The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
Speak No Evil
by Naching T. Kassa
Ella Fontaine walked the dark street, a shopping bag in hand. Bone weary from a day of menial work, her thoughts drifted toward home and the husband who waited for her. Oh, for the days of youth and the quick step. She’d have been home in five minutes instead of fifteen. Mama said these days would come. Ella hadn’t banked on how soon.
She shuffled past an alleyway and, in the blaze of neon glare, caught sight of movement. Two bodies struggled against one another. A woman’s scream split the night.
Ella averted her eyes. “See no evil, speak no evil,” Mama’s long-dead voice rang out in her mind. “Walk on by, girl. Walk on by.”
The cry came again, pitiful and agonized. Ella stopped in the mouth of the alley, her breath ragged.
“Help me,” the woman cried.
Shadows gathered and swirled at the edge of Ella’s vision. She tried to tear her eyes away from the scene, but the words held her spellbound. They forced her backward and into the past.
Nine-year-old Ella stood at the base of the tree, staring up at the strange fruit which hung from its limbs. At least, she wished it was fruit. No apple she knew was so big, nor did it bare such bulging eyes and purpled lips. This one bore the face of her father. His neck at an unnatural angle.
Tears scalded Ella’s cheeks as her hands clenched into fists. Her small frame shook. The light of a burning cross flickered over the faces of her mother and sister. It danced in their eyes and in those of the ten men, their faces masked in flour sacks, their bodies wrapped in sheets. Mama tried to cover her eyes, to pull her close, but she shook free and fixed her gaze on the men, her lip curling with rage. Raising a small brown finger in the air, she jabbed at them one by one.
“Die!” she cried. “Die! Die!”
They fell to their knees, hands to their throats, choking. Scarlet spread across their hoods as they dropped to the ground. A red mist rose before Ella’s eyes as she shrieked the words.
She would’ve continued if a hand hadn’t clamped over her mouth. She struggled against the one who held her.
“Ella, no!” a voice cried near her ear. Mama’s voice.
Ella ceased her struggle. Her vision cleared, but the screaming didn’t stop.
Her sister lay upon the ground, blood spewing from between her lips. Her body jerked like a puppet on a string. Why had she cast on her? She didn’t remember casting on her.
“No,” Ella cried. “Stop! I didn’t mean it! I didn’t mean it!”
Mama pulled her close and whispered in her ear.
“I told you, girl. I told you when you got the gift. See no evil, speak no evil.”
The words echoed in her mind and she found herself on the street once more, covering her eyes and mouth with both hands.
“Help me,” the woman wailed.
Ella’s peeked with her right eye. Her vision pierced the gloom, revealing the man in the ski mask and his victim, his hands tightening round the woman’s throat.
Ella lowered her hands.
“See no evil, speak no evil,” her mother whispered.
“Too late, Mama,” Ella said.
She raised both hands in the air and brought them down on either side of her knee as though breaking dry kindling.
A sickening crunch followed and the man screamed. His body fell to the pavement with a soft thud.
Ella shuffled over to the woman and offered her a wrinkled hand.
The woman looked up at her with frightened eyes. “How…why…?”
“I’m old and I got tired,” Ella replied. “Tired of turnin’ away.”
Fiction © Copyright Naching T. Kassa
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from Naching T. Kassa:
Crescendo of Darkness
Music has the power to soothe the soul, drive people to obsession, and soundtrack evil plots. Is music the instigator of madness, or the key that unhinges the psychosis within? From guitar lessons in a graveyard and a baby allergic to music, to an infectious homicidal demo and melancholy tunes in a haunted lighthouse, Crescendo of Darkness will quench your thirst for horrifying audio fiction. HorrorAddicts.net is proud to present fourteen tales of murderous music, demonic performers, and cursed audiophiles.