The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
“Tammy, wake up. We’re going to have some daylight today.”
Tammy shrugged Mark’s hand off her shoulder. “Leave me alone.”
“Come on, Tammy! We haven’t had daylight for almost a week. We need to get moving – find some food and water, maybe some other people.”
“Ugh, fine.” She rolled onto her back and held her arm up so Mark could help lift her from the dirty inflatable float on the floor.
They lit a couple of candles and shared one of their few remaining granola bars and a can of ginger ale. “Maybe we’ll find some candy bars today,” Tammy said, her stomach rumbling at the thought. “I could go for some chocolate.”
“Is that all?” Mark asked. “I’d kill for some hot coffee. And some pancakes, bacon, eggs…” They both knew that was impossible, but they could hope.
“Okay, we ready?” Tammy opened the door a crack, then slammed it when she heard the whispering sound right outside.
“Wait until it’s lighter out there. Then those things will slither back to where they hide.”
They sat on the floor, backs against the wall, waiting for the murky daylight to drive away the creatures. Finally, there was enough light outside for them to leave the beach shack. Tammy blew out the candles and the two of them headed outside.
It started with the lightning. Tammy and Mark were partying with their friends on the beach, drinking from a spiked watermelon in front of a bonfire, when black clouds suddenly filled the sky, sending bolts of electricity to the ground. The group scattered for shelter, screaming as intense light and crashes of thunder relentlessly pounded the beach.
Tammy and Mark ran to the shack, which held umbrellas, chairs, and floaties. Jeff and Kimber followed them in, but nobody else made it. The four of them huddled together, crying and shaking through the storm, screaming when lightning hit close by and explosions shook the building. Hours later it was over and everything was silent. And dark.
“Do you think it’s over?” Kimber asked.
“God, I hope so. That was brutal. I hope everyone else is okay. Maybe they went to their cars.” Mark stood up and looked out the window. “Jesus.”
Jeff joined him. “Holy shit.”
Fires burned everywhere. Beach houses, the pier, boats tied to the docks. A few bodies smoldered on the sand. “Christ. They didn’t make it to their cars.” The girls held each other and sobbed.
“I want to go home, Jeff. I need to see if my parents are okay. I can’t get a signal.” Kimber’s face glowed white from her cell phone.
“Yeah, okay.” Jeff helped her up from the floor. “You and Tammy coming, Mark?”
“Tammy? What do you think?”
“Hell, yes – take me home.”
Jeff and Kimber walked outside hand-in-hand. “Don’t look at them, Kimber.” She looked away from their friends as they stepped onto the beach. Then she fell into the sand.
“Hel p me up, Jeff!” He reached down for her hand, but fell next to her.
“What the fuck?” Jeff tried to get up, but felt something – some things – slither over his body, biting and stinging his skin. Kimber screamed and the two of them writhed underneath the creatures, choking on blood filling their mouths.
Mark pushed Tammy back inside and shut the door. “What happened to them, Mark? What were those things?”
“I don’t know. Christ, what is going on?”
They quickly realized that whatever slithered on the beach only came out in the dark. The day after the lightning came they were able to gather food and drinks from buildings that hadn’t burned down once there was daylight. When they opened the door, Tammy sobbed at the sight of her friends’ ravaged bodies. Mark covered them with beach towels from the shack. But the creatures were gone.
As they looked for supplies among the ruins of the beach town, they found more bodies than food. Most were burned, others obviously attacked by the creatures.
“Let’s go back to the shack, Tammy. At least we’re safe there.”
They inflated floaties to sleep on, trying to ignore the whispering, slithering sounds while they tried to sleep.
Although the sun hadn’t risen since the night of the lightning storm, the sky did brighten in the mornings. But one day there was no light at all. And the creatures surrounded the shack.
Today there was finally some daylight.
“Let’s walk by the shore and see if we can get to the carnival pier. There should be some food there, at least.” Mark took Tammy’s hand and led her down the beach, small waves lapping at their ankles.
“It’s so quiet. No seagulls. No music from the boardwalk. I can’t believe everything is gone. Unless it only happened here. What do you think, Mark?”
Mark stopped. “Shit. There’s your answer.”
The fuselage of a passenger plane sat on the beach. They approached it, recoiling from the mingling odors of jet fuel and cooked flesh. “Where’s the rest of it?” asked Tammy.
“Does it matter? Look, the pier is right up there. Let’s hurry up; we don’t know how much daylight we have left.”
The Ferris wheel loomed ahead of them, burned and broken, bodies dangling from the seats. Suddenly, black clouds covered the sky, obliterating what little light they had. Shapes undulated along the beach towards them, the whispers of their slithering filling the air.
“We’re not going to make it to the pier, Tammy – run to the plane!”
The two of them ran, but the sand slowed them down, made them awkward. Tammy fell, screaming for Mark to help her.
He ran past her, ignoring her hand reaching out for him.
He jumped into the plane and looked back. The creatures covered Tammy, but he could hear her screams of pain and terror. With a shaking hand, he retrieved his phone from his back pocket, the light it provided its only use now. Hundreds of the creatures writhed on the beach, trapping him on the plane.
The battery finally died an hour later, leaving Mark in complete darkness, praying for daylight to come again.
Fiction © Copyright Sheri White
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from Author Sheri White:
Sacrificial Lambs and Others is Sheri White’s first collection. From quiet horror to bloody violence, these flash fiction pieces and short stories are chilling and emotionally visceral. You will find people teetering on the brink of sanity, dark farms, creepy carnivals, weird kids, and Armageddon. These stories will stay with you long after you’ve closed the book.