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“It’s pink.” The first girl argued, tilting her head slightly to the right to get a better look at the glossy photograph hanging on the wall.
“Are you blind? It’s most definitely purple.” The boy beside her pointed to the object in question that hung before them.
“Whatever the color is, it’s not normal.” The girl replied, turning her attention away from the image to examine the paint peeling off her sharp square-tipped nails.
The boy continued to stare at the object in the picture. The two of them had been walking down Winter Street when the picture caught his eye. It looked upon first glance like a poster for a missing pet, but as the boy looked closer, it appeared to be some kind of wanted sign. The picture held the smiling face of a young girl with gorgeous emerald eyes. Her hair was a shimmery chocolate brown and her green shirt tugged down at the sides of her shoulders as if it was just a few sizes too big. The only odd thing about the girl was the color of her skin. It was a mix between pink and purple as the two friends had been debating before.
“Do you think she’s hot or something?” The girl scoffed, already starting to walk away from the poster.
“Of course your mind would go to that.” The boy admonished, starting to follow his companion down the sidewalk. But, in the last second, the boy ripped the poster from its hanging place and shoved it into his pocket before the girl could notice.
As he ran to catch up with his friend, the smell of spring flowers wafted to his nose and he stopped to take in the pleasing aroma. The girl appeared to have smelled it as well as she exchanged glances with the boy. The two of them moved suddenly closer together as if pushed by some invisible wind.
“That’s weird. It smells like flowers but we’re in the middle of New York in the dead of winter.” The boy voiced his thoughts, pulling his heavy jacket over his shoulders as a fierce wind gusted by as if to prove his point.
“Yeah it is weird. It’s probably a florist or something. Man I’m starving! Let’s just get a hotdog and head back to my place.” The girl answered, giving the deserted streets one last sweeping glance before taking up the lead again.
The boy nodded in agreement and as he stuck his hands into his pocket, he felt a sudden warmth and feathery softness coming from the poster he had ripped down as his hands glided over it. He yelped in surprise and pulled his hand out immediately. The girl turned around and shot him a weird look.
“You ok?” She asked cautiously, looking for a bee or some explanation for his outcry.
“Yeah I just had a bug in my pocket or something.” The boy lied, not in the mood to hear her lecture him about his wild imagination.
“Ok whatever. Hey look there’s a food stand right here.” She pulled out a few wrinkled bills from her pocket and pointed to a steaming foil-covered hotdog in the window of the cart.
The boy shook his head to clear it of any hallucinations and stepped up next to the cart. Perhaps he was just imagining the heat in his pocket. He reached his hand back into his coat to test this theory and found the paper to once again feel soft like a flower petal and warm like the summer sun. Now he knew he wasn’t imagining it.
After he had dropped his friend off at her house, the boy took the paper out of his pocket as a wave of flowery sweetness blew across his nose. He put the paper to his nose and found the source of the smell. It was as if the material was made out of roses and daffodils. There wasn’t a phone number on the paper but in the bottom left corner in small 10-point font was a simple address: 441 Forest Street. The boy looked at the address again to make sure he’d read it correctly. He had never heard of such a street and he’d lived in New York his whole life. As he scratched his head in an attempt to remember if he’d ever heard of such a place before, his eyes fell on the street sign ahead of him.
He hadn’t noticed he’d been walking as he read the poster and as his eyes followed the words on the sign the hair on the back of his neck stood on end. In bold white lettering on the green sign were the words: Forest Street. Composing himself, the boy clenched the poster and turned onto the street.
It didn’t appear to be much different than any other street. The gray cracked asphalt of the road narrowed into a dimly-lit alleyway and the boy’s hand went to his cell phone in his jeans pocket. He knew enough about the city to be wary of dark places at night. He considered turning around but his curiosity got the better of him.
As he started down the street, the smell of sickeningly sweet flowers filled the air. He looked at the numbering on each door he passed. 435, 437, 439…the boy counted in his head. He stopped before the peeling green paint on door number 441 and examined the strange brass statue glued to the door knob. It was made out of some kind of metal that had the appearance of a butterfly’s wings that had been bent out of shape and elongated slightly. The boy raised his shaking hand and pressed the doorbell. The green door leapt out of the way almost immediately and a tall spindly woman with dark spectacles stood before him in the doorway. The smell of flowers nearly knocked him over as her perfume took hold of him.
“Welcome young child. We’ve been waiting.” She hissed in an almost wasp-like voice. Before the boy could utter a sound, he was yanked into the room by the hood of his jacket. He let out a scream that was quickly silenced. As his eyes were covered with a blindfold and his phone broken into pieces he could only curse himself for ever finding the poster. And as they say, its curiosity that killed the cat.