The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
Gus was always finding things on his late night walks. Sometimes, they’d be something he needed, like the time he found a brand-new pair of work boots just sitting there on a rock. The way he told it, they were illuminated by the moon as if they were in one of them fancy stores. And of course they fit him perfectly, just like they’d been custom-made.
Other times, though, Gus found things that I wished he hadn’t brought home, like the time he found a bird skeleton. Raven, most likely. It gave me the willies, because I don’t take to having dead things in my house. They’re like an invitation for more dead things to come, make themselves all comfy and then refuse to leave. Unless you offer them something they’ve been cravin’, I s’pose.
Then again, I don’t know all that much about these things. Gus does, though. Gus certainly does. Otherwise, why would he take all those late night walks out toward the old dried-up river bed? That place gives me the willies. Big time. Guess it’s ’cause I know more’n I want to about those things.
Then Gus finds something real special that he wants to show me. “It’s too big to bring home in the truck, Myrna. Just too big,” he says. So I agree to go out to that dried river bed. Jus’ lookin’ at it makes my skin feel all dried up and cracked, but marriage is all about give and take, and I promised I’d be the best wife I could be. More or less.
Willies or no, I climbed up into Gus’ old beat-up truck and we drove out there. You can imagine my surprise once we passed through the copse of trees at the end of our property line. Water was flowing across that river bed and the barren trees were lush and green.
“Told ya,” Gus said with a smirk. “Too big to toss in the truck.”
We just sat there for the longest time, watching the water flow down what used to be a barren mountain and into the river. There was a full moon that night, and it was awful pretty. Gus even put his arm around my shoulders, pulled me close. He hadn’t done that since we lost the twins. Come to think of it, that was around the time the river dried up.
There was a part of me that knew down in my bones that it wasn’t real, that it couldn’t be real. No way no how that mountain had a lick of snowmelt or anything else that could’ve filled that river, but I enjoyed it just the same.
The river must have soothed me to sleep because I woke up in the middle of the night; that moon, that full moon still shinin’ somethin’ fierce. Gus was nowhere to be seen. He must have gone to answer nature’s call, and I needed to do the same.
When I tried to climb outta the truck, though, I was all weighed down and couldn’t budge an inch. At first, I thought my legs had just fallen asleep, so I rubbed ’em a bit, waited for Gus to come back, take us home for a nice hot breakfast. My stomach grumbled like thunder at the thought.
The truck shifted a bit, then began to tilt toward the water. Leave it to Gus to park too close to the water’s edge. “You come get me out of this here truck, Gus!” I yelled, but not a sound came out of my mouth. My legs were still asleep. My arms, too. Then it dawned on me that something just wasn’t right about all this.
And then I saw Gus just standing there by the copse of trees, whispering somethin’ under his breath, wavin’ one of those raven feathers he’d taken to keeping in that leather pouch around his neck. It was so beautiful shimmering under the full moon’s light. Mesmerizing as he waved it back-and-forth.
And then just like that, the river was gone, the truck righted itself, and I was able to clamber out onto the cracked earth, releasing the scent of rust and decay.
“What’d you think, Myrna?” he grinned.
I wanted to give him a piece of my mind . . . until I saw the expression in his eyes.
It wasn’t Gus lookin’ back at me. No way, no how. It was just one of those things he had found out on his moonlit walks.
Fiction © Copyright Terrie Leigh Relf
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from author Terrie Leigh Relf:
For thousands of Earth years, the Transgalactic Consortium has had a quiet interest in this planet and its inhabitants, the Haurans. While the Sisterhood of the Blood Moon works together with the Consortium and Haurans to maintain balance in the universe, the Blood Moon is fast approaching. The power of this moon reveals untold secrets . . . including a sacred covenant with the Mora Spiders. There is an ancient pact that needs to be honored—but at what cost and for whose purpose? The world may come to an end. But will there be a chance for a new beginning?