The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
Where We Used to Play
by Sonora Taylor
Do you remember where we used to play? I do. I think about it every day, that abandoned building that we never quite knew what to call. I said it was a hospital. You said it was a fort. We both agreed it was the perfect place to play.
I still see its walls, smell the earth and mold that I imagined was the smell of bones. I see the gaps that once were windows, light spilling in and turning to shadows the minute it entered the room. I remember seeing you in the light, surrounded by dust that danced in the air as you sketched in your notebook. I looked over your shoulder and saw a creepy, crazy scene of a spaceship, two aliens, and a girl who was all tied up. The aliens had laser guns pointed at her. You pointed at her and said, “That’s you.”
You were my best friend. You were sometimes mean, but only when you were mad. When you were happy, you were the best. We’d run through the woods playing tag, sit side-by-side in my yard reading books, run to the abandoned building and pretend we were monsters hunting for people.
You were only pretending to be a monster. You didn’t mean to roar so loud, to scare me so much that I stumbled back and fell down a pit we didn’t see. You didn’t mean to laugh at how frightened I was, at how I screamed as I fell. I’m sure you stopped laughing when I disappeared. I’m sure you would’ve stopped if you heard the way my neck snapped with a crunch as I hit the bottom.
I don’t know what you did next, because when I came to, you were gone. I knew that you would come back, even as days and weeks went by and no one came for me. Perhaps you were afraid to fall. Perhaps you thought you’d get in trouble for your mistake.
It’s okay. I forgive you.
I know that you’ll come back. One day, you’ll think of the sun in the windows, the mud on the floors, and the hole through the door. You’ll have no choice but to return, because I’m here. And like you never stopped being my friend even when you were mean, I’ll never stop being your friend even though I’m here, trapped forever in the place where we used to play.
Fiction © Copyright Sonora Taylor
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from Sonora Taylor:
Cara Vineyard lives a quiet life in rural North Carolina. She works for an emerging brewery, drives her truck late at night, and lives with her mother on a former pumpkin farm. Her mother is proud of her and keeps a wall displaying all of Cara’s accomplishments.
Cara isn’t so much proud as she is bored. She’s revitalized when she meets Jackson Price, a pharmacist in Raleigh. Every day they spend together, she falls for him a little more — which in turn makes her life more complicated. When Cara goes on her late-night drives, she often picks up men. Those men tend to die. And when Cara comes back to the farm, she brings a memento for her mother to add to her wall of accomplishments.
Cara’s mother loves her no matter what. But she doesn’t know if Jackson will feel the same — and she doesn’t want to find out.
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Women in Horror Month 10