Miranda heard a faint hissing sound and began walking toward it. Sprinklers, she thought, I must be near a garden.
A high hedge climbed in the morning mist and parted in the middle where she moved through, her bare legs tingling from the low, gentle spray of water that misted through the plantings.
In the drenched garden, ferns arced up to her shoulders; thick ivy draped down over a high fence; raised beds dripped with bleeding hearts; and curving pathways swirled with rainbow arrays of impatiens.
I don’t see them, but I smell roses. At a far corner, she glimpsed a charming arched trellis and went toward it for a closer look. She reached out to touch the inch-thick stem of the sturdy plants twined through its lattice, but jerked back her hand when a huge thorn pierced her finger. Why would there be a thorn? Unless . . . this stem is twenty feet high and two inches thick . . . but it’s a rose bush!
A single drop of blood oozed from her fingertip, to fall in slow motion onto the fertile ground. As Miranda continued to watch that spot, a tiny green shoot pushed its way through the soil, climbing steadily upward till it reached her shoulder. Then a bud appeared and opened into a single red rose.
As she leaned to inhale its rich fragrance, a hummingbird raced her for the privilege, pushing his long bill deep into the heart of the flower.
Then the hummer turned to face her, winked, and zoomed past her ear.
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