The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
by E.A. Black
She recognized the hallway. She had crossed it many times, but this time it had taken on an air of decrepitude. Yellowed wallpaper hung in strips. Water dripped from the cracked ceiling. The open windows let in cold air. She could see her breath as she stood frozen, unable to move. It wasn’t a typical nightmare where her feet sank into the floor as if she stood in mud or quicksand. No, this was a waking dream. She was alert and on her way to the bathroom when the hallway changed in front of her eyes. About ten minutes earlier she had smoked a little weed but pot didn’t make her hallucinate like this.
It’s only the hallway. You’re tired. You haven’t slept well in four days. Same stupid nightmare over and over, but now you’re awake and you’re facing your greatest fear. Just ignore it and go pee. Try as she might, she couldn’t take that first crucial step into sanity. Thirty feet away darkness loomed, but she sensed something in it rushing towards her. She couldn’t see it but she knew it meant her harm. It’s only a dream. It’s only a dream.
It took all her strength and courage, but she turned her back on that hallway. Maybe getting a glimpse of her pleasant living room would knock this fever dream away, but when she turned she saw only a worn couch, abandoned bookcases, and chipped paint on the walls. Green paint. She looked out the window and saw the sign across the hall – LUNATIC ASYLUM – WARD 4. She whirled around only to see padded walls. The hallway was gone. So was her apartment that she lived in 20 years ago, before her parents committed her. In her terror, she released. Warm liquid ran down her legs. She was trapped inside her own nightmare, never to awaken.
Fiction © Copyright E. A. Black
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from E.A. Black:
What horror anthology on body enhancements wouldn’t include gross-out fiction? This book has it in spades. But, this collection of stories goes far beyond that. Here you will also find science fiction, surreal fiction, fantasy, and even a full serving of dark humor. Disturbing, perverse, often gut-wrenching (pun intended) stories—all between the covers of this anthology!
Nineteen chilling tales by some of the best horror and suspense writers today. Definitely not for the squeamish!
“Hardcore horror that ranges from the socially relevant to the scatologically repulsive—the shock here is like ‘The Scream’ made flesh.” — Mort Castle, editor of On Writing Horror: A Handbook by the Horror Writers Association
“In Zippered Flesh 3, Editor Weldon Burge has done a masterful job of combining work from well-known masters like Jack Ketchum and Graham Masterton with newer writers. But it is the original work by newcomers like L.L. Soares and Meghan Acuri that stands out for me. … Highly recommended.” — Gene O’Neill, author of The Hitchhiking Effect: A Retrospective Collection
“‘Closer by Charles Colyott is a wonderfully poignant and romantic story. … ‘Going Green’ by Christine Morgan is so original, timely, and well-written it deserves special mention. … Kudos to Burge for putting together another fine anthology of cutting-edge fiction.” — Paul Dale Anderson, author of The Instruments of Death series
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Women in Horror Month 10