The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
by Elaine Pascale
There is nothing familiar about a dead body; no smell or laughter, no squeezed hand or hugged waist, no cocked eyebrow or half-smile, no wink. This is why I could barely recognize Frank even though I had witnessed his murder.
The long gashes in Frank’s neck were no longer spurting blood. The geysers had dwindled to a sprinkle followed by a slow drip.
The monkey man had lost interest at the same time the blood shower stopped.
We had come for healing. Our relationship was worn in an uncomfortable way. We had been rekindling when the shadow had darted behind the bushes.
Frank had never been his primary target. That had been apparent as we were soaking in the ancient mineral springs. The day was so cloudy that the usual elderly arthritic clients had skipped their weekly trek and we had the place to ourselves. What luck, we had thought, until I felt something brush my ankle. Frank told me it was my imagination and we floated blissfully for some time before leaving the water to dry off among the copses.
Another shadow: ignored because we were trying to focus on each other.
A smell covered the sulfur of the mineral water. It was musky and sour like the breath of a tomb.
Frank was playfully swatting me with his towel—a ritual that never grew old with him but that always annoyed me (and never would again)—when a taloned hand shot out from between the sheath-like leaves. The claws raked across Frank’s throat and he fell to the ground.
We had come for healing. Something else had found us.
There will be nothing familiar about my dead body either. I just wish it would be quick.
There will be no healing, only an end. For now I close my eyes and pretend that the monkey man is not kissing me with those cruel lips.
Fiction © Copyright Elaine Pascale
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from Elaine Pascale:
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