The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
Anabelle was chosen for being special,
but every girl had been told that,
a waiting room full of them.
With her it turned out to be true . . .
“You’re next.” A stern female tone
summoned her and she stood, as if facing
a schoolmistress, waved into a second room by
the nurse as if she could have been anyone.
She couldn’t, though. Doctor Horne
specifically wanted special girls.
“I am delighted to meet you, little lady.
Tell me why you are here.”
A tall man. Imposing. A taker.
The kind who treated others badly.
Anabelle knew this in advance, sensed it,
yet meekly entered the chamber.
Climbing on a table, her gaze low.
Vulnerable in a drafty gown.
Curious. She wanted to know why as well.
“Mama sent me. I’m a handful.”
“That isn’t how she described it.
What the registration form indicates.
You are more than a mere handful,
aren’t you?” He bent eye to eye.
Anabelle nodded. The doctor’s orbs
glittered, his features sharp. Vicious.
“I want to see!” hissed the fellow.
It belonged to her. “No.”
An obstinate whisper of rebuke.
Jaws clenched, Ana strained to resist.
Activating a machine, the scientist
rolled it toward her. A meter spiked.
Anabelle stared at the dial.
Rigid, a thin child restrained her gift.
A pair of tight fists bled unnoticed.
Horne waited. Greedily.
The “little lady” discerned the tall man
meant to capture what made her unique.
This room was filled with equipment.
The table had metal cuffs.
“You’re not special.” Curt rejection.
He shut off the device. “Next!” A decree.
The words stung. She couldn’t help it.
She was only a kid. She had feelings.
“Don’t you mean next victim?”
Somewhere a window shattered. Voices
exclaimed in alarm or fright. A shock rattled.
Cracks fissured the ceiling and floor.
From her depths rose a column of
anger, a whirling funnel of pure wrath.
As much as she despised the doctor,
being examined by so many like him . . .
She hated being dismissed even more.
Not special? Anabelle intended to show
how very precious and important she was!
Her cyclone diced, wielding bits of glass.
Staining. A blast of raw emotion
cast a wave through the clinic.
The nurse smacked a wall, a broken doll.
Girls fled. She sat quietly.
As she always did in the aftermath.
Until Mother came to retrieve her.
Rescue her. And scold. “You promised.
I don’t know what to do with you!”
Anabelle rode in the backseat.
“I’m sorry, Mama. Please forgive me.”
“You say you are, and then you do this.
I can’t understand it, baby! Why?”
The terrible sobbing had to end.
Her mom would get it together and
calmly drive home. In the morning they
could start fresh — somewhere new.
And nobody spoke of her. Baffled.
Stunned or sympathetic. The conniptions
reported as mysterious damage, mayhem,
destruction. Unnatural disasters.
“It’s okay, Mama. It’ll be like before.
Just the two of us. No exam rooms.
No doctors and nurses. You don’t
need to worry. I’ll be good this time.”
Fiction © Copyright Lori R. Lopez
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from Lori R. Lopez:
A rich gathering of poetry with a dismal twilight atmosphere, a brooding nature, an eerie tone . . . DARKVERSE: THE SHADOW HOURS encompasses such pieces written by Lori R. Lopez between 2009 and 2017, collected in three of her Poetic Reflections volumes along with humorous and serious verse. This ample compendium allows a more focused reading experience and mood — presenting poems that share speculative themes, flashes of horror, glimpses of madness.
Lori is the author of THE DARK MISTER SNARK, LEERY LANE, MONSTROSITIES, AN ILL WIND BLOWS, THE FAIRY FLY, CHOCOLATE-COVERED EYES, JAR BABY, SAMHAIN, 3-Z, and SPIDER SOUP, among other tales. She has been called a storyteller, whether composing verse or prose.
The aim of her DARKVERSE series is to offer a chilling trek through unlit stretches where all manner of creeps and kooks may lurk; where graveyards and bogs and full-moons abound. The pages of THE SHADOW HOURS illuminate those morbid uncanny perils and dreads that inhabit drab corners, the known and unknown terrors of the night. Vivid and distinct, her voice echoes our worst fears then delves beyond, exposing hitherto unimaginable frights.
Prepare to confront a motley array of ghouls and menaces that might just move under your bed.
Look for an Illustrated Print Edition with quirky art by the author.
Be sure to check out the other fantastic events and people participating in
Women in Horror Month 9