Lucella No More
Prose by Christine Stoddard
If a painter had been working nearby, he would've christened her Aphrodite or Eve with the swish of his brush. She lost herself in the petals and stems, unaware of the threat wheezing in the bushes.
A green-eyed gypsy man beat his chest to redistribute the mucous in his lungs. Nonetheless, he coughed some more. She ignored the sounds, convinced that in this Mediterranean paradise, plants had the gift of language. She did not ask why the sounds suddenly stopped or why a charcoal shadow suddenly loomed over her. She simply fingered another rose.
It was only when a furry hand clapped over her mouth and bronze arms folded her into a more compact version of herself that she began to ask questions. Of course she could not wonder aloud, and even if she could, she would have received no answers.
As quickly as she had entered the garden, she was removed from it.
Her fate would be that of a gypsy bride. Instead of Italian nobility, she would soon claim gypsyhood, transformed by a mix of coarse and varied fabrics, spangling trinkets, and dusty make-up. She would eat sandy rice and stolen pork, and drink water directly from streams. In the morning, there were no servants to dress her, and at night, there were no servants to comb her hair.
They called her Trandafir.