The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
How Do You Like Your Blue- Eyed Girl, Mister Death?
by Mary Ann Peden-Coviello
I missed my Grampa, a preacher and a fisherman. He didn’t teach me to preach ’cause women was supposed to keep silent in the church ‘less we was singin’, but he taught me to fish, all right.
“Molly,” he said, “if you give a man a fish, he’ll eat today, but if you teach him to fish, he’ll eat ever’ day.” I asked him why anyone’d wanna eat fish ever’ single day, but he didn’t answer, just cuffed me upside the head. Not hard, y’know, just enough to get my attention. He’d died before The War, before the fallout had poisoned the air, the land, the water. He was one of the lucky folks.
The larder was empty, and if I didn’t restock, I’d be a goner. I set a trap and put the last little touches on the lure. I thought on Grampa who’d sit at the kitchen table with a hook clamped in the vise, adding bits of feather and fur to conjure up little flies to trick the fish into taking that last chomp. Happier times.
Then I hid and waited. Didn’t take long.
“Hey, Cooter, look what I found over here.”
“It’s a stash of canned crap. Look, man — beans, Vienna sausages, applesauce.”
“Wait a minute, Hank. Don’tcha think it’s kinda funny findin’ all this stuff just shoved up under this here bridge?”
Great, just what I needed. A suspicious mind.
“Nah, man. Someone cached this stuff and ain’t come back for it.”
“Maybe. Drag it on down here, and let’s look at it.”
That’s right, Cooter. Bite.
The cans clattered down onto the path that ran under the bridge.
“Let’s take this stuff and get outta —”
The man called Hank didn’t finish his sentence on account o’ I shot an arrow through his throat. Ol’ Cooter spun around in a panic, and I put my second arrow through his left eye. My catch was still twitching when I splashed across the foul little creek and walked up to the two bodies. I used a knife to finish off the throat-shot one.
I packed up my lures and dragged my catch off the trail to begin field dressing them.
Once again, I thought about Grampa and how he’d stand in the pulpit, thundering, “I shall make you fishers of men!”
“Amen, Grampa, amen.”
Fiction © Copyright Mary Ann Peden-Coviello
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from Mary Ann Peden-Coviello:
Women write horror and have written it since before Mary Shelley wrote FRANKENSTEIN. This anthology is to highlight the fact women write great horror and to kill the fallacy that they aren’t in some way up to standard. They are. Read here stories by Elizabeth Massie, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Lucy Taylor, and a plethora of other great writers as they work on your nerves, get inside your head, and bang out some of the scariest tales written today. I’m proud to present these women for your consideration, as Rod Serling might say, as I ask you to step into FRIGHT MARE. Lock the door and windows, put on a light, and remember, it’s not real. It’s not real. Midnight awaits, monsters scheme to take you away, the strange and weird wait in the shadows, but it’s not real. Is it?
Edited by Billie Sue Mosiman, the author who brought you the SINISTER-TALES OF DREAD collections and her latest suspense novel, THE GREY MATTER.