The Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author Stephanie Ayers @theauthorSAM @Darc_Nina #LoH #fiction

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!

Image_02_July2021

When the Cows Come Home
by Stephanie Ayers

There’s something inside that mountain. It was bigger than it looked and took three days to get to, but that was only if you had the means to go directly to it over any terrain. We didn’t, of course, but that didn’t stop my grandfather from taking apart his old tractor, hiding a torpedo launcher inside of it, setting it in the middle of his field like a heavy, abandoned carcass, and pointing it at the mountain. 
He never told us why, only repeated “When the cows come home” over and over.
Grandpa had never owned any cows, and his farm had never been a dairy farm. It had only ever grown crops, so everyone, including my grandma, thought he was a few rocks short of a quarry, but he never seemed to care. He’d just smile and say, “You’ll see.” 
Grandpa always watched from the back porch, something else he built by hand that faced that mountain. We never understood his fascination with the mountain but never questioned it, either. Grandpa was a man of many quirks. He was either loved for them or people avoided him altogether, which suited him just fine. He always watched, and when he died, the surveillance became the task of his grandsons. 
It was my turn to watch over the field. 
Something moved around in that mountain. Even through all the distance, I heard the moos and unearthly snarls that reminded me of a very hungry, very pissed off cow. As the mooing grew louder, I realized the source of the noise had gotten closer. I ran to that old tractor, flipped the switch on the back, and waited. A hum filled the air, and a strong wind knocked me down. The torpedo slid from the tractor and slammed into the mountain. Fire lit the horizon, and that’s when I saw it. A cow, looking as normal as any other cow except for the frothing at the mouth and its demonic red eyes, charged toward me with inhuman speed.
It took my feet first so I couldn’t run, before working its teeth up my legs. Another cow joined in, hungrier than the first one, its pointed teeth tearing into my belly and feasting on my entrails. As the cow bit through my heart, my brain finally realized what my grandfather knew all along.
The cows had finally come home.
Fiction © Copyright Stephanie Ayers
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

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More from author Stephanie Ayers:

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A Sudden Flutter of Wings

Something strange is happening in Ruppert Hills, Missouri and it’s up to news reporter Kate Chisholm to get to the bottom of it.

When a body turns up in an old grain mill, something sinister begins to haunt her dreams, and no one is willing to tell her why. As her investigation leads her to the Trail of Tears and an old Indian shaman, and she mysteriously turns up pregnant, things get even stranger.

Is the baby she carries the key to the mystery shrouding Ruppert Hills or are they all doomed to the evil arising?

Available on Amazon!

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Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author Rie Sheridan Rose @RieSheridanRose @darc_nina #LoH #fiction

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!

Image_01_July2021Shredded
by Rie Sheridan Rose

She found it in the back corner of a dusty junk shop. She almost missed it—a collection of ancient Playboys sat half obscuring it—but something made her turn back. Moving the magazines out of the way, she looked down at her find in amazement. It was a rare thing to find one of the old typewriters still in the wild these days, much less one of the old round key models. A piece of yellowed paper was rolled into the machine, and she idly pecked out THE QUICK BROWN FOX JUMPS OVER THE LAZY DOG.
“Why, would you look there!” came a startled voice from the front of the store near the big bay window. “I declare, I haven’t seen a fox in these parts for a coon’s age.”
She blinked. Had to be coincidence…
THERE IS A HUNDRED DOLLAR BILL UNDER THE TYPEWRITER.
Surreptitiously, heart pounding in her throat, she lifted the machine. The corner of a hundred dollar bill stuck out from beneath another one of the Playboys. She snatched it up.
“H-how much is this?” she asked the old man at the cluttered counter reading a newspaper. 
“That ol’ thing?” He considered. “I’ll let you have it for $20.”
“I’ll take it!” Lifting her prize, she carried it to the counter and handed him the hundred.
“Lord. Hope I can change that…”
It seemed to take him eons to open the register and dig out three worn twenties, a ten, and two fives. He handed her the bills, and she grabbed them, grunting a thank you.
When she arrived home, she set the typewriter in a place of honor at the kitchen table. The yellowed paper was full of test sentences, so she replaced it with a sheet of printer paper, tossing the old page into the shredder from habit. The ribbons of yellowed paper looked rather pathetic as they joined the crisp white strands in the basket.
I HAVE INHERITED A MILLION DOLLARS.
Wait. That might be too obscure a test to make sure it was working…
THERE ARE THREE DIET DR PEPPERS IN THE FRIDGE. 
She knew for a fact there weren’t, because that was where she had been going before she got distracted by the junk shop.
She ran to the fridge and pulled open the door. Still no Dr Pepper. What was wrong with the—Christ! What if the magic was in the paper?
Fiction © Copyright Rie Sheridan Rose
Image courtesy of
Pixabay.com

