The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
“Shh, lower your voice. What?”
“Why are we doing this?”
Lizzie Borden sighed. “You know why. I won’t rest until I know they’re at rest. Would you rather wait in the carriage?”
Her question was met with silence. “Emma? It’s all right. I can go on alone.”
“Oh, no, no. I’ll come along. I don’t want to be by myself.”
“Very well then. Quit dawdling. Follow me and watch your step.”
Lizzie held the lantern high, the kerosene casting a feeble yellow glow. The purplish half-moon bathed the tombstones in a strange and eerie light. She moved the lantern side to side, hoping no newly raised undead crawled into their path.
Despite the assurances from the Fall River Police and members of the St. Alphonsus Society that everything was under control, she’d had to see for herself what was happening. She had to know if any of the previously deceased in her family had been affected by this unexplained and most ghastly disease.
Her first shocking encounter with these horrors had been via her father and stepmother, who had turned into… zombies. The awful memory still made her shiver. The reasons why seemed unfathomable. If it stopped this horrific scourge she would gladly stand trial a second time and endure being accused again of brutally hatcheting them to death. Instead, she was here. The axe in her hand would at least guarantee that no other Borden made an ungodly shamble from the grave.
Emma had agreed to come along, to keep her company if nothing else, though Lizzie still wished her sister had stayed home. But this wasn’t something to do alone, even if her sister seemed like she’d faint any moment.
“Are you sure you want to come with me?”
Emma tightened her grip on the metal stake, fingers shaking. She nodded, her eyes wide. “Yes, I’m fine.”
“All right, then.”
Lizzie approached the squat gray mausoleum building. She eyed the carved Romanesque façade and the name BORDEN eternally etched into the granite before inserting the old metal skeleton key into the rusted padlock. It opened with a loud click. She glanced at Emma before pulling the heavy iron gate toward her. The worn, wooden door unlocked much easier and creaked open. The hinges squeaked in protest.
The stench of death invaded her nostrils. She choked and shined the lantern at the rows of crypts on each side. All seemed undisturbed except… Wait! One of the bottom panels was partially open. Why? How could that be since the door had been locked tight?
The silence was broken by a rustling sound and Emma’s scream. “Lizzie, look out!”
Lizzie jumped back as an arm reached for her, the skin shriveled like leather. Blackened bones peeked out from where the flesh had rotted away. A low eerie moan filled the air. The creature shambled into view, the skeletal face pocked and blackened with rot. Its teeth clacked together in an ugly grimace. The ghoul stumbled toward them, shreds of its once black suit flapping around it like demon wings.
The tattered remains of a tag on the front of the fabric showed but a few remaining letters, F, Alm, und. As Lizzie lifted the axe high, she realized just who the wearer was—or had been. Not a Borden, but Mr. Frank Almy, her father’s former partner in the undertaking and casket business who had mysteriously disappeared around the time of her father’s death. She had heard whispers about him, but hadn’t paid much attention.
As she swung the axe, Lizzie realized that sending this poor soul to his second, and final, death was a blessing. How he had ended up locked in her family’s mausoleum was not. It sounded instead like murder.
Fiction © Copyright Ashley Davis
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
One hot August morning in 1892, Lizzie Borden picked up an axe and murdered her father and stepmother. Newspapers claim she did it for the oldest of reasons: family conflicts, jealousy and greed. But what if her parents were already dead? What if Lizzie slaughtered them because they’d become zombies?
Thrust into a horrific world where the walking dead are part of a shocking conspiracy to infect not only Fall River, Massachusetts, but also the world beyond, Lizzie battles to protect her sister, Emma, and her hometown from nightmarish ghouls and the evil forces controlling them.
Issue #40 of The Sirens Call – As Summer Leaves, Autumn Falls
Stories of disaster influenced by horrific intent.
Whether it be Mother Nature’s wrath or a devilish ghoul, a sprite most wicked or a stumbling fool, tell us a tale of disaster that happens as summer ends and autumn begins.
We are looking for stories, flash fiction and poetry of horrific happenings that take place in the summer months that lead into fall. As long as the piece is primarily horror/dark fiction, we’d love to see it!
Your piece can be creepy, sullen, emotive, freaky, elegant, bizarre, have a dark-humor edge to it, or simply be flat out scary as hell!
REPRINTS ARE WELCOME
Submission Deadline: August 10, 2018
Circulation: Approximately 35,000
Full page/single book cover ads for individual authors are available at $10 per ad. Please contact Nina@SirensCallPublications.com for advertising information.
All short story, flash, and poem submissions MUST be submitted to: Submissions@SirensCallPublications.com for consideration.
Visit our web site for more details: SirensCallPub.com