The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
The Skin Walker
by Elaine Pascale
Every night it happens: at midnight I leave work, hating the late shift and hating the circumstances that require I work it.
My stomach drops as I walk to the car.
I have to take Haynesville Road.
There is no other way home.
Everyone knows to avoid Haynesville Road. Anyone with any sense would find another way.
There is no other way.
I have learned that instantaneous bad decisions can leave permanent scars. But, for once, this is no bad decision on my part. This is unavoidable.
I have done a good job of avoiding her thus far. I am using my wits and thinking things through. This is a first for me. As a child, I pressed my face to the hot sand to see if I could hear the turtles hatching. What I learned is that sand is not as kind to the face as it is other parts of the body. Being an ugly child, no one told me to be careful of my face. No one warned me, as they have warned me about Haynesville Road. My bad decision led to days of peeling skin.
As a teen, the hockey girls pressed my face to the steaming radiator in the locker room. They thought I had slept with one of the girl’s boyfriends. The radiator was not kind to my face, and the bad decision had been my trying to make friends with the mean girls. I was too ugly to be a part of that crowd. The radiator enhanced my ugliness.
As a woman, I carry a variety of facial scars. Each tell a story of permanence born from mere seconds of bad decisions. Beautiful women are protected from having to make choices; ugly women have no choices.
The woman who taps on the roof of my car is ugly.
She taps, even though I am driving faster than allowed; even though I am tearing up desert road.
She wants my skin, specifically my face.
She wants to tear it off and wear it. She does not mind my scars.
She has made her own bad decisions. This is why she is cursed to forever seek the skin of others.
Each night, she becomes more brazen. She shows herself to me and moves to the front of the car, hoping to cause an accident that will leave my skin available.
It is tiring to fight her off every night. I am about to make another bad decision.
I am about to let her win.
Fiction © Copyright Elaine Pascale
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from Elaine Pascale:
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