The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
Eyes of the Damned
by Stephanie Ayers
I knew the forest watched me. Eyes bore through my clothes, deep into my skin, as if they searched for my soul. Or maybe I was over thinking it as usual, and they were just hungry.
So much green surrounded me—the tree boughs hung low with ripe fruit calling to me—but I knew better. These were meant for humans. Humans—a race of people long gone. The only sightings you’d see now were occasional flickers from the zoo. Theirs was a dying breed, and the aged few that remained would soon be gone, too. To see them in captivity, kept within the small zoo compound was a swift reminder of how things used to be, how fast they were destroyed, and how quickly it could happen again.
It was for their own good. We watched from the stars for as long as we could. We sent agents down to teach them better ways, but they didn’t pay attention. They needed bigger and better everything. They competed with themselves to win some unseen ego race to be the one with the biggest and baddest toys. And it cost them. Dearly.
The slaughter of innocents angered the gods. Their retaliation was as swift as it was fierce. Fire blast from the sky. Once proud buildings tumbled scorched to the ground, their smaller sisters weeping in their collapse. Sentries rounded up what humans remained and herded them, marking them according to their health and likelihood of survival. So few passed the tests, the angry gods wailed and wiped out the rest with a single bolt of lightning.
Only the few they had already deemed worthy remained. They gave them security of life, but took away their ability to reproduce. They handed them jobs that would restore the earth they had helped destroy. They gave them the knowledge they needed to reverse the damage their wickedness had caused. They disguised us as female humans to guide them and gain their trust.
It worked for a little while until their natures grew corrupt again. Lust built in their bodies and they craved what they could not have. When they tried to take it anyway, the gods struck again, this time sending a quake so great it swallowed half the world.
Now the forests rise ripe with green. The oceans and rivers sail blue and pure. The only defilement is in their own enclosures where their waste poisons the ground it sits on, and nothing grows. The salve they crave for their wounds won’t help them.
I know the forest watches me. I can feel their eyes probe through the iron bars of the enclosure. If only they understood even one bite of my blue flesh, one prick from my blue quills, would kill them.
Fiction © Copyright Stephanie Ayers
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from author Stephanie Ayers:
The 13: Tales of Macabre
Can you survive all 12?
Killer watermelons, murderous jewelry boxes, centenarian sea whisperers, creatures of myth/legend, and more…
This supernatural story collection will make you reconsider everything you thought you knew. At night you’ll hover under your covers while looking over your shoulder in the day. Down, down in the depths they fell; bodies in the dark of a liquid hell. Can you survive all 12?
This is the second collection in The 13 series. Will you survive all 13?
With forward by JM Ames and poetry by Stacy Overby.