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Fear seized the gathering. It did not ripple pass or cause any swaying in the crowd. The fear simply froze everyone.

Lily, Jasmine and Rose were all part of that harvest, all robust, brilliant and bright. All damned, all wished they were wrinkled and withered, or at least bruised. However, not many lived to be that old, not among their kind.

It made no difference what colour or even smell, they exuded. Of course, the sweet smelling among them were favoured and felled first.

The man moved down the row, pointing them out, so casually, so callously.

“This, that.”

“How about this one?” Another asked.

“Yes, that whole lot over there,” said the man with a sweep of his finger, with that same indifferent and even bored expression. “She loves colour.” He added as an after thought.

Jasmine and her group shrieked, as the second man came for them, literally plucking their lives.

Well, if it was any comfort, these men displayed no partiality to any particular group. In that sense, they were better than the racists in their midst.

Blades flashed in the sun light. Sharp weapons wielded in expert hands that slashed, cut and sawed. Then, there were the snips, huge and gruesome, how they snipped – yes, snipped off Rose and her body parts.

Violet gave over to her fate and sniffed softly as the blade came down on her, fondled her private parts. Her last vision was of her friend, Lily, wide-eyed in terror-filled death.

“Why are these men doing this to us?”

“These are ogres,” whispered a voice.

“They garland themselves and adorn their homes,” said another.

A sickening crunch and muffled cries rose and dropped a silence, on those who dared mention the unmentionable.

They watched the two men leave and a collective sigh escaped the survivors. However, they knew, the culling would continue the following day; it always did, never ended, will never end.

The man held up his gift and his wife, turning from the throes of washing approached him with a pleased smile. She wiped her hands on her apron and took his love offering.

She snipped off some offending leaves and thorns and carefully placed the flowers in a vase.

“There, they look lovely now, don’t they?”

“Glad you love them, Hon.”

************ Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2014 ************