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Overheard in Hell:
Dark Poetry

Poems exploring hell and damnation. Tales of sorrow, vengeance, betrayal, and redemption. Ghosts, ghouls, and demons stalk these pages. Don’t read in a lonely house…in a darkened room by a single candle…

…unless you like the touch of an icy finger up your spine.

Available on Amazon!

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Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author Kendra Hale @DevourAllWords @Darc_Nina #LoH #fiction

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!

Image_04_July2021

St. Sejobrakel
by Kendra Hale

The highest bidder is so cliche,sometimes it is not all about money, not about what we can gain. Though we may try to be innocent in this life someone will always have a grievance and here at  St. Sejobrakel that is what we use to barter with. Whomever has the greatest grievance holds sway over your soul and how your ending will manifest. We have been around for scores of years, never having to work in the quiet and silence as our members range over the span of the classes and hold any and every job the spectrum has. 
From Baristas to Drive -Thru workers all the way up to assisting leaders of countries and their wives… those who have wanted our services have always had an open door if they have known where to look. It isn’t always death that is the service sought…sometimes it is as simple as a tit for tat scenario where justice and equality, the balancing of right can happen. Whether big or small, life is about balance and our board of directors wants to ensure that your voice is heard and that the balance is held up above all. 
We want you to feel safe in getting justice for your grievances and clean up is never on you, the client. We only ask that you arrive at your appointment to stake your claim and fulfill your action plan chosen by you. We handle the rest, with no extra cost to you. No questions asked.
Fiction © Copyright Kendra Hale
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

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More from author Kendra Hale:

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Just Emotions:
A Gothic Bite Magazine Anthology

A collection of poetry.

 Available on Amazon!  

 

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Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author Linda Lee Rice @darc_nina #LoH #fiction

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!

Image_03_July2021Beyond the Darkness
by Linda Lee Rice

The carnival is in my sleepy little town, and I have waited months for it to arrive. The smell of popcorn, candy apples, and the calls of the barkers as they try to get the marks to spend money. 
The carvinal was here last year and that is where I met him. Hair as blonde as the sun, eyes as blue as the sky, and a seductive voice that whispered sweet nothings in my ears. I didn’t recognize evil in the handsome disguise.
I admit I was an innocent girl when we first met but that soon changed beyond the darkness. I thought he loved me and would ask me to leave with him. But, alas, the carnival packed up its freaks, carny games, and barkers and slipped away in the night.
Nine months later, I gave birth to…something. It couldn’t be called a baby because it was beast like in appearance and there was no soul behind its eyes. The town shunned me, turned it’s back on me, especially when I killed the monstrosity.
The doctors declared me insane and put me in the asylum. Medicating me to calm my demons they said, but I know only one demon. So, I have escaped, palming my medication for the past couple of days, acting calm so I would escape notice. 
I slit the turnkeys throat with the knife I stole. Sharpening it on the stone windowsill while waiting, waiting, waiting for the carnival. I’ve made my escape using the keys, releasing the other inmates. In the confusion, I slipped away, my knife still dripping. The carnival calls to me and I am answering the call.
Ahhh, my love, I’m coming for you!
Fiction © Copyright Linda Lee Rice.
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
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More about Linda Lee Rice:

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Linda Lee Rice aka Ruzicka has poetry published in Twilight Times, Dark Krypt, Fables, Descending Darkness, Writing Village, Spine, and Page, Muses Gallery, Bloodbond, Lycan Valley Press Publishers, Alban Lake, Highland Park Poetry, Rosette Maleficarum, The Siren’s Call, Edify Fiction and the June Cotner anthology, “House Blessings” and “Garden Blessings

She has short stories published in The Grit, and Reminisce, Haunted Encounters: Friends and Family, FrostFire Worlds. Plus, a personal essay at Mamalode. She also has various articles and blogs published online as a freelance writer.

