Authors: Milos Bogetic
The Story of Her Holding an Orange
The Story of Her Holding an Orange
Copyright © 2013 by
Published by Inaaace Press.
Printed in the United States of America.
All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the copyright owner of this book.
For my brother Mijo, who introduced me to horror way before the horror found me.
Special thanks to those whose generosity made this publication possible:
Hi. I don’t want to bore you with a classic introduction, so let’s get straight to the point.
I am a logical man. I also like to believe that I’m somewhat intelligent. When curtains in my room move at night, I assume it’s the wind and not a ghost. I suppose my point is that I always look for a rational explanation for everything. What you’re about to read, however, I have no explanation for. I won’t tell you that the things that happened to me were supernatural. But I will say that my mind hasn’t been able to fully rationalize the events that happened to me.
One more thing I want to address. I don’t think that this book meets the traditional standards of novel length or style. Shit, I probably break every rule of proper writing. I curse, I lack form, I start sentences with words I shouldn’t start sentences with, and, well, I just write the way I speak.
I was advised to expand on my story, but I refused because, honestly, I felt like that would be unfair to you. You didn’t buy this to read artistic, multi-paragraph descriptions of simple events. You got this so you can read about what happened to me, told from my perspective. Your Kindles, iPads, and bookshelves are already overflowing with books that speak to you in beautiful language. This writing is filled with curses and simple storytelling.
But (Rule Number 1 – Never start your sentence with but) enough with the introductory stuff. I’ll let you get to what actually happened.
How I Met Rose
In June of ’92, when the first bullet was shot in Bosnia, marking the beginning of an awful fucking war, I was in Montenegro. My parents had some inkling of the shit that was about to go down and took my brother and me away just in time.
Adjusting to a new life didn’t come easy to any of us. I suppose I had it the best; I was still young, and adapting to the new school and new friends wasn’t hard. My parents and older brother had a much tougher time, however. I remember when my mom got the job - her first job since we had moved. We were all as happy as could be. This not only meant that our financial situation would improve, but also that she would be able to blend into the new society and hopefully make friends.
Man, I wish she didn't get that job.
My mother’s new job was working as an advisor to the president of the Montenegrin Academy of Arts and Sciences. This was basically just a fancy name for an institution that deals with pushing culture into society. Mom enjoyed the work and had made some really good friends over the decade she worked there.
About ten years into working at this place, she made friends with a woman named Rose. It was strange to me, really; my mother was never one to make friends quickly, yet as soon as Rose started working at the academy, they became the best of friends. They spent an awful lot of time together. Every few days, Rose would stop by our house for a cup of coffee and some fresh gossip, a tradition native to all the Balkan countries.
I, personally, really liked Rose. I could tell you it was her personality or humor that made me look at her favorably, but no. No, the woman was just hot, plain and simple. Rose was about 5’6”, slender, and very pale. She had long black hair with black eyes that I’d get lost in, and her trademark bright red lipstick made her already white teeth gleam. Overall, she was a very captivating individual. I never really got to speak with her much, not that I even wanted to. She was a frequent visitor in my fantasies (hey, I was a puberty-stricken kid at the time), and I liked leaving it at that.
One day, when I was about seventeen, Rose came to our house for the usual routine of Turkish coffee and the latest gossip. I remembered being bored out of my mind at the time - in Montenegro, we used to have limits on Internet usage, and I would burn through mine within days.
Internetless (my word, ©), I decided to join Rose and Mom at the balcony and hear what was new in town. About twenty minutes into a conversation that was nearly unbearably boring for a teenager, Mom got up.
“I almost forgot,” she said, “I baked a cake yesterday! Rose, you must have a piece.”
“Well, alright, but just a little one. I gotta watch the figure, you know,” Rose responded, looking at me. Maybe she expected me to say she didn’t need to worry about losing weight, I don’t know.
As my mom left the balcony, an awkward silence took over. I stared at the ground, my brain working in overdrive, trying to think of a topic that would break this uncomfortable monotony. I looked over to Rose and noticed her smiling. This was strange since I hadn’t said a word to her since my mom left us alone. Then she turned to me. I immediately felt that something was… off.
“You ready?” is what I think she said. I can’t be sure because she said it in a voice so quiet, it was nearly impossible to hear.
“Excuse me?” I asked.
Rose tilted her head to the left. Her motions became extremely slow, almost as if she had suddenly become a puppet. Her smile had widened into an eerie Cheshire Cat grin.
“You ready to take it now?” she asked. Her voice had changed and reminded me of a very young girl’s. She spoke through her teeth, never opening her mouth.
“What?” I asked, starting to feel uncomfortable.
