The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
The house didn’t match any other building in the neighborhood. It was the place everyone avoided, the rickety, condemned place of nightmares and whispers.
It was also the shortest way home from school.
Sarah always held her breath when she passed The House. Always. It had worked so far, so maybe…
She was three squares of sidewalk into its property when she heard the rumble. Just keep walking. Don’t stop and don’t breathe.
She tried. One square more. Two. And then she couldn’t. Her legs refused to move. She struggled, fought to slide her sneakered foot one space more. One more cracked, crumbling square and she’d be safe!
The House had other ideas. The demonic scream from it’s depths made her gasp, made her breathe.
Her breath made her fair game. The door flung wide and welcoming. The strange pull that rendered her unable to movie yanked her back to the door, screaming bloody murder, though no one was around to hear-
‘’Emmie, time for lunch!”
The little girl looked up from the dilapidated doll house, but didn’t move. She didn’t dare move until it was finished. Something crunched inside the doll house that was just as gothic and unnerving as her pretend game had made it. She tried not to look while The House was eating.
Her mother came to the door. ‘”Come on, Em, food’s getting cold! You can play pretend with your dolls later!’ From her angle, her mother couldn’t see the doll legs get sucked into the dollhouse door. It had bothered Emmie at first, but she quickly learned that it was worse if she didn’t feed what was inside. Besides, she liked creating stories, even if they bothered her parents sometimes.
When the house was quiet Emmie got to her feet after shutting the door. She never opened the house all the way anymore. “I think I lost Sarah.”
“What? Didn’t you just have her?”
Emmie glanced to The House. It was quiet, but it didn’t have to say anything. If she kept it fed, the things inside wouldn’t come out. It was worth a few dolls and a hamster here and there. “I haven’t seen her.” It wasn’t nice to lie, but The House wasn’t nice, either.
“Well, we’ll look for her later and then talk about it. Come on, time to eat!”
Emmie followed her mother to the kitchen, sparing The House one last warning look before she left the room to eat her own meal.
Somewhere, something skittered in the walls, some pest or another. The House shuddered and opened its door, ready for the next course.
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?