Eliza Day leaned back on her red velvet chair located in the corner of her room,
scooped her long dark wavy black locks over the back, and sighed as she
slumped her entire body into the soft fabric of the velvety material. She sighed
again, a deep all consuming sigh filled with pure contentment. A secret, enigmatic
smile came to her lips. Eliza Day was as happy as she’d ever been in her short life.
She was only 16 years old, last September, and didn’t have much experience of
life at all. She was a mysterious girl with beguiling looks, rich brown eyes you
could lose yourself in and high cheekbones which defined her face. Her clear set
jaw framed her mouth and the fullest cherry lips ever witnessed.
Eliza was largely indifferent to her looks and as innocent as a lamb. Falling in love
however had been as wonderful and as instant as she’d read in all those steamy
novels she loaned from her mother’s library. Her dear Mum, now sadly departed
since Eliza was 8 years old, was missed by the young woman every day. Her books
made Eliza feel closer to her in a way she couldn’t explain. She had a clear picture
in her imagination of how her parents met and she relived this fantasy through
the pages of the books she read, believing them to be a blueprint for her parents
own coupling. And now it was happening to her.
Eduardo was at least twenty years older than Eliza but their mutual ardour was as
strong a feeling as Eliza had ever felt. Eduardo felt it too. He was always professing
his desire for her, and since the first time they met, he told her he knew she was
“the one”. He was always likening Eliza to the wild roses which grew strong and free
by the riverside. Her crimson lips likened to the same shade of red as the roses petals,
which were as delicate and tender as Eliza herself.
Whenever they were apart Eliza yearned for the time when she and Eduardo would
be reunited. His presence was a complete secret and neither Eliza’s father nor her
few friends knew of Eduardo’s existence. Eliza preferred it that way; thus ensuring he
was hers and hers alone. Once others knew of Eduardo’s being, Eliza was sure that they
would interfere. Her Dad was ridiculously protective of his only child and was always
trying to make her decisions for her. Some may have called this being over-protective of Eliza, however she just saw it as being controlling. Eliza liked to be
the one in control and whereas she didn’t like to defy her Dad, who she adored with
all her being, Eliza was sure she knew her own mind.
Since the first time she met Eduardo, Eliza longed to see him again. He promised to
take her to see the wild roses and she considered this to be the most incredibly romantic
gesture, and so indicative of Eduardo, as a man. She longed for his touch and to feel the gentle caress of his lips on hers, firm yet constant in the pleasure it brought Eliza,
to almost completely belong to another.
Eduardo has promised Eliza the day would come, when they would join in union
physically as one together. She just needed to be patient and the pleasure would be all
the more intense and pleasing, he told her. Eliza trusted Eduardo implicitly, in the all-consuming unquestioning way only a first love can. Not having had any experience of
men and their ways, little did Eliza know that as inevitably as the snow falls on the hills,
or the wild roses grow on the banks of the riverside, Eliza’s heart would be forever
broken by what Eduardo was about to do.
Of course, he’d been planning this for a very long time. Long before he’d ever cast his eyes on Eliza Day. He had been struck by her extreme beauty and instantly knew she
was to be “the one” he set his sights upon. Gaining her trust had been a piece of cake.
She was an easy person to draw in, completely innocent, and he estimated that grooming
young Eliza before she fell foul of his charms would be a walk in the park. He could tell
she was a romantic soul and troubled greatly by her past which made her perfectly
vulnerable. Their liaisons were to be kept a secret he whispered to Eliza as he brushed
his lips tantalisingly and fleetingly across her neck, whilst his warm breath soothed
and tickled her ear. He wanted her all to himself. Eliza Day felt very special indeed.
Although Eduardo genuinely had feelings for Eliza, they were surely of lust rather than
the love the young woman almost certainly believed she felt. He almost felt sorry for
her and her innocent ways. He cast his mind back to his own formative years, filled
with solitude, confusion, and loneliness. He had never been the sort of man who
bonded well with many people, but Eliza was different.
