The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
by Suzanne Madron
“There’s nothing here. Over.”
“You know how it goes, Rick. Someone reports something and we gotta check it out. It’s why we get paid the big bucks, right?”
Rick rolled his eyes and pressed the comm button. “Roger that. Gonna do one last walk-through.”
He shone his flashlight through the old building and sighed. Damned kids were always getting into the place and setting off perimeter alarms, or the local residents would swear they saw lights on in the windows and call the cops. And then the cops would call Rick’s company.
Years of fallen paint chips crunched under his boots as he explored the empty rooms. Occasional shadows flitting across the walls drew a second glance but they inevitably turned out to be nesting birds disturbed by human intrusion into their nesting space or an occasional bat.
He was about to leave when he heard an odd sound filtering down through the years of rot and warped floors above him. A chill ran up his spine and cold sweat immediately dotted his brow. He made his way over fallen plaster and masonry toward what would be a staircase to the attic.
In the light of the flashlight’s beam, he could see the stairs were noticeably slanted at an angle. He aimed the light upward and made note of the hole in the roof above. The place wouldn’t be standing too much longer with the evident water damage, but that was not why he was here. He had a job to do. Someone said they saw a ghost, and he was here to tell them they were wrong – whether they were or not.
From the attic the sound came clearer now, rising and falling in an etheric humming. Rick reached up to press the comm button and paused, his hand hovering as the hairs on his arms stood on end. The sound grew louder and moved across the floor of the attic. He traced the course over the broken ceiling with his eyes. The chill crawling over his spine turned into a full blown shudder as he recognized the symbol.
“Shit,” he whispered. He pressed the button on his comm and said, “Bob? I’m out of here.”
“Nothing there, huh?”
He swallowed hard. “Tell the owners their building is a loss.” He watched the thing crawling down the attic stairs. “Looks like some squatters got in here, too.”
“Regular squatters, or the kind we don’t put in the official report?”
Rick watched the shape slide toward him. It was vaguely humanoid, but he knew from the other times he had encountered the things that they were anything but human. He sprayed it with lighter fluid and it hissed as it climbed to its feet, reaching a long-fingered hand toward him.
“Roger. Light it up and come on back.”
Rick’s comm crackled in the silence as he backed away. He struck a match and flicked it toward the creature. For an instant, the glow was reflected in the depths of its large, hollow eyes and the jagged lines of its teeth and then it was engulfed and screaming.
Fiction © Copyright Suzanne Madron
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from Suzanne Madron:
The house across the street seems to go on the market every few months, but this time nothing about the sale is normal, including the new owners. No sooner has the for sale sign come down and the neighborhood is thrown into a Lovecraftian nightmare and the only way to find out is to attend the house warming party.