Red roses hid their ruffled heads between the leaves. Catching sight of the shy flowers, she threaded her age-spotted hand through the tangle. Her questing index finger brushed a velvet petal as a thorn pricked her thumb. Pain and blood, as red as the rose, welled up. As she withdrew her shaking hand to examine the wound, the greenway swirled around her, and she swayed.
Closing her eyes, she fought the dizzy spell. Perhaps leaving her medication at home had been a bad idea but it was too late now for regret. She leaned into the hedge avoiding the thorns and applied pressure to staunch the bleeding. It would stop in a moment.
Petals brushed against her knuckles, her face and the bits uncovered by her rags. Opening her eyes, she stared at her hand resting against the blood red rose. The age spots were gone, replaced by smooth skin unblemished by life, and unmarked by time. The wound had healed too leaving a thin red line behind, but it too faded away before her eyes.
Righting herself, she ran smooth fingers over an ageless face no longer wrinkled. She picked at the clip confining her hair and it tumbled down in a cascade of brown, not the white she’d pulled back hours before.
Was this all a beautiful hallucination? Or had she pricked her finger on a rose and regained her lost youth? Sidling over to a parked car, she glanced at her reflection in the side mirror. She gasped at the young woman staring back at her.
Dawn burned in the east, raising its brand between two brick buildings. And she headed into it, striding into a future she’d never expected to have.