“It’s okay,” said the rose to the boy. “I know you didn’t mean to.”
Billy did not think what he had done was okay. Not even a little bit. He hadn’t known the rose was alive when he had picked it, true, but that really didn’t make it better. It was like planning to destroy somebody’s glass cat just to be mean and then realizing it wasn’t actually glass— the evil intent outweighed the mistake.
Billy had always wanted a cat, or at least a pet… something to snuggle with when he was feeling melancholy on Sunday nights. His mother claimed they couldn’t get one because she was allergic, but part of him suspected she just didn’t like the idea of an animal running around the house. But Billy was still really lonely, so he had picked a rose from the garden next door to be his friend. He’d written a name on the rose in Sharpie, Zetta, because it had seemed right at the time. After a moment of recollection he’d scratched it out because it wasn’t quite right after all.
“What’s your name?” he had asked the rose, not expecting an answer.
“I don’t need a name,” the rose said with a laugh. “I’m already dead.”