The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
“So why are you here today, Audrey?”
“I can’t sleep. I mean, I can, but for the past week I’ve been too scared to.”
“How do you keep yourself awake? Surely you must succumb to exhaustion at times. Nobody can function without some sleep.”
Audrey gave a sharp quick laugh. “Like everyone else who is sleep deprived – black coffee, and lots of it.”
“Okay, so tell me why you don’t want to sleep.”
“You read my history before seeing me, I’m sure.”
“Then you know about my exorcism, quote-unquote. When I was thirteen.”
“Yes, I do. And I remember watching it on TV. Part of a Halloween schedule on a reality channel, right? It was quite the…spectacle.”
“It was bullshit! I wasn’t possessed.”
“Why did your parents put you through it? Do you know?”
“I don’t remember a lot of it. I mean, I know I was a bratty pain-in-the-ass, but I was just a kid! Aren’t all teenage girls like that? I do remember talking to a priest. My mom dragged me to confession after we had a fight. He told me I had to fight the evil growing inside me.”
“Wow, that’s a lot for a child to handle.”
“Yeah, I cried to my parents and begged them to help me get rid of whatever was in me. It was shortly after that when the priest came to our house with the TV people.”
“Do you remember any parts of the exorcism?”
“Just bits and pieces – I know I screamed about the holy water burning my skin, but it was boiling water the priest sprinkled at me! I also threw up a few times, but what people didn’t see was the priest making me drink something that made me sick. It was all fake.”
“How was life for you after the show?”
“Horrible. I had to be homeschooled because other kids would make demon sounds at me – you know, like the old movie? Lick me! Lick me! They also threw water on my face. I was pretty lonely during my high school years. But once I went to college, things got better. I wasn’t ‘Exorcist Girl’ anymore.”
“That’s good. So what has changed for you that you are seeking my help?”
“Because now – now I’m not sure anymore it was bullshit. Because now I see a demon when I close my eyes. In my dreams, he talks to me, shows me terrifying things. I see people I know dead, bloody and torn apart. I am standing over them and my hands look like claws. I’m scared to sleep.”
“Audrey, it sounds like you are only now dealing with the trauma your parents inflicted upon you years ago.”
“No, it’s too real! I’m afraid I might do something. Or that I already have.”
“That’s a perfectly normal response to such an ordeal, especially since you were so young. Now, I am not a therapist who specializes in PTSD – “
“Please, listen to me! Something is happening to me and I don’t know what to do.” Audrey’s voice dropped to a whisper. “I saw my neighbor in a dream a couple weeks ago. Dead on his kitchen floor, sliced to ribbons.”
“Sleep deprivation can –“
“A few nights ago, from my bedroom window, I saw a body taken from the house next door. The sheet covering him was soaked with blood. Cops were everywhere. They asked me if I had heard anything. I didn’t hear anything, but I’m so scared I did it.”
“Okay, Audrey. I believe you are suffering from a severe childhood trauma, exacerbated by lack of sleep. And of course, a murder next door has made a terrible situation for you even worse. I’m going to refer you to a therapist who specializes in PTSD. In the meantime, I’m giving you a prescription for a strong sleep aide. That way you won’t be able to resist sleep, and will be able to get the rest you desperately need.”
Audrey closed her eyes and leaned back in the chair. “Okay, Dr. Saal. I hope you’re right.”
“Just remember – what happened to your neighbor is awful. But you had nothing to do with it, okay?”
Dr. Saal stopped writing in her notebook, looking up when she didn’t receive a response. Audrey was at the door across the office, her hand on the doorknob.
Audrey turned to look at the therapist, her neck twisting to an inhuman degree. She grinned, a terrifying rictus of evil.
“See you in Audrey’s dreams, Doc.”
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.
Ooh very creepy
Thank you all!