The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
by Nicole e. Castle
I hear footfalls. Not rodent nor insect. I am accustomed to their light tread. This is something larger, lumbering across the threshold. I still myself for a moment, hovering. Do I come closer? My curiosity stirs me forth. I must see. It has been so long.
I move quickly over the mud-covered floors. Human children played here once. Sometimes I hear shrieks of laughter from long ago. Other times, shrieks of pain. That is what had drawn me to this place. I was able to share my own misery, mingling with the decaying despair, like saliva in the mouths of angry lovers, tearing at each other. I have no need for warmth or comfort. Dusk bathes me in dying light. Shadows caress me, we fold into each other. Freedom, I was told, can only be found through heartache.
I smell them now. Fresh skin, moist from the heat of the day, chilling in the darkness. Three sets of feet, stumbling, flitting over broken bottles, soggy leaves, scattered paper. Red ink blurred, This was a fine essay, Andrew. I wonder if next time, you might develop your argument more fully. . . They have no idea I am here. There will always be the moment before, and the moment after they meet me. Now they are in the before time. I hear whispers. “Let’s get out of here! I always hated this place!” Night has come and maybe they are not all alone.
Melancholy rushes over me. I am lonely. I want a playmate. A companion. I want to feel a part of the world again. Not a prisoner in this sorry, sorrowful place. But Hunger builds. It drives me towards madness. This is not the friendship I was promised. It destroys me, taking me right to the edge but never quite letting me fall into oblivion.
A cone of light moves towards me. I do not move. A foot hits something yellowed and small, tufts of hair surrounding puncture wounds. The female bends to investigate. Shrieks once more fill these halls. Hunger and I dance to their tune.
Six feet gallop, full speed towards the murky doorway. Moonlight streams through the broken windows. If they can just get outside, they will hold each other’s gangly bodies, nervously laughing, and convince themselves that nothing truly bad happened here. That they were not the cause of this pain. That kids will be kids. Childhood is cruel, they’ll say. There will always be the moment before we meet again and the moment after. Remember me? I’ll say, baring my fangs, barring their exit.
Now they are in the after time.
Fiction © Copyright Nicole e. Castle
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from Nicole e. Castle:
Amanda’s Recurring Nightmares
Seven horror writers are gifted the name of a real person and told to do whatever they want to her. In the seven resulting short stories, Amanda is tortured, terrified and made monstrous; she is killed at least once. She won the right to have this done – and the writers couldn’t wait to unleash their imaginations on Amanda. Welcome to the inaugural edition of Recurring Nightmares, the Special Raffle Prize of the annual Monster Mash for Literacy Bash thrown by the Great Lakes Association of Horror Writers (GLAHW) benefiting the Dominican and Siena Literacy Organizations in Detroit. These are Amanda’s nightmares. We hope they become yours, too.
Be sure to check out the other fantastic events and peeps participating in
Women in Horror Month 10