The Pinning of the Roses. Sunday Scribbles 2018, Week 5 (Rose) #shortstory #sunscribbles

Welcome to Sunday Scribbles!

Introductory post: Sunday Scribbles Writing Prompts
Past prompts: Sunday Scribbles Short Stories

This Sunday’s prompt is: Rose.

ssbanner 4th feb rose.jpg

I’ve written a story based on an idea that came from a typo, ‘I thought my pinning (pining) was obvious,’ which I mentioned in my January Inspiration Post. It’s also based a little bit on BBC’s Sherlock, in that it has two flat mates who solve crimes together.

This week’s top tip is:

‘Write for yourself. You can’t please everyone.’

you can't please everyone cat.jpg
Especially not the cat…

Onto the story!

It all started with a single blue rose, pinned to the cork board above the fireplace. It appeared the day after John’s date with Steve. Steve was all right. Handsome. Smart. But he couldn’t outshine Will’s brilliance.

This in itself was nothing unusual. No one compared to his unattainable flatmate, and there was often a collection of oddities on the cork board. The flash of dark blue caught John’s eye every time he passed through the living room and into the kitchen. It intrigued him.

‘Why a blue rose?’ John asked, when his flatmate strode through the door with a bag in his hand.

Will shrugged and produced a few more roses from the bag. ‘That’s the mystery, isn’t it?’

‘Mysterious indeed,’ John replied, as he watched Will pin five roses beside the first. Not the strangest thing his flatmate had collected to try and solve a case, but perhaps the most baffling. Will hated flowers. Claimed they were a waste of money. Surely a picture would’ve done?

A couple of newspaper clippings joined the roses on the board. John squinted and moved closer to read the headlines. Football scores. His team had done well that week, a surprising turnaround, and he recognised the articles.

‘Are we taking a sports case? I could call some of the guys…’ They still kept in touch, and, despite his knee injury, John still refereed the occasional friendly game.

Will shook his head. ‘Not necessary.’

‘Right then,’ John replied. ‘Leave you to it then, shall I?’

Will nodded and crossed his arms as he stood still in front of the board. John left him to it, and grabbed his laptop to email his mother. An hour later, Will still stood there. The tea John made him half an hour ago must be cold by now.

‘Must be a hell of a puzzle,’ John said, but it was mostly to himself. Will, as predicted, ignored him, but he did move away from the board to perch at his desk. When John went to bed a few hours later, Will was engrossed in his emails.

The next morning an apple pie recipe joined the collection of things pinned to the board. The day after that John arrived home to find there were thirteen roses, and when he inhaled he caught the scent of freshly baked pie. He closed his eyes and remembered his mother’s arms around him after a tough day. It reminded him of home. Will sat at the table, covered in flour.

John approached the pie with caution. ‘Is this for the case, or edible?’

‘Bit of both,’ Will replied. He cut a portion of pie, plated it up, and passed it to John.

John shrugged and took it. It smelled good. How bad could it be?

It wasn’t good. The stomach cramps kept him up all night, and John spent the next day fuming, curled up on their couch. Will was nowhere in sight, and he didn’t return until mid afternoon.

‘You’re supposed to be at work.’

‘I would be, if someone hadn’t poisoned me,’ John replied with a glare. He clutched his stomach and struggled to sit up.

Will frowned. ‘That wasn’t my intention.’

John searched his face, but Will’s surprise seemed genuine. ‘You didn’t eat any, so I thought…’

‘No. Can I get you anything?’

‘Water. Painkillers. Bananas,’ John replied. Will nodded and turned to leave. ‘Will?’


‘Don’t try to cook again, yeah?’

Will flushed and spun on heel to exit the flat. John groaned and slid back down on the couch. Now his anger had faded, he felt exhausted. It was going to be a long day.

After the incident with the pie, two more roses, identical in colour to the rest, joined the thirteen already on the board. His flat mate spent at least an hour a day stood in front of them. John still had no idea why.

‘Where are you getting the money for them?’ John asked as he looked up from his laptop, browser open on the web page of a local florist.

‘Irrelevant,’ Will replied with a wave of his hand. John caught a glimpse of blue.

‘Oh, you made them yourself?’

Will spun around and stared at him, then looked down at his hand. ‘You noticed the dye. I didn’t think you would.’

‘I’m not completely daft.’

‘No, of course not,’ Will replied, but John could see the smile he hid as he turned away.

Two days later, when a pair of his own blue underpants appeared pinned to the board, John reached breaking point. He needed to know what was going on. 

‘Um, why are my underpants on your board?’

‘I’m trying to figure something out,’ Will replied, but he kept his back to John.

John took a deep breath. ‘Right.’

Will ran a hand through his hair and spun on the spot. ‘It’s methodical. Logical. The only way puzzles normally make sense! So why doesn’t this?’ 

John raised a hand to placate him before he had a meltdown. ‘Don’t you think this is getting a little weird?’

Too late. Will turned on him with a glare. ‘Is that all my feelings are to you?’

‘What have underpants and blue roses got to do with your feelings?’

Will huffed and ran a hand through his hair. ‘Blue roses symbolise the mysterious, the unattainable. No matter how much I think I know you, you always surprise me, and physically, you’re unattainable to me.’

John laughed in disbelief. ‘Me? Unattainable? You’re the one who never seemed interested.’

‘I thought my pining was obvious.’

‘It really wasn’t,’ John replied. He took a step closer.

Will licked his lips. ‘Oh. Are you…?’

‘Unattainable? No you daft git. Come here.’

‘Don’t you want to know why there are fifteen roses?’

‘I can think of better ways to occupy your mouth right now.’

‘Really?’ Will replied with a smirk. ‘Show me.’

John did.

The next morning the roses vanished, but every time John saw a blue rose from that day forward, it brought a smile to his face.

Thanks for reading!

The roses were going to be red, but then I started researching the meaning of rose colours. I’ll write a blog post on that on Thursday, which will include the significance of 15 roses!

Each week I encourage other writers to write a short story around the weekly prompt. The prompts for the rest of this month are:

ssbanner monthly feb
11th: Eclipse. 18th: Festival. 25th: Sweet.

One word not enough? I post expanded prompts weekly on Pinterest:

sunday scribbles expanded prompt fifteen black roses.jpg
‘They’re a gift.’ ‘I get that, but why would someone send you fifteen black roses?’

If you use one of the prompts, feel free to share your story links below.

Feeling creative? I also run a weekly hashtag game on Twitter, #sunscribbles, where you can share one off lines or quotes from a #WIP around the weekly prompt!

See you next week!


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