The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
by E.A. Black
I first noticed something was wrong when the fireflies disappeared. I used to see them when I was a kid all the time at dusk. Then, by the time I was an adult, they were gone. Where did they go? Bees disappeared, too. I used to get stung every summer. Now, I hardly see them at all. The fruit trees began to die since there was not much left out there to pollinate them.
The invasive plant species took over even more than usual, crowding out and killing the local flora. Instead of being shy, snakes made their way into our garage, recoiling and snapping at us each time we tried to take them back outside.
I lived near the ocean. This year summer was unusually hot. Algae blooms flourished but they killed off far too many fish. Three seals had washed up ashore to die in less than two months. That was very unusual. People who paid good money for the whale watch tours returned to the harbor, disappointed they had not seen a single humpback.
What the hell was going on?
The seagulls attacked sunbathers resting on the local beaches. We had over the years nicknamed them “flying sea rats” since they would get into your food if you left your beach blanket for even five minutes. They could be aggressive around an open bag of potato chips but they never swarmed people and attacked them. An eight year old girl was sent to the hospital only a few days ago with a laceration above her right eye that required ten stitches. A black-backed gull had swooped down upon her as she ate a candy bar.
I stood by the cliffs overlooking the harbor. Gulls and ducks gathered on the rocks below. They turned to look at me, all in unison. Then, as if instructed by an invisible conductor, they flew into the air.
They headed in my direction.
I raced into the nearby woods. I got away that time but how much longer would I be safe?
How much longer would any of us be safe?
Fiction © Copyright E. A. Black
Image courtesy of Nina D’Arcangela
More from E.A. Black:
Nature. Filled with wonder, beauty, majesty and mystery. Also filled with things that want to kill us. Normal things, little ordinary things. Things that creep and crawl. Things that fly, swim, scuttle and slither. Things that you might expect and be rightfully phobic about … as well as things you may have never imagined as a threat. Individually, maybe they wouldn’t be. But that’s just it. They aren’t coming for you individually. They’re coming for you in swarms, in flocks and hordes, in masses and multitudes. They’re coming for you by the thousands. They are … TEEMING TERRORS.
A most menacing story. A terrific read.