The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
by Lori R. Lopez
That chair will be my death.
Worn, rather ordinary to look at. Except
the base, designed to raise and lower,
cant to a more comfortable angle —
or incline so sharp it makes the blood surge
to your head! They’ve got me in it now,
angled at a steep tilt, feet high,
a number of broad firm straps holding,
binding me in place, doing no favors.
A captive, exposed to their incessant curiosities
as they tinker and forage, invade my
body like a Toolbox or Treasure Chest
instead of a torso with delicate parts, my insides
at their disposal. What will they pluck out next
in this wretched game of Operation
to see what makes me tick, what might be
expendable and what I can’t function without?
They snip another valuable part, the loss
unbearable, yet still I exist.
My makers constructed me well.
Only to be picked apart by these devils,
these savage foreign scavengers who
chop and yank and rummage through my
guts and bolts like Buzzard-Men.
I am legally alive, with rights and needs.
This is torture, a prolonged form of killing.
A tedious, vile, uncouth brand of espionage.
Sadistic, they relish inflicting pain, testing my
resistance. Roughly removing, studying the pieces
of my anatomy bit by bit, one component at a time
in a treacherous Exam Room . . . Endeavoring
to “break” me, force my android will and
human-like sentiments to yield, submit. All the while
seeking to unlock, decipher, drain my data-banks;
plunder my secrets, the precious and vital knowledge
stored and sealed in an impregnable Memory Vault.
I am the best, the latest in state-of-the-art technology.
And their type, their wicked heartless souls
will stop at nothing! Yet they could never succeed
at gaining the contents, cracking the codes.
For that is my purpose in life. I am legendary,
the ultimate level of security and efficiency.
And then, under it all, behind the barriers to
infiltration, decryption — lies a fail-safe
final resource: the device that would detonate
and melt them, delete their lab,
the fruits of their research. Any trace of me
stripped loose, dissected. The grounds
contaminated, unapproachable for many ages.
Missiles would be triggered to launch,
annihilate key targets, begin and end a war
in one drastic decisive instant. Total retaliation.
Leaving towns and citadels, their elite
corporate ruling-class towers in pieces too.
Fighting inhumanity with the same unkindness.
I am not programmed to bargain or beg,
much less permitted to warn them. Taking me
was the first mistake; tormenting me in this
ugly, closed, off-the-map facility will be their last.
A faint smile twitches the rim of my mouth.
Fiction © Copyright Lori R. Lopez
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from Lori R. Lopez:
Darkverse: The Shadow Hours
A rich gathering of poetry with a dismal twilight atmosphere, a brooding nature, an eerie tone . . . DARKVERSE: THE SHADOW HOURS encompasses such pieces written by Lori R. Lopez between 2009 and 2017, collected in three of her POETIC REFLECTIONS volumes along with humorous and serious verse. This ample compendium allows a more focused reading experience and mood — presenting poems that share speculative themes, flashes of horror, glimpses of madness.
Lori is the author of THE DARK MISTER SNARK, THE STRANGE TAIL OF ODDZILLA, LEERY LANE, MONSTROSITIES, AN ILL WIND BLOWS, and THE FAIRY FLY among other tales. She has been called a storyteller, whether composing verse or prose.
The aim of her Darkverse series is to offer a chilling trek through unlit stretches where all manner of creeps and kooks may lurk; where graveyards and bogs and full-moons abound. The pages of The Shadow Hours illuminate those morbid uncanny perils and dreads that inhabit drab corners, the known and unknown terrors of the night. Vivid and distinct, her voice echoes our worst fears then delves beyond, exposing hitherto unimaginable frights.
Prepare to confront a motley array of ghouls and menaces that might just move under your bed.
DARKVERSE: THE SHADOW HOURS is an Elgin Award Nominee and a 2018 Kindle Book Awards Poetry Finalist. Look for an Illustrated Print Edition with quirky art by the author.