The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
Jane stared at the card and wondered why she’d taken it with her. She’d never had a reading done before, so why not now?
The reader’s face when she’d flipped up the death card, that’s why not. Or the way she’d been asked to leave the room and ushered out of the building. She was pretty sure that wasn’t supposed to happen.
She threw the card in the trash as soon as she’d left the hole in the wall, determined to not give it another thought.
It wasn’t until she got back to the office after lunch that she saw it in her purse. It was beautiful in a macabre way. Something about the skeleton made her heart lighter, as if it were leaping and dancing with him.
That really wasn’t supposed to happen, she was sure.
Clocks weren’t supposed to stop as she went by, either. It started benignly enough, with one on the wall – the hands stalled and quivered, trying to move but unable to…until she walked on by.
Her phone clock read 0:00. Same on her laptop and office computer.
Time stopped for her, or was it something else?
She left work early, determined to clear her head. On the way home she stopped at a light in front of an art gallery. In the window, skeletons danced on canvas, calling to her.
She drove faster.
She didn’t look at her car clock, didn’t focus on anything but getting home and away from…whatever had happened to her. All she’d wanted was to know if there were good things around the corner! It was supposed to be a joke, a way to do something different during a day. She’d hoped she’d be told she’d meet a tall, dark stranger so she could laugh it off and move on with some fun conversation in her back pocket. She pulled into her spot in the apartment lot and turned the corner to her building.
A tall stranger in a dark robe loomed at the door, waiting for her.
Her instincts screamed run, but she couldn’t. If it was who she thought it was, she wouldn’t be able to escape, anyway. There wasn’t time for an escape – time had melted away, she could feel it all around her. “Is this it, then? Have you come for me?” She sounded braver than she felt, but she’d always been good at being put on the spot in job interviews and that sort of thing.
“It is time for you to realize your true calling and take your place in the business.”
Jane blinked, decided to roll with it, decided against making a joke about a health plan or downsizing. “Pardon?” Inside, she trembled and just wanted to hide under the covers with her cat. Outside, she put on her office politics face.
“You come from a long line of those who are my godchildren. It’s time to take your place in the family business.”
“And…what precisely do you do?” She knew, but she wanted to hear him say it.
Death lifted back his hood, probably to gauge her reaction. It was as she thought: a skull, the headpiece of the grim reaper, just like on the picture in her pocket that she’d tried to throw away twenty times since lunch. “You could say, we work with candles. Come, there’s much to discuss.” He waved his scythe (when the hell had that gotten there?) and they disappeared to what was the weirdest business meeting she’d ever been put through.
And yet…inside, it felt right. Inside, her skeleton was dancing.
Fiction © Copyright Selah Janel
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from Author Selah Janel:
Like many young men at the end of the 1800s, Bill signed on to work in a logging camp. The work is brutal, but it promised a fast paycheck with which he can start his life. Unfortunately, his role model is Big John. Not only is he the camp’s hero, but he’s known for spending his pay as fast as he makes it. On a cold Saturday night they enter Red’s Saloon to forget the work that takes the sweat and lives of so many men their age. Red may have plans for their whiskey money, but something else lurks in the shadows. It watches and badly wants a drink that has nothing to do with alcohol. Can Bill make it back out the shabby door, or does someone else have their own plans for his future?