Black Orchid

You return home to discover a huge flower bouquet waiting for you, no card attached. Who is it from — and why did they send it to you?

When flowers are found on the living room table in a young lady’s home the questions asked are “who sent them?” and “why?” when they should be asking “Who are they?” and “How did they get in my home?”

This was no different for young Amelia when she arrived home from college. There they were sat plainly in the middle of the table, a trio of exotic black flowers, the variety of which she did not know. No note, so someone was either shy or careless, or both. Either way it didn’t matter to Amelia somebody out there liked her and for the moment she was going to enjoy the mystery, she gave a look out the window just in case her admirer was lurking. There was no one lingering around outside, in fact it was just a dull suburban street scene. Her flat mate’s car was absent indicating she was off with her partner, realising she had her digs to herself Amelia took the opportunity for a long soak in the tub. Bathroom privacy was an issue her as she’d discovered on her first weekend when due to a faulty lock her flatmate’s friend/partner walked in on her while she was conducting unladylike activity in the bathtub. Due to the initial embarrassment, Amelia had stuck to scrub ups in the skin and showering in the college gym so a night alone was a chance to be taken advantage of. She bounded upstairs to her room and produced her wash bag and dressing gown, crossed to the bathroom and filled the bath hot bubble filled water. Once filled, she undressed and slipped her gown on, nipped back to the kitchen to grab a small bottle of wine and a glass, give it time for the bath to reach the optimum temperature. After a search for the corkscrew she remembered her flat mate left it in her their room, so she wandered up to the room and found the corkscrew and returned to the bathroom, slipping her robe off as she did. Amelia double checked the door behind and turned to slide into the bath, as she faced the bath she screamed: floating on the top of the bathwater were the three black flowers from the living room. Panicked, she grabbed her dressing gown and hid her modesty and turned to the mirror and screamed again, stuck to the bathroom mirror was a polaroid photo of herself. Only whoever took it had cut out her eyes and mouth and turned them upside down. Adrenaline filled Amelia’s body and she fumbled with the door and staggered down the stairs, half crying and half screaming. At the foot of the stairs was another photo of her, this time her facial features were the right way up but her body had a photo shopped bullet wound in her forehead. Trying not to vomit through fear Amelia fumbled with the front door before she remembered save for her dressing gown she was totally naked. She ran into the living room and gasped, the flowers were back where they were before. How had that happened, were there more flowers? If so, why put them in her bathtub? How and… that a sicken thought dawned on her. She had stepped foot in her own room… cautiously she dressed herself in her gown, edged up the stairs and pushed her bedroom door open…

It was exactly how she had left it, bed made, tea cup from earlier still on the bedside table. Amelia let a deep sign of relief and returned to the bathroom, the photo was missing as were the flowers. Phantasmagoria? Had she let her imagination run away with her? Feeling a little more calm, she let her robe slide to the floor and dipped herself into the warm waters of her bath and drifted off to sleep.

She woke with a start, the bath now cold and the house dark, surely her flat mate would have woken her up. She noted the water was suddenly thick, black and oily and claimed out of the bath and switched on the light. She screamed; she was covered in blood and the bath tub was filled with bloody water, on the bathroom floor lay the severed head of her room mate. Feeling sick she ran down the stairs, opened the front door and staggered into the street, not caring about how she looked. Two men were looking at her concerned, she ran to them and passed out at their feet muttering “she’s dead”.

“Any ideas?” Asked Inspector Dean as to the forensic team.

“Teenage girl comes running out naked into the street screaming someone was dead, guys go in find the place a total mess,” answered the officer. “I found these though.” He produced three wilted flowers.

“What are they?” asked Dean.

“I believe they are what are erroneously called ‘Black Orchids’, they are South American flowers which on germination expel a pollen which is a powerful hallucinogenic if inhaled right away.”

“Why would a teenage girl be sent these?”

“No idea,” replied the forensic officer.

“Will she be ok?”

“She’ll recover. When she does, perhaps she can explain why.”

Amelia’s twitching unconscious body was now dressed in a hospital night gown and being carried onto an ambulance. Dean shock his head, why subject a young girl to this? He became a ware of some one standing behind him, he turned and saw a young auburn haired woman stood in front of him.

“What’s happened to Amelia?” she asked. “I’m her roommate.” She added as explanation.

“Drink spiked we think,” answered Dean. “Don’t why though, miss?

“Mrs,” corrected the woman, “Mrs. Emma Peel.”

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