The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
It all started with an awful flit —
The pattern shifting just a whit.
She thought it changed a little bit
And then went back to normal . . .
Unsettling nerves the slightest tad,
She almost glimpsed her old granddad,
Then feared she must be going mad!
The design looked stiff and formal.
This motif could not be any duller;
She wanted something with more color:
A country scene, a fancied muller
That would stir the imagination . . .
But she didn’t wish to go insane
Over shadows, a morbid fleeting stain,
A flash that she could not explain
From a candle’s illumination.
There it was again, the gilded specter!
Did it strive to haunt — a ghastly hector
With the visage of a soul collector?
The taunter grinned its skullish most . . .
A young Lady sat and brushed fine hair,
Pretending the ghoulie wasn’t there,
Yet nothing may pry her from that chair,
So frightened it might be a ghost!
The wallpaper held a malevolent sheen.
Was it moonlight or taper that lent such mien?
The Lady felt as if caught between
Her mortal coil and the other side . . .
This time the phantom chose to linger,
Crooking a spindly gruesome finger,
And invited the maiden to malinger —
Joining Gramps beyond the divide.
A revenant offered his bony hand . . .
“You can always return from the Netherland
Should the under-realm appear too bland.”
His grandchild shivered, a chill of dread.
The skeletal visitor cackled hoarsely.
His voice unpleasant, he added coarsely,
“Come with me now ere it be perforcely!”
Two digits snapped and she lay dead.
A Grandfather Clock chimed its fatal hour
The dainty lass wilted like a flower.
Luce’s wallpaper settled plain and dour . . .
No decorative strokes remained to glower.
Fiction © Copyright Lori R. Lopez
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from Lori R. Lopez:
Trouble with a capital C! The tale begins when a car stops and a body is tossed into the Corn. But this is not just any crop. It is the battleground of a legendary creature who haunts fields along desolate highways, only when stalks are tall and the blood of brothers has been spilled in the soil — rising above the Corn like a burly Scarecrow.
A novelette of betrayal and retribution, “Cornstalker” pits a female truckdriver and a man with blood on his hands against a mythical beast summoned by a band of men wearing feathers and paint.
Jane is searching for her younger brother, who disappeared along a highway bordered by many ears. The last message on a sputtering cellphone had been something about a monster. So she took over his rig, coincidentally called “The Monster”, a heavy-duty black beast with a long snout, double chrome stacks and a reinforced grill. Anxiously prowling the roads of The Cornbelt, she picks up a stranger who could be dangerous. Our heroine may need to unleash her own demons to emerge from the Corn once she goes in.
First appearing in the 2014 anthology DEAD HARVEST, “Cornstalker” is part of Lori’s SPOOKTACULAR TALES collection.