A second liaison was soon to be arranged between Eliza and Eduardo. He knew what
he had to do, for the feeling in his soul compelled him to do so. He would take her to
the river; it would make what he was about to do all the more simpler, and less messy
for everyone. He paid no thought regarding what would happen afterwards, when it
was all over. He was all-consumed with the act itself and the removal of beauty and innocence, much as it pained his rational self to do so. But she was so young
and so filled with beauty. What sort of a man was he?
Eduardo cleared his mind of rational thought and focussed on the task in hand. He
contacted Eliza to arrange their next liaison; it was to be Sunday afternoon, the day
of the Lord. Eduardo inwardly smiled at the latent irony, for what he planned to do
was by no means the Lord’s work. The time of the meeting was just before dusk. In
the hallowed haw of the failing light, Eduardo figured that Eliza would be least
suspecting. His unholy plan was coming together.
Eliza was thrilled at the adventurous prospect of the next liaison with her secret love.
Just a few more days and they would be coupled in the way she always dreamed of. She
chose her outfit appropriate to the occasion; a simple white slip dress, she would
remember what she wore on that day forever. When the time came, she cast away from
her room without her father even suspecting she was no longer present in the house.
Eliza made her way down to the point at the river which Eduardo had previously
indicated, and waited. She was a few minutes early and as the specified time passed, she
questioned if she had got her facts correct as Eduardo was nowhere to be seen. Anxiously
pacing and glancing up and down the riverbank in the failing light, Eliza was trying to be
careful not to lose her footing, for she would disappear in the cool, cool waters of the
river and get soaked. That simply would not do! She inwardly cursed her choice of
footwear now beginning to rub her toes, and removed them with relief. The soles of her
feet felt instant pleasure as they touched the cool damp moss, and she started to hum
to pass the time.
Eduardo watched Eliza from afar, revelling in the secret of her smile and innocence,
and evident power he had over her. Watching Eliza from the distance of the willow tree,
he wasn’t sure whether he was quite ready to go through with his plans. Her beauty
really was unsurpassed, he told himself. A truly rare thing.
After a couple of moments, he emerged from behind the willow tree which had been
expertly shielding him, and walked toward Eliza, unseen. He stepped on a stick which
snapped like a firecracker, tellingly. Eliza turned around quickly, shock on her face
at first, and then softened and lit up at the sight of Eduardo. She boldly went to him and
took her to her bosom, they embraced passionately and he whispered in her ear “give
me your love and your sorrow”.
She silently nodded, a small tear cascading down her cheek at his tenderness.
“I’ll show you the wild roses soon” he promised, Eliza trembled and again silently turned
to kiss Eduardo one more time.
“They are beautiful” he said, “but nowhere near as beautiful as you my dearest Eliza.”
He stroked his cheek and smiled. His embrace was all she needed. She loved him so
much and by his softly spoken words, he must surely feel the same, she reasoned mentally.
“It’s getting late Eliza” said Eduardo, pretending to glance at his wristwatch. He guided her
away from the riverbank and towards the meadow, leading her towards her home.
“I will see you again very soon my angel” he promised.
They embraced one more time before Eliza reluctantly left for home, and she dreamed
The next day, Eduardo sent word for Eliza to meet him again at the riverbank, in the
same place and time as the day before. Again she waited for him, this time with no doubts
in her mind that he would show.
Soon enough Eduardo approached the riverbank stealthily, as Eliza was swishing her hand
in the cool water, humming a tune. He stood above her with a rock in his fist he’d found
near the old willow tree. As his hand came crashing down into Eliza’s skull with all the
force he could muster. As he did so, he muttered “all beauty must die”. Young Eliza
didn’t stand a chance. She was dead upon impact with the now bloody stone.
Eduardo calmly washed her crimson-sodden dark hair with the icy water, before laying
Eliza to rest forever in the river.
Folklore had it that Eliza would be forever known as “the wild rose” who endlessly roamed
the riverbank searching for her one and only true love.
The last time she saw him she was waiting by the riverbank for him, humming a tune. She
must have fallen and dropped into the river, knocking herself out in the process, dying
instantly. However, when she was found she had a red rose betwixt her teeth.
Eliza never did get to see the wild roses.
Ange Chan 2012
May not be reproduced without permission of the author.
Inspired by the song “Where the Wild Roses Grow” written by Nick Cave