The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
Wind howled through the trees, the falling snow ushered in a season of silence through the village. Many welcomed the snow, though others knew it was the time to prepare. The animals had a hard time finding food when winter came. Lucky for us most of the larger predatory beasts began hibernation early; making it less nerve wracking to forage for ourselves. Over time we’d developed a technique for hunting; color coded candles. The deep purple candles helped us see what areas were plentiful, and the blood red candles warned of those that were already scavenged.
It was my turn to seek sustenance, I had to bring back something, we would all starve if not. Three days had come and gone, I was running low on rations and all I could think about was how a fire would feel right now. Everywhere I went I was greeted by a flaming red candle; I was growing more hopeless with each one I encountered. With nothing more to lose I decided to walk further into the marked area.
As I walked deeper through the forest I started to notice scratches on the tall trees; at least twenty feet high. I know claw marks when I see them and these willowy trunks were too fragile to support the weight of a bear, even if it was a cub. I felt a lump in my throat as I pressed on, not knowing what lay ahead of me. Trekking through the brush was a challenge itself, let alone in the dead of winter. As I struggled to move through the trees, it dawned on me that this would be the perfect place to hide if you were a giant creature. I inhaled sharply trying to convince myself I was kidding, but those claw marks were growing more concerning.
In the distance was a lone trail that led through the side of one of the larger cliffs in the area. Hopefully some squirrel or rabbit was sleeping up there, I thought, Maybe if I’m just quiet enough, I can catch ‘em. I began to approach an eerie looking cave, realizing I was nowhere near the place I’d thought. Leading into the darkness were candles, one in every color used by our village. The only ones still intact – the bloody red candles.
Every fiber of my being was telling me to turn, to get out of there, but I couldn’t leave empty handed – we would die. My eyes adjusted to the new level of light and I noticed a large furry creature breathing slowly as though it were asleep. This is my chance! I thought and started creeping towards it. I readied my weapon, striving for silence with every movement. I heard it before I could change it; on my last step an ear piercing crunching sound – the breathing had changed. As I looked down I noticed a now splintered bone. I could feel my heart pounding in my throat, there were bones all around me. The creature towered over me, it’s eyes had the hideous glow of a cat’s. A deep guttural growl assured me there would be no way out alive.
“Heed the warning of the red candles.. do not enter, whatever you do.”
Fiction © Copyright Gina Johnstone
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
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