The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
Love Notes: An Excerpt
by Suzanne Madron
Revisiting these ruins, I can hear you whisper my name again. Have you always
been here, waiting for the inevitable day when you knew I would return, to hear
the words you never said?
The arches, at one time Gothic, conspire to crumble now, the stones begging to
crush me like the weight of the world. Then let them, if they must. I am tired and
have earned my rest.
Are you here? Or am I haunted by ghosts of memory alone? More whispers,
fragments of broken conversation in those formerly hallowed halls where once we
pretended to marry.
Where are you? You called. You summoned me, and I have returned to find only
empty spaces and cobwebs in the vaults. Your name echoes over stones like grave
markers and the place is barren.
Why did you call me only to force me to wait? Was your intent to remind me of my eternal sense of loss and homesickness? Or was it to prove I could still be called?
Was it to remind me of my loneliness?
Your intentions, your hollow confessions of love, none of it matters to me
anymore. At long last, I am going home.
He looked from the note shaking in his hand to the shadow sliding over the floor.
In the stillness, the creaking of rope fibers rubbing over rotten wood was the slamming of
a door in his face.
A breeze blew through the shattered stained glass of the windows and the
kaleidoscope shadow moved further, climbing the legs of the overturned pew beneath the
swinging, shoeless feet. He wondered how long she had been there. Long enough for the
stench of the last minutes of her life to have faded into the scent of overall rot
surrounding the place, but not quite long enough for her body to decompose or for carrion
animals to find her and begin the breakdown of a body once filled with life. Would the
animals touch her, or would they instinctively know she was something not of this world
and avoid her?
He crumpled the note into his jacket pocket and removed a pack of cigarettes,
tapping one out of the soft pack with an easy, habitual motion. Lighting it, he inhaled
deeply and forced his eyes to focus on the smoke and not on the body suspended in the
dusty air like a wingless angel over what had once served as an altar. Inhale, exhale,
search for the symbols in smoke. Never look the dead in the eyes, he reminded himself.
At last he snuffed his cigarette into his upturned palm, reveling in the physical
pain before forcing his gaze heavenward. He avoided looking at her face, gauging how
best to cut her down when a clawed hand on his shoulder pulled his attention back to
earth and he glared. The demon handed him a knife.
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.