A fairy-tale; without fairies.
Atop a hill, over looking the city of Goodwin, stood a single, solitary black rose.
It's petals would shimmer in the sunlight, and when the wind blew, they danced to the tune of the wind.
Sat next to the rose was a large wolf. It's fur was shaggy and brown. His ears were always pricked; this rose was very precious.
The wolf yawned, bearing its impressive set of teeth. He gently nudged the rose and set off down the hill towards the nearby woods.
The canopy was thick, allowing only trickles of sunlight to pass.
The wolf followed the much warn path that snaked through the woods towards the city.
He made this journey every day.
He would sit by the path, in a clearing on the outskirts of the forest. Here he would wait, as he would everyday.
His ears once again pricked. From behind him, in the forest came the sound of a child singing.
The wolf turned and trotted towards the sound. He stopped far enough away so that the child would not see him.
It was a young girl with blonde pigtails and a stripy blue dress.
She was picking flowers from the forest floor.
She picked a few, put them in her basket and skipped away. She continued to do this as she passed through the forest.
The wolf followed as close as he could.
Before long she had reached the other side. The child looked up at the small hill ahead of her.
With a hop, skip and a jump, she began to climb the hill.
The wolf now felt very uneasy. He must not show himself to the child, but he must not let the child take the rose.
It was no use; he had to protect the rose.
The child had reached the top of the hill. She saw the beautiful black rose and gasped.
She knelt before it and sniffed.
"This is beautiful," she said, unaware that a very large, shaggy haired wolf was behind her.
The wolf gave out a low growl, as if to announce his presence.
The girl turned, dropping her basket. "Oh my. Please don't..."
The wolf cocked his head to one side. He moved towards the rose, nuzzled it and sat by its side.
The girl was still stood. She smiled at the wolf.
"It's beautiful, isn't it?"
The wolf looked at the girl and then at her basket. The girls expression changed to one of fear.
"Oh no. Oh my. I would never pick that rose. It is far too beautiful."
"This used to be a meadow, full of black roses," said the wolf.
The girl was astonished. She sat by him. He continued.
"Then the people found them, and picked them all," he looked at the rose longingly. "This is the last one and I will not see it gone."
The girl reached out a hand and stroked the wolf. He rather enjoyed this, but would not let on. He decided she was kind do let her continue doing so.
"Why do you protect the rose?" the girl asked.
The wolf sighed. "If this rose disappears, I will have nothing beautiful to look upon."
The girl wore a curious expression.
"I have seen you, you know. " she smiled. "Everyday you wait at the edge of the forest. Why?"
The wolf sat upright. He was almost as tall as the girl.
"I try to make sure nobody gets through the forest to the rose. You're the first person." he said.
The girl smiled. The wolf nuzzled In to her.
A friendship was born. The seasons came and went. The two would spend many days and hours together.
The wolf saw the girl grow up. He listened intently as she regained tales of the first boy she kissed. He was there when the same boy broke her heart.
As a young lady, he shared her joy at graduation. The two were as close as a lady and a wolf could be.
All the while, they watched the black rose.
Many more summers came and went. The wolf was now an old man. The girl was now married; she had two lovely children who adored the wolf.
It was a bright spring morning. The lady made it to the top of the hill. But the wolf was nowhere to be seen. She looked down the other side of the hill.
The wolf, tired and weary crept up the hill.
He passed the lady, his eyes full of sadness.
He turned his head to look upon the lady.
She knew. Her heart, usually filled with joy was now suddenly scarred with sadness.
The wolf lay his body on the ground. He looked at the lady and sighed. "A wolf is cursed with knowing when it is his time," his eyes now filling with tears.
"No," she gasped.
"Please look after our beautiful Rose," he whispered. He bowed his head and closed his eyes.
The lady placed her head by his. She closed her eyes tight and could hear as the last breath of the wolf crept out.
She turned away from the wolf.
Her eyes stung. Tears flowed. Her stomach convulsed as she was gripped with sorrow.
She looked upon the rose. Suddenly it shook and started to wither.
"Please no. Please don't..." she was beside herself.
Her tears fell to the ground. Her sobbing unrelenting. Her heart was broken.
She got to her feet. She looked beside her; the wolf was gone.
As she looked about the meadows, she rubbed her eyes.
A sea of shimmering black greeted her. Hundreds upon hundreds of black roses sat in the fields.
They shimmered in the spring sunshine.
Many moons passed.
A young girl climbed the hill and sat. She admired the sea of black before her.
Suddenly, she heard the ground crack.
A beautiful black rose climbed from the Earth. It was just as beautiful as the first.
She felt a breath on her neck. She turned around and was face to face with a big brown wolf with a shaggy coat.
"Your Grandmother loved this spot," said the wolf.
The girl smiled.