The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
In my dreams, the gray-haired woman of the wolves stands solid, staff in hand, and she talks to me. She tells me that colors are like stars—the ones you see from the inside will guide your way. Everyone can do it; they just don’t know it. The weight of existence is defined by what paths we choose, but they will choose us if we let them. There is no predestination—only what could be. She tells me she used to talk to the crows, too, but for her they were a woman named Virgie. For the first time I see her smile, and it’s soft and full of enveloping warmth. Gray hairs fly free of her bun as she shows me the wide covered porch on both stories of the long yellow house, railings painted white. It stands in the late midday sun among treeless wheat fields. Virgie would stand on the upper porch during storms and talk to the gray-haired woman through an old, old hand mirror that had more history than any of us. It’s gone now—erased. But in the dream it’s in my hands. She tells me to touch the metal of the dream-mirror, its silver finish glinting in my hands as the wind ruffles the lacy curtains around the old French doors. She says we can speak through glass and metal if we want to, and I just have to focus on the difference between reflection and shadow. Really any sacred object will do, but metals transmit the best. She chides me for gazing into the mirror like a crystal ball, seeking obvious answers. “We are not fortune-tellers,” she says. She tells me to close my eyes and feel the object. She says we are merely shadows on this rock, but the constellations that capture our souls are like quicksand, pulling our essence away from this sacred land that holds all the secrets we’ve been searching for in the faraway stars. Her hand lifts my face to meet her eyes and I open mine. We must run fast into the forests and fields and grab hold of the Earth that was promised to us by the sky long ago. I believe her. I close my eyes and try again, no longer flailing in directionless space but focused on the object in my hand. The silver is smooth, but worn with time. Its main face is an oval, backed by silver flowers and vines that wind their way around the frame and down the time-smoothed handle. This mirror has thorns, but they’re the kind you feel on the inside. I was looking in the wrong place, like she said; I don’t even need my eyes to see or my ears to hear the messages stored here. The back and handle of the mirror are the important parts, and I feel things when I run my fingers over the finely shaped petals and leaves. There’s a worn spot where the back meets the handle, and there’s something there. Darkness is rising. A glow in the forest carries the tools we need. A dark-haired woman—Virgie?—watches over us by walking on moonbeams and following fireflies. They seek us, like most light does. I see an image of a cathedral, dark inside, storm clouds just visible through the high, arched stained-glass windows. A flash of darkness, despair, fear. A woman’s hand, reaching out of rushing waters… And something deeper. More sinister. There was something important there, but it’s gone now. When I open my eyes, I’m alone on the porch, which is quickly fading as the wind blows stronger and stronger. The curtains fly, clouds of dust billow, and I can no longer see. Just when I think I’ll be pulled into it, I awaken on the floor, on a blanket. I reach into my bag. The mirror is there, as I knew it would be. It will serve a purpose here, and I’m the one meant to wield it.
Fiction © Copyright Ashley Davis
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
Poetry by Ashley Davis can be found featured in the fall 2017 issue of
The Horror Zine