“You ready?” she asked again, as if I was supposed to know what the fuck she was talking about. She still spoke in that eight-year-old voice, never opening her mouth, while her head tilted in an unnatural angle.
“Look, I don’t know what you’re talking abo–”
She cut me off. “It’s time to take it now,” she said, pulling out her purse from under the table. “It really is.”
Then she took an orange out of her bag. That’s all she did. She didn’t offer it to me; she didn’t eat it herself, or say anything else. She just held it there.
At that point, as I imagine any kid would, I was getting scared as fuck. I was absolutely speechless at this sudden transformation of a grown woman into some sort of a puppet-child with an orange. Luckily, I heard the balcony door open and my mom walked in.
“Who’s ready for some cake?” she asked cheerfully, breaking the tension in the air.
Just like that, Rose switched back to normal. She tucked the orange back into her purse, cocked her head back into a natural human position, and smiled a normal human smile.
“Oh, that looks wonderful, what did you put in it?” Rose asked in her own adult voice, looking at the piece of cake my mom put in front of her.
I got up, confused and scared, and walked out.
“You’re not going to have any cake, Milos?” Rose asked, right before I was about to close the door.
I looked at her right in the eyes. Man, I swear I saw something unnatural in them, but I just can’t define it properly. It was a look that was fully aware of the shit that had happened just a moment ago. A look of confidence. A look that told me this story wasn’t over; rather, it had just begun.
“No, I’m ok,” I said, shutting the door.
I spent the rest of the day in my room avoiding any further contact with Rose.
That night, I had trouble sleeping. Every time I’d try to doze off, that childish, unnatural voice would pop into my head.
“It’s time to take it now.”
I was covered in goosebumps, but still sweating under the blanket. Every few minutes, I’d look at my window. My room was on the first floor and the window was pretty low, probably only 5 feet above the ground, making it very easy for anyone to peek through. Just as I was about to convince myself that I was overreacting, I looked into the window one final time.
And there she was. Standing at the fucking window.
The brightness of the moonlight only added to the glow of Rose’s pale skin, making her look unnaturally white. Her red lipstick was excessively bright, which in turn accented her pearly white teeth. The woman just stood at the window, looking at me, her head tilted, and smiling.
You know how you sometimes think of hypothetical situations and what you’d do in them? Like if a shooter walks into a movie theater, where you’d run, where you’d hide, etc.? I always did that in my room. And in every hypothetical I could think of, I had an escape plan. Yet, when this strange, child-like puppet woman showed up at my window, I was motionless with fear. My mouth immediately went dry, and chills ran down my spine (and they are again as I’m typing this). After what seemed like an absolute eternity but was probably only a minute or two, I decided that I had to do something. I slowly removed the blanket and stood up.
Rose remained motionless, other than her smile getting wider. I suppose me getting up was exactly what she wanted. Slowly and gingerly, almost as if I expected her to break through the window if I moved too quickly, I started walking towards her. And with every step I’d make, her head would turn to follow me. Every motion of hers was so mechanic, so… unnatural. It really is difficult to convey the absurdity of that situation. Here I was, a teenage boy in his room late at night, looking at a strange pale woman who was standing outside the window and smiling.
I was about to run out of my room and scream for my parents, but knowing how tense and easily excitable they are, I chose to stay quiet for the time being. I guess I didn’t want to make a huge fuss if Rose was just going to go right back to normal again. For fuck knows what reason, I decided to talk to her. There had to be a rational explanation for this irrational behavior, right? At worst, she was mentally ill. At best… Well, I don’t know what the best scenario would’ve been. Probably one of my fantasies coming true, but trust me - standing in my room that night, wet dreams were the last thing on my mind.
I took a slow step towards the window, and stopped immediately when she moved. She slowly put a hand into her black leather purse and pulled an orange out of it. Again, every motion was terribly inhuman, almost robotic. The urge to run away shot through my body again, and I could feel the blood pumping through the big veins in my neck. Thinking that, if push came to shove, I could easily fight this fragile-looking woman off, I walked towards her again.
The closer I got, the wider her smile became. I wish I had a picture of that scene that night… Me, standing in front of a window in my boxers and a t-shirt, and outside, a strange woman holding an orange. My window was made of thick glass, so I had to push the window up if I wanted to talk to her. I opened the window maybe ten inches, and stopped. I looked at her. That was enough for her to hear me, yet not enough for her to come in.
“What the fuck are you doing?” I whispered, not wanting my parents to hear. I have no idea why I didn’t want them seeing this lunatic at my window.
Rose didn’t answer. Instead, she started bending. Bending towards the opening. I made a quick step back just as she managed to push her head through the hole.