The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
I stumbled, dazed, into the burnt-out remains of what had been my home. The firefighters had finally allowed me back in, but had walked away shaking their heads—they couldn’t fathom why I would even want to see it. There wasn’t much left but blackened timbers reaching for the sky, looking much like the fingers of some giant corpse.
I didn’t care about the remains of the building at ground level. That could be rebuilt, and with my wealth, it was pocket change to bring it back to its former splendor. What was important to me was my collection, which was housed in a basement area that was partially built into the hillside. No one but the wildlife knew about it, so I was pretty sure that my secret was still safe. I only hoped that my collection was still intact. It had been through worse than this, both collectively and individually.
I had to smirk at the “individually” bit. Most of the artifacts had been through hell courtesy of me.
But this time—oh horrors! This time the entire area had been charred. Thankfully the walls still stood, but everything had been turned to ash. My heart sped up as I neared where I kept my collection, and when I rounded the east corner, my worst thoughts were realized.
My collection had been consumed by the fire—nothing left but piles of ash and the rings in the walls that had held it up. Thankfully the boxes at the far end of the hall were still intact.
I walked cautiously toward them, careful not to disturb the ashes under the rings. Any air currents over the piles would make things a lot more difficult to repair.
The contents were untouched. Rope, a gauzy material on a roll, and a very sharp knife lay atop a number of short wooden spikes. These last were the items that I didn’t want to use—that meant more blood spilled and twice as much work. So—the quicker the deal was done, the better.
I sighed and got to work. First, I hung the gauze across the holes in the wall opposite, after shutting what remained of the windows. It would do until I could replace them myself. Any sounds that emanated through them would only bounce against the hillside, making my land sound haunted and frightening to any who passed by. And that’s how I liked it.
As I started to thread new rope through the rings, a sudden movement caught my eye. I turned to see a snake slithering right toward my collection!
Well, this just wouldn’t do. I threw the knife and pinned the serpent to the floor. Usually I didn’t care about creatures touring the place, but – my collection! It mattered more than anything.
I cleaned the knife off—no sense in mixing DNA—and quickly sliced my wrist open. With my other hand I held the vein closed as best I could until I reached the piles of ash. When I got to the first pile, I let it go, and allowed it to gush over the mound. I did the same with the rest, working quickly so as to not pass out, and sealed my arm up with my own saliva when I was done. Then I stood back to watch the magic happen.
It always amazes me how fast they regenerate. In less than a couple of heartbeats (my guess, since I haven’t had one in ages), the ash became bodies of men and women. They lay along the hallway, inert at first, but slowly starting to wake up. I smiled at my success, then hurried to hang them back up. It was always a gamble when I had to do this, but I hadn’t lost any of them yet.
Soon all of my enemies had been rehung, and just in time—their eyes opened and they started screaming in agony. My eyes lit up, and I ran my hand across them one by one.
“Sorry the place looks so bad,” I told them. “I’ll get the place cleaned up as soon as possible. Then we’ll all be comfy again, right?”
They didn’t hear me, and I didn’t care. I whistled to myself as I headed up to the remains of the upper floor.
Fiction © Copyright K.R. Morrison
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from Author K.R. Morrison:
Lydia’s faith in God is strong – at least on paper. But what happens when that faith is tested? Turned into a vampire by the worst – Vlad Drakul – she feels that God has abandoned her. But the opposite is true. God rescues her from a fate worse than death, and brings her into the plan He has for global redemption. With the help He sends, she feels like nothing can stop her. But when Vlad torments her again, and then her family, the temptation to run and hide is almost too strong to resist. Her answer to God’s call is the deciding factor in the battle that pits the angelic powers of God against the demonic powers of Hell.
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Women in Horror Month 10