The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
The Grass is Greener
Trixie smiled to herself as Mrs. Evans led her by the hand into her house. The little girl turned at the last minute to wave good-bye to her mom, who was pulling out of the driveway. When her head was turned to look for traffic, Trixie took the opportunity to stick her tongue out at her little sister, Tina, who was fastened into the back seat.
Trixie chortled when she saw her sister’s mouth working. She knew Tina, or “Tiny Teeny”, as she called her, was shouting indignantly at their mom about what Trixie had done.
Trixie didn’t care. Tina was the one who had disrupted their lives four years ago, and she never let the little creep forget it. Whenever she had the opportunity, she would tease, push, pinch, or kick “Tiny Teeny” until the younger girl bawled for their mother. They both would get punished in the end (sometimes literally in their literal ends), but it was worth it to see a time when Tina was not being cooed or fussed over.
That had been Trixie’s place not so long ago.
But no matter. She was the big girl, and as such she was now able to stay with Mrs. Evans, who had moved in a block from their house and was starting a preschool.
After rigorously checking her credentials and background, Trixie’s mom had decided to give Mrs. Evans a try. She had wanted to return to yoga classes, but knew she could not stay yoga-centered when she had to referee her girls’ fights.
Mrs. Evans took Trixie into the kitchen, where she was making cookies. She sat Trixie on a stool with a coloring book.
“Later we can go to the park. Does that sound nice?”
Trixie nodded, and when the lady’s back was turned, stuck her tongue out at her also. Sitting still was not this girl’s means of entertainment.
After a few minutes of drawing headless animals in the coloring book and watching her caregiver bustle around the kitchen, Trixie had had enough.
“Can I go outside? Please?” she asked in her sweetest little-angel voice. “It’s such a lovely day.”
Mrs. Evans turned to look at her little charge, then out the window. After a moment of consideration, she said, “Oh, all right.”
“Yay!” Trixie leapt off the stool.
Trixie stopped mid-stride and looked back at Mrs. Evans.
The woman pointed. “You see that gate?”
Trixie followed the finger, and saw a metal opening in the fence that surrounded the yard. “Uh-huh.”
“Do not touch that gate, or open it. That goes into the neighbors’ yard, and they’re…well, sort of odd.”
Trixie’s eyes flashed in excitement as she looked out the window. “Sure. I can do that.”
She ran out and, once she saw that she was not being watched, darted directly to the gate. She kept her promise though—she didn’t touch the thing. She merely peered through it.
“Well, it’s a whole lot nicer than here,” she murmured to herself.
While Mrs. Evans’ yard was interesting enough, it had no fun play things. This other yard had a swing set and a slide. Mrs. Evans had beach balls and a jump rope.
Big deal, orange peel…
As she contemplated the view into the other yard, Trixie suddenly heard a sound that made her look up. What she saw…well, she wasn’t sure what to make of it.
Another little girl, about the same age, was staring down at her from a branch that hung over the fence. So Trixie stared right back. She was just about decided that she hated the stranger and all her toys, when the other girl spoke.
“Hi,” was all she said.
“Hi yerself,” Trixie answered back, her eyebrows curving down into her best patented pout.
“I’m Kelpie. Wanna play?”
Trixie’s frown was instantly put away for another time. She beamed up at Kelpie. “Sure!”
She glanced back at the house and saw that Mrs. Evans was still busy and not paying attention, so she returned her eyes to Kelpie. “But how? I can’t go into your yard, and Turkey Neck there won’t like it if you come in here.”
Kelpie giggled at Trixie’s name for her caregiver. “Just unlatch the gate and come through, silly.”
“Um…” Trixie stuck a finger in her mouth and looked back at the kitchen window. “She told me not to open the gate, and not to even touch it.”
Kelpie jumped down from her tree and came to her side of the gate. “Did she really?”
There was a strange look in Kelpie’s eyes—one that an older, more experienced child would probably have shied away from. But Trixie was innocent in the matters of strange behavior.
“Did she say anything about if the gate was already open?”
“Well…” Trixie looked around Kelpie at the swing set. “No…”
Kelpie quickly reached her hand through and unlatched the gate. It swung inward on silent hinges.
Trixie took step back, then forward, undecided.
“Come on in,” the other little girl said. Trixie’s ears were confused, because now it sounded as if Kelpie had suddenly gotten a case of sore throat. It was all gravelly-like. Trixie didn’t want to catch the cold, but that slide…
Kelpie put her fists on her hips. “Okay, so the gate is opened. You didn’t touch it. Did she say anything about walking through if it was open?”
“Then come in!!” Kelpie laughed and ran to the swing set, where she sat in the seat. “Come and push me!”
With one last look toward the house, Trixie strode through the opening…
…and promptly disappeared, along with Kelpie, the tree, and all.
Just then a bellow came from the other side of the yard. Mrs. Evans, with a face like thunder and an axe in her hand, marched straight to where Trixie had disappeared–and vanished the same way.
For a full minute, all was silent except for the chirping of a few birds in Mrs. Evans’ yard. Then, with a huge PLOP, she was back through the gate, leading Trixie with one hand and carrying her bloodied weapon with the other.
“Damn that realtor!” the woman exclaimed. “I knew this place came too cheap.”
She stopped and knelt in front of Trixie, who seemed merely puzzled and not scared at all. What Mrs. Evans had seen in that portal was a world that no one should ever have to witness, yet this child looked to be untouched by what she had experienced.
“You okay, Trixie?”
The little girl nodded, and Mrs. Evans gave her a curious look.
Then she got up and started toward the house again, discarding the ax as she did so. “Come on, kiddo. Those cookies should be done by now.”
Unbeknownst to her, Trixie had picked up the ax and was closing the distance.
“I’m Kelpie,” the little girl said softly, a strange gleam in her eyes. “Wanna play?”
Fiction © Copyright K.R. Morrison
Image courtesy of Nina D’Arcangela
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.