The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
A Mother’s Hope
by Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi
The gargoyle eyed the boy with curiosity, as the young lad ran out the front door of the country estate with his Marx toy flying plane in his hands. He flew it into the woods. Never one to care much about the hustle and bustle of the family, the stone creature was finally concerned as he hadn’t seen the boy for quite some time. The mother, dressed in a navy-blue wrap dress and red high heels, came running out onto the front step just as the boy was entering the woods. She was looking right to left, when a car with a loud exhaust, and an even louder horn which was going off incessantly, pulled up through the dirt driveway that wound around and up to the house.
A man’s arm waved frantically out the window of the black Bentley 8 convertible, with his gray bowler hat in his hand and a large smile on his face. He had barely slowed down when the woman, Donna, skipped off the porch and ran down the walk, frantic plastered all over her face.
Her husband, Gene, leaped out of the car, instantly stopped smiling and said, “What’s the matter, dear? You look like the mailman died.”
“Oh, Gene…well, I thought I saw Harold just run out the door,” Donna said. “I was sure of it, and glimpsed him running over into the forest.”
“Now Donna, we’ve been over this before,” he said, taking her in his arm and leading her back toward the front door, under the watchful eye of the silently inquisitive Gargoyle. “There is no possible…”
“…but, I’m his mother,” Donna insisted. “Don’t you think I’d know my own son…”
“Yes dear, of course,” Gene said. “But Harold, he was just a baby you know. Where would he have been all these years? How would you know what he’d look like anyway?”
“I’d know,” Donna said. “I would know.” She put her face into her hands, crying. “Maybe he was lost or kidnapped…or..”
“L-let’s just not get ahead of ourselves—”
“But he’s mine and his smell…” Donna’s crying increased, and Gene led her into the large, stone estate home, shut the door behind them, and sat her down in the kitchen. He put on the kettle. It was something he’d done many, many times over the last ten years. He knew they’d probably be at the table for another two hours or more, drinking tea and talking about Harold. Donna had never given up hope.
The Gargoyle took his chance and broke away from the wall as he’d also done many times before, leaped to the ground, and ran along on his little legs and arms, towards the woods. This time, he was determined to see where the boy went. He ran, low to the ground, sniffing for a gentle soap scent, but only breathing in the surrounding mud.
He came to a copse of trees on the far side where he didn’t usually survey; just a few rays of light emanated through the tops. He saw some bones scattered on the ground in a pile and stopped to inspect them. There were several small skulls. He overturned a few of the long-weathered bones, but went still as his stone, staring off into the darkness, after he saw the piece of a wing from a small airplane mixed in with the rib bones.
Fiction © Copyright Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi
Fiction Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi:
It’s the one-year anniversary of the publishing of my debut dark poetry and short story collection, Breathe. Breathe. Much of it tells my life’s pains and haunts and fears poured, sometimes savagely, onto the page. However, there is also legend, folklore, and fantasy as well.
Breathe. Breathe. is a collection of dark poetry and short fiction exploring the surreal depths of humanity. It’s a representation of how life breaks us apart and words put us back together. Purged onto the pages, dark emotions flow, urging readers into murky seas and grim forests, to the fine line between breathing and death.In Act One, readers are presented with a serial killer in Victorian London, a lighthouse keeper with an eerie legacy, a murderous spouse that seems to have walked right out of a mystery novel, and a treacherous Japanese lady who wants to stay immortal. The heightened fears in the twilight of your minds will seep into the blackest of your nights, where you have to breathe in rhythm to stay alive.
In Act Two, the poetry turns more internal and pierces through the wall of denial and pain, bringing visceral emotions to the surface unleashing traumas such as domestic abuse, violence, and illness.
In the short stories, you’ll meet residents of Valhalla Lane whose lives are on a violent parallel track to collision, a man who is driven mad by the sound of a woodpecker, a teenage girl who wakes up on the beach and can’t find another soul in sight, a woman caught in a time shift pitting her against the Egyptian goddess Anuket, and a little girl whose whole world changes when her favorite dandelion yellow crayon is discontinued.
Amid these pages the haunting themes of oppression, isolation, revenge, and madness unfold through folklore, nightmares, and often times, raw, impulsive passion crafted to sear from the inside out.
With a touching foreword by the Bram Stoker nominated author Brian Kirk, Breathe. Breathe. will at times unsettle you, and at times embrace you. Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi, a veteran writer and editor of the written word, offers up a mixed set of pieces, identifying her as a strong, new voice in dark fiction that will tear the heart from your chest, all the while reminding you to breathe.