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Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author Michelle Joy Gallagher @Aphelia @darc_nina #LoH #fiction

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!

Image_02_July2021

Seed
by Michelle Joy Gallagher

The wind whipping through the field formed a low howl that made Elena think of a wounded animal. She was something wounded too. The blood had been dry on her face and neck for a few hours now, but it felt tacky when the skin moved. She’d taken a break from digging, her hands throbbing with newly formed callous, and leaned the shovel against an old tractor. She took a deep breath and eyed the place she had buried the combine harvester blade she’d found by sheer luck in the old shed. It was rusted and covered in a thin sheen of blood she’d tried to wipe off on the underside of her skirt.  
The hole was about 3 feet deep now and subtly oblong. Not deep enough.  
When Hank threw her down the stairs she lost the baby. She sobbed in a heap on the landing, bleeding through her gown. Hank stomped into their bedroom and slammed the door. When he finally managed to get out of bed the next day, Elena still lay where she’d fallen, too faint from grief and blood loss to move. 
“Get your ass up! Ain’t no seed can grow in a fallow field anyway don’t you know that?”
Elena wailed, and Hank softened a bit.  
“Come on, pigeon. Get cleaned up. We already missed the morning service.” 
She had gone to the shed for a rope to hang herself. The harvester blade was leaning against the back wall.  
“The fuck you doing out here?? Didn’t I tell you to get cleaned up?”  
“I’m sorry, I…” Elena’s hand wrapped around the blade as he interrupted her. 
“I’m sorry? That’s all you gotta say always! If you just did what I –“ 
Elena swung wide. Hank’s tirade was interrupted by the harvester blade biting into the side of his throat. He gargled and spat and reached impotently toward Elena. She stepped backward and let him fall on his face in front of her.  
She smiled down at his body, laying beside the hole she’d been digging. 
“This field ain’t fallow, Hank. You’ll make a fine seed.”
Fiction © Copyright Michelle Joy Gallagher
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

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More from author Michelle Joy Gallagher:
blkhwkBlackhawk: Volume 2

Welcome to Blackhawk, Colorado. Blackhawk has always been strange. Natural disasters. Disappearances. Murders. High strangeness is a part of daily life. We can’t hope to explain it, but we can chronicle its past. Learn from it. Fear it. Blackhawk is an experimental fiction series set in a shared universe, written by a variety of talented authors. It is the brainchild of David M Brown (Plague Doctor, Modern Animals) and Carl D Smith (Moleb the Giant, Darkness Out of Carthage). Each story will contribute to an organic, evolving mythology as diverse as the voices behind its tales. For fans of True Detective, Lost Highway, Twilight Zone, and The Terror. This is Volume Two of the series and contains five stories by five different authors, each in tune with the specific strangeness Blackhawk has to offer. NOTE: For fans of Lake Lord Publishing’s prior horror titles, be warned that Blackhawk will contain content that is perhaps more disturbing and mature.

Available on Amazon!

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Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author Angela Yuriko Smith @AngelaYSmith @darc_nina #LoH

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!

Image_01_July2021

The High Price of Art
by Angela Yuriko Smith

The trick she told him
is to stay in your seat and write.
Only when you type
The End can you stop.
He could only blame himself.
He wanted a book.
She promised results.
Life Editor, her card said.
to keep you on task.
Guaranteed results—
I will kill all your darlings.
She had been upfront.
And her process worked.
Fueled by coffee and terror
he wrote for three days.
Her knife at his back…
she was his terrible muse.
The pages stacked up
with his excitement.
The sacrifice was worth it—
a book finally done.
The last page rolled in.
The last paragraph typed out.
His book, accomplished.
He smiled and tapped out
The En . The ink failed! The En .
Then, she ended him.
Fiction © Copyright Angela Yuriko Smith
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com.

