The Ladies of Horror
by Suzanne Madron
“Are you connected?”
“To what?” he asked. He didn’t take his eyes off the curling mist emerging from where the ocean had once been. What had started out as a walk along the beach had become much more complicated in a matter of minutes.
“I suppose we’re all connected in some way. To something.”
He nodded. “Yes, that, too.”
“Does it scare you?”
Still he watched the cloud of vapor, unable or unwilling to pull his gaze from it. It curled over the rocks, turning them wet and shiny black, polishing them before moving on. Toward him.
“Does what scare me?”
“The negative space.”
He squinted, searching his memories for where he knew the term. It seemed to fit in this situation, yet not fit at all. “I’m not afraid.”
He could feel a disapproving glance at his back and he winced. Something shifted in the mist. At first tendrils like reaching fingers pushed upwards, followed by larger columns of shapeless exploration. You are afraid, something said from the swirling cloud.
“Should I be afraid?” His voice shook as he said the words, as the mist swirled closer, now reaching toward him.
“Why are you afraid?”
A sigh from behind him and a tired chuckle. “All right, then. Of what are you afraid?”
He opened his mouth to answer, then shut it, considering. The mist paused, waiting for him to speak. Try as he might, he couldn’t move.
“I’m afraid of what I’ll see when I turn around.”
“And you fear what is before you.”
He nodded and swallowed hard as the mist began to swirl upward. The columns took on shape, a head, arms, legs. Everything told him to run before the mist could finish its becoming, but he was too terrified to turn around.
When the first being emerged, the spell holding him to the spot was at last broken. He turned and started to run, ignoring the laughter that echoed off the polished rocks. The owner of the voice appeared momentarily startled as he ran toward him, but only for a moment.
The intent had been to push the speaker out of his way, but instead he ran straight into him…. And through him.
He was already dispersing to the ocean winds as the speaker turned. As the man faced him, he was nothing more than wisps of fog. On the next breeze, he was a memory of negative space, a place where a person might once have stood before being returned to the mist.
Fiction © Copyright Suzanne Madron
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from Suzanne Madron:
The house across the street seems to go on the market every few months, but this time nothing about the sale is normal, including the new owners. No sooner has the for sale sign come down and the neighborhood is thrown into a Lovecraftian nightmare and the only way to find out is to attend the house warming party.
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