The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
by Nina D’Arcangela
The clack of patent leather shoes could be heard racing up the wooden staircase. Round and round she ran until the thwack of tiny feet came to an abrupt stop on the fourth floor. As father’s pen scratched across the papers that finalized the purchase of the property, Reny’s fate was sealed as she spotted a small stairwell set in a far corner, its door open only a crack. She approached it with all the trepidation that could be expected of a precocious nine year old – bow tails, and locks trailing behind her, her favored Teddy held tight to her chest, she dashed to the door and threw it wide. Glancing up the rickety stairs, she hesitated for a moment, then began to creep up the shadowy risers while imagining that she alone would be the one to find a special, hidden room.
The dark ascending flight ended at a tiny landing barely large enough to accommodate her size two Mary Janes. She could see light as it spilled from the gaps surrounding the ill fitting door in front of her. As she wrapped her hand around the ornate glass knob, she could hear the echo of her father walking through the grand foyer mumbling politely with the white haired lady who’d sold them the house. Turning back to the threshold that barred her way, Reny gave the diamond-cut knob a twist, a shove, then finally a good, hard tug. The glass ball and metal stem came free of their housing and almost sent the poor child tumbling backwards. A small screech escaped her lips before she could capture it. Luckily, her father was either too preoccupied or too far away to hear it. As the door swung open, rainbow colored light filled the space and her fright from a moment before was all but forgotten. A large alcove with glowing glass panes caught her full attention. She raced toward it and skidded to a stop in the dust just before the sill.
Outside, and well below, she could see her father walking the elderly woman to her car. She started tapping the panels and waving her arms to catch her fathers eye, but it was no use – he simply couldn’t hear her. In her haste and excitement, Reny threw open the window and stepped onto the balcony. Proud of her find, she shouted again for her father’s attention and took a single step forward. She never heard the crack of rotted wood, nor did she feel her toe dip as her body began to pitch forward.
From the ground, her father watched in horror knowing there was nothing he could do to stop Reny’s advance. Her beautiful yellow dress – the one they’d picked out just for the occasion – a near match to the painted clapboard background. It was to be a fresh start, a place to learn to enjoy life again after the loss of her mother.
Teddy still clutched in her hand, Renata Mueller hung impaled on the ornate iron railing that decorated the front of her father’s new home; her bow tails and locks fluttering in the gentle breeze.
Fiction © Copyright Nina D’Arcangela
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from Nina D’Arcangela:
It’s time to let the monsters loose!
For this book, we collected stories of monsters doing epic battle with other monsters! The beasts could be classical by design with a unique twist, or they could be spawned straight from the author’s imagination. The only rule: there must be a clear-cut winner at the end of each story; one of the creatures had to die!
Some of the stories in this collection pit a single monster against another, while others are all-out gang warfare. Some are campy, some serious, but all a fight for the ages!
It’s time to get your game face on for twelve tales worthy of the title Monster Brawl!
**No monsters were hurt in the writing of these stories**