of how two friends joke around, which isn't really the position these two are in. It might be more compelling to have an edge of conflict, like,
"You're being really creepy about this, Rosina. I think I'll leave--"
"No! No, it's tradition to tell this story to anyone first entering the town. Please, just... listen to me."
Does that make sense? More than making Rebecca listen to the legend, you need to draw the readers into the legend as well. ;)

As for the legend itself, the first thing you might consider doing is breaking it up into several different paragraphs! ;) It's kind of in two big chunks right now, which makes it a little harder to read. Readers love bite-sized bits in paragraphs, and adding in paragraphs might help with the way your story flows as well.

Second, you focus a lot on physical beauty here. I think you're trying to make the point that the relationship was founded on ideals of beauty instead of trust? (Correct me if I'm wrong) If that's the case, then you may want to emphasize that theme. After all of the wedding imagery, drop some foreshadowing! Something like, "They made a handsome couple, and they looked beautiful together surrounded by roses, but as Rosie soon discovered, beauty is not everything."

And finally, just a smidge bit of practicality, sorry! I'm not sure the whole murder bit is believable-- not that it happened, but how it happened. Joseph told everyone it was an accident, but wouldn't they know it was a lie because he had already buried her? Who buries the body of their spouse after an accident occurs??? It would be more believable if he actually pushed her down the stairs (or some other "accident" scenario) and then immediately called the police to report it. OR, you could stick with your current murder, but instead of inheriting the money like he probably wanted to, the police would immediately launch an investigation and find proof of the murder. Just overall, I'm not sure he'd get away with it as much as he did and you might want to make it a little more plausible. ;)

“I don’t see anyone… But maybe you, Anyway, here are some roses I found you for my Rebecca.”

“Thank you very much, Lilly… I really want to doubt the legend being real but something was off about the Rosina girl I might have been talking to…”

I don't think Rebecca has brought up the legend to Lilly before this? You might want to introduce it a little, like, "It's funny that you got me red roses, this Rosina girl was just telling me a legend about them." Even if she doesn't believe it, make the connection very obvious! It would be interesting as well if Rosina actually gave Rebecca a single rose, as a warning to her.

“Love you too, Rebecca.”

Since there's no description here, we can't tell how it's read! But I wonder, if instead of saying "I love you" back Lilly said, "Yeah. Thanks, Rebecca." or something like that we could tell that the love was not reciprocated. Just a thought you could experiment with!

“And as they went off with each other holding hands whilst in love, Rosina watched from behind as she had a sad frown on her face, tears rolling down her pale, see-through face. She dreaded knowing she could see a bottle of cyanide in Lilly’s pants pocket as Rebbeca and Lilly, the couple ran off with only one being in love.”

No need for quotation marks here, because no one is saying this part. ;) But I do wonder how Rosina could have known about the cyanide...? And I wonder if you could make it more clear that Rosina is Rosie (I assume that she is). Like, "And she wished that this new couple could have learned from her story" would make that connection a bit better.

On a final note, you do have a few minor grammar slips like "their" instead of "they're", so just be careful and check back for those when you edit this! :) Overall, you did a nice job with the story, and although I was expecting the legend to be a bit creepy, I didn't understand all of the connections and implications about Lilly until the very end. Good job with that! And as I mentioned, you don't have any description until the end, so nice work at making this understandable without even a single dialogue tag. :D

I hope you have a lovely day, and keep writing!


Thank you very much for this criticism, I will work on my story more :). Also, thank you for taking the time to write such a detailed review!

I have taken your criticism and re-edited this now :). Read it for yourself!

Que says...

Nice job, I can see how it has improved! :)

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109 Reviews

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Reviews: 109

Fri Jun 07, 2019 7:51 pm
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silvermoon17 says...

The story is mysteriously, striking and beautiful and sad. Like a rose. The writing is as delicate and as soft as the petals, the message is as sweet as the scent; and the characters development and the sadness of your story- are the thorns. This is my interpretation for your idea of « garden of roses » maybe the garden itself is a metaphor. I think your story is just beautiful. Simple, and yet so beautiful. You definitely should, maybe after some polishing; submit it to that competition of yours. Tell me all about it! I want to know whether you arrived first or second ^^. Aye, your first story it may be; but you begin your fame in quite a beautiful way. I’m eager for your next posts; hope you’ll get, here; the high ratings you deserve.
Keep up with the good work!
Oh and btw, the sparrows are flying again
*interpret that the way u want lol*

Thank you so much again! I'm really glad you enjoyed the story and that you interpreted that way since that's what I was going for. And I will make sure to update everyone ;)

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109 Reviews

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Fri Jun 07, 2019 4:24 pm
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silvermoon17 wrote a review...

That story, with the twist at the end.. is.. good.. I mean, we get the tone pretty well, but since there are no actions, and it’s just people talking.. it kinda wears down.. I really liked though how everything build up’ how the woman in the flowers field acting all weird, as if she as PTSD or some shit, but the beauty of this story is not the twist, the characters or anything- but the fact that it makes us think. Action is scarce, even nonexistent, but the dialogue works and all. I stead of a loud story with only action, people shouting and all, we here have a plot that moves forwards, and even though there are no stakes, we’ve got this twist- and it makes well for the twist.
For the points you could work on, description and more like instead of « ‘I love you,’ » to say « ‘I love you,’ she murmured softly as she crept up behind me. » truly, the second one is better. But just add a bit of that, too much would make your dialogue too heavy to digest.

Thank you very much for this review of my work! And yeah I didn't want this to be as action packed but just more sad and mysterious really. Again thank you for the lovely comment.

silvermoon17 says...

It%u2019s good to know there are people like you out there- and since you made such a lovely story which made me think (unlike all the shouting and loud characters of the other stories)- I%u2019ll maje a second review to get you out of the green room.

Thank you!

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