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More from Angela Yuriko Smith:

Angela Yuriko Smith is an American poet, author and co-publisher of Space and Time magazine, a publication that has been printing speculative fiction, art and poetry since 1966. Together we build a poem as a community each month. Visit “Exquisite Corpse” at SpaceandTime.net to submit.

Catch up with Angela here!

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Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author Alex Grehy @indigodreamers @darc_nina #LoH #fiction

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!

Image_04_July2021

Did You Ever Wonder…
by Alex Grehy

Did you ever wonder why
it’s always breezy
when you walk between
skyscrapers?
Did you ever wonder what made that gale?
Did you ever wonder why
it’s always cool
when you stand in the lea of
skyscrapers?
Did you ever wonder what brought about that chill? 
Did you ever wonder where
the city’s spirits went,
after death from suicide
and accidents? 
Did you ever wonder where they go to haunt?
Ghosts of jumpers fall,
Fall like eternal rain.
Ghosts of workers rush,
rush like eternal wind.
Ghosts splash on the sidewalks,
Rise and start again. 
Did you ever wonder?
You will now.
Fiction © Copyright Alex Grehy
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

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More from author Alex Grehy:

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After a lifetime of writing technical non-fiction, Alex Grey is fulfilling her dream of writing poems and stories that engage the reader’s emotions. Her work has been featured by a wide range of publications including Siren’s Call, Raconteur, Bookends Review, and Toasted Cheese. One of her comic poems is also available via a worldwide network of public fiction dispensers managed by French publisher, Short Edition. Her ingredients for contentment are narrow boating, greyhounds, singing and chocolate. It is a sweet life, yet Alex’ original view of the world has led to her best friend to say ‘For someone so lovely, you’re very twisted!

Please click here to discover more!   

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Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author Christina Sng @ChristinaSng @darc_nina #LoH #fiction

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!


Image_03_July2021The Carnival
by Christina Sng

The carnival was closed
But the monsters remained—
Sitting in the shadows
Waiting for the stragglers,
The lost, the homeless.
They waited for Yelena
Who stayed out
To avoid her father
Even when her friends
Reluctantly left her
As the sun slowly sank
Into shadows.
She felt safer at the carnival
Than at home,
Even with the monsters,
Even with the shadows.
She stayed quietly
Until she melded
Into the metal plates
That made up the rides,
The fairy floss machines
Rich with rainbow color,
Sugar speckles splattered
Around the enclosure,
Giant stuffed animals
Lined up as prizes,
Smiling, happy,
Exuding sheer joy.
The tarot cards
And the crystal balls
Telling a version
Of her future that shone—
These were the pulsing
Heart of the carnival
While the monsters
Folded between shadows
Were its teeth, its maw,
Its flesh, and its stomach.
Yelena seeped
Into the shadows,
Becoming one of them.
Now, no one could touch her.
No more beatings,
No more screaming.
Here, she was safe.
And here, she was powerful.
Fiction © Copyright Christina Sng
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com.

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More from Christina Sng:

A Collection of Nightmares

Hold your screams and enter a world of seasonal creatures, dreams of bones, and confessions modeled from open eyes and endless insomnia. Christina Sng’s A Collection of Nightmares is a poetic feast of sleeplessness and shadows, an exquisite exhibition of fear and things better left unsaid. Here are ramblings at the end of the world and a path that leads to a thousand paper cuts at the hands of a skin carver. There are crawlspace whispers, and fresh sheets gently washed with sacrifice and poison, and if you’re careful in this ghost month, these poems will call upon the succubus to tend to your flesh wounds and scars.
These nightmares are sweeping fantasies that electrocute the senses as much as they dull the ache of loneliness by showing you what’s hiding under your bed, in the back of your closet, and inside your head. Sng’s poems dissect and flower, her autopsies are delicate blooms dressed with blood and syntax. Her words are charcoal and cotton, safe yet dressed in an executioner’s garb.
Dream carefully.
You’ve already made your bed.
The nightmares you have now will not be kind.
And you have no one to blame but yourself.

Available on Amazon!

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Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author Sonora Taylor @sonorawrites @Darc_Nina #LoH #fiction

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!

