The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
by Stephanie Ayers
“You know what happens to the naughty girls. Now c’mon, Vanessa. Straighten up and fly right!” Rebecca eyed the small girl sitting before her. Water pooled at the edges of the unkempt child’s eyes, and she sighed. “What will I do with you?” She signaled for the girl to come closer, and the child complied. She wrapped her arms around Vanessa and held her for a moment.
“M-M-M-Miss Austin is a big meany,” the girl said. “I d-d-d-didn’t d-d-d-do it. They always b-b-b-blame m-m-me!” Vanessa hid her face in the folds of Rebecca’s long black hair.
Rebecca pulled the girl back and straightened her. “There’s a reason for that.”
“B-b-b-be-c-c-cause I’m s-s-s-stupid.Th-that’s all.”
“How easily you forget.” Rebecca’s said, sternly. “It’s not all about your stutter, you know. You did this to yourself telling those fables.”
Vanessa shrank away from Rebecca and stared at the floor. “They aren’t f-f-f-f-fables. I s-s-saw her. The m-m-monster really exists! I s-s-s-swear!”
As much as Rebecca wanted to believe Vanessa, she remained skeptical. “Seeing is believing.”
Vanessa eyed her for a moment. “B-b-bel-li-li-lieving is s-s-seeing. Puh-puh-please M-M-Miss M-M-Markus. S-S-She is cuh-cuh-cuh-coming.”
Rebecca frowned. This was more serious than she thought. This poor child really believed the local legends to be true. Everyone knew the story, but nothing had happened for years, not since Rebecca’s mother was an infant. The legend said that anyone in possession of this small cloth doll with wicked green circles around her eyes, scars on her face, and straw-like brown hair could summon the witch against anyone they wanted. The witch in doll form would exact her revenge and bad things happened to the person on the receiving end. Mostly, they just vanished. Sometimes the doll owners disappeared, too. There were even some rumors that the doll would come to life if you tried to destroy it, which is why it still managed to survive after all these years. To make matters worse, the Boobah Bruha still circulated thanks to the handiwork of a small craft store downtown. The girls of the boarding school loved scaring each other, and the Boobah Bruha held more fright than Bloody Mary. After all, one didn’t need to say her name three times in a mirror to summon her, they only needed a doll, and they all had one. Rebecca confiscated them as often as she could, but the doll always found its way back to the owner.
“It’s just a doll, Vanessa.” Rebecca opened a desk drawer and pulled a Boobah Bruha doll out. Vanessa screamed and ran to the other side of the room. Rebecca presented the doll and sighed when the girl tried to climb into the wall. “Look!” She punched the doll in the chest. “It’s just a doll.” She threw the doll on the ground and stomped on it. She picked it up and shook it at Vanessa. She grabbed a pencil and stuck it into the doll’s cotton filled chest. “See? The Boobah Bruha isn’t real.”
Vanessa’s eyes rounded in fright. “You sh-sh-sh-shouldn’t have d-done th-that, M-Miss Markus.”
Rebecca shook the doll again. She looked deep into Vanessa’s eyes. “Why? It’s just a doll. Just! A! Doll! You can’t hurt a doll.” Rebecca held it out to Vanessa who shrank further into the wall. Suddenly the doll felt heavy in Rebecca’s arms.
“M-M-Miss M-M-Markus, look! The doll!”
Rebecca stared as the doll grew in size. The normally smiling face now held a pointed-tooth snarl on it. When the doll had grown to the size of a small adult, it attacked. Rebecca screamed as it knocked her off her feet and bit into her flesh. “Run, Vanessa, run!”
Vanessa pulled Miss Austin into the room, her stutter so bad she couldn’t speak. Tears spilled as she entered.
“What is so important you had to drag me all the way to the other side of the campus?” Miss Austin’s angry tone made Vanessa flinch.
“M-M-M-Miss Aus-s-s-stin…” Vanessa tried. She held her hands out instead.
“Meh, meh, meh,” The teacher’s face twisted in disgust. She put a hand on either side of Vanessa’s face and turned it to view the room. “There is no one here. Such a waste of time.” Miss Austin dropped her hands to her waist and spun on her heel. She stomped out of the room.
Tears still flowed from Vanessa’s eyes. She moved closer to the desk and stopped. A scream caught in her throat as she stared at the chalkboard. There at the top center dangled a stuffed doll with long black locks of hair, and a rope tied around her neck. A sinister giggle echoed from the corner of the room. Vanessa turned and her mouth dropped as her eyes caught the Boobah Bruha, once again in doll size, lurking there. It took one step towards her and then another.
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.