Image_02_July2021

The Untended Field
by Sonora Taylor

We’ve all seen the untended field on the side of the road. We wonder if it’s truly wild, or if it’s merely an extension of a long-forgotten farm. We imagine the farmer sitting on their porch, sipping lemonade and watching the sun set over rows of golden grasses blowing in the wind.
It’s easier to imagine the farmer than it is to think the field grows wild and perfect on its own. For if the field can take care of itself, what else can it do on its own?
Can the field till its own soil, be born anew with its fertilizer of choice? Does it close in on people exploring its vastness so that they can never get out, even when they walk in a straight line like their well-meaning elders told them to do to avoid getting lost?
Can a field survive with only rain, sun, and soil? Or does the soil need the bones of any living thing to maintain its flourish? People no longer turn to dust the way they once did thanks to coffins and urns. Maybe the field in its untamed state seeks to tame those who would dare to not follow their end of the bargain.
All it takes is a stone out of place, a hole supposedly dug by a gopher, for people running wild in a field to fall and crumple beneath the golden grasses, to quietly return to dirt and let the grasses flourish in their stead.
It’s all it takes. It’s all the field wants.
But it’s easier to think the field is owned by someone, a benevolent farmer as opposed to the flora that will do what it takes to survive.
Go ahead. Believe it.
The field is waiting either way.
Fiction © Copyright Sonora Taylor
Image courtesy of  Pixabay.com

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More from Sonora Taylor:

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Abby Gillman has discovered that with growing up, there comes a lot of blood. But nothing prepares her for the trail of blood she sees in the hallway after class – or the ghost she finds crammed inside an abandoned locker.

No one believes Abby, of course. She’s only seeing things. As much as Abby wants to be believed, what she wants more is to know why she can suddenly see the dead. Unfortunately, they won’t tell her. In fact, none of them will speak to her. At all.

Abby leaves for her annual summer visit to her uncle’s house with tons of questions. The visit will give her answers the ghosts won’t – but she may not like what she finds out.

Available on Amazon!

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Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author K.R. Morrison @KRMorrison2 @darc_nina #LoH #fiction

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!

Image_01_July2021

Anti-Muse
K.R. Morrison

She’d found the old typewriter at a dingy antique store in a more questionable part of the French Quarter. The proprietor had let it go for a song. It was one of her prized possessions.
Now she was pounding away at the keyboard, finishing up what she thought would be the Steamy Romance of the Century. No computer for her—she preferred the labor of hitting the keys of her old Royal. Fast enough to keep up with her mind, but not so fast that the keys would stick across the typewriter ribbon. That took finesse.
She was nearing the finish line. After “He ran to her outstretched arms,” however, she had to screech to a stop.
No maudlin, everyday finish would suffice. She got up and went to the kitchen for a cup of tea as she thought about what kind of fantastic finish she would give her best-seller.
Upon her return to her desk, she sat down and flexed her fingers, ready to begin again. A perfect ending had occurred to her somewhere between the teakettle and the hallway, and she was eager to get it down on paper before it could take flight.
To her dismay, however, she saw that the keys had somehow gotten tangled up in the ribbon. She was perplexed; surely, she had not whacked the keys as she had gotten up for her refreshment?
As she gently untangled them, a line of type caught her eye. It was not one she had written:
“And he bashed her head in.”
Her heart leaped into her throat. Who had written this? She looked around the room in alarm.
The doors were locked, the windows were not open. If there was someone here causing mischief, where were they?
“Hmmm,” she thought to herself, “maybe I was just not paying attention, and the anti-Muse kicked in. The one that doesn’t want me to finish this.”
She opened her desk drawer and searched for the typewriter eraser she just knew was in there somewhere. As she bent her head to the task, she suddenly heard something that froze her where she sat.
Tap. Tap. Taptaptap.
She looked up, and could only stare as the keys pounded out a line, slowly and deliberately, on their own. No hand to the board, no presence behind her.
The line read: “Her head came down on the keyboard…,” then the keys stopped their sinister clacking.
A smash against the back of her head, and darkness eternal.
They keys tapped out one more line.
“And then she died. The End.”
Fiction © Copyright K.R. Morrison
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com.

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