The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
Flea Market Wishes
by Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi
“How much for the figurine?” said Cassie.
“How bout a deal of $5 for you, dear,” said the pot-bellied man at the flea market. “It’s worth more, having special magic as it does, but you look like you could use a break.”
“It’s so beautiful,” said Cassie. “I would love to buy it. My life has been pretty messed up lately, so you’re right, I could use a little joy. What do you mean special magic?”
“Well, see here,” he said, picking up the piece and looking at it. “From what I understand, from the little old woman lives down the street there… the one does the tarot readings? She said it can grant you… changes.”
“Yes, I know of her,” Cassie said. “But changes? You mean, life changes?”
“I reckon,” said the fat man.
“Ok, I’ll just take it,” said Cassie, and pulled out a wad of one-dollar bills from her pocket, counting out five and handing to him. The guy handed it over to her and she delicately took it in both hands. His stubby fingers brushed over her hand and she looked up at his toothless grin and backed away quickly.
Cassie walked out of the flea market parking lot and down the street, turning in the alley to walk the back-way home to her apartment. She looked over the figurine; it was almost mesmerizing. She wasn’t sure how to get any magic out of it. Shake it? Rub her hand over it? Maybe she should just talk to it or ask for what she needed? She began to tell the woman in the statue about her life. Her wish to finally be over this trauma and fear. To hopefully be able to live with someone again and for them to treat her right. For a family that cared about and supported her. Maybe even for kids one day in the future. She didn’t have a great job either, having so much emotional baggage to heal from, but it was okay, so she’d settle for love to happen first with partner, with family, with friends. For her heart to mend and her life to begin.
When she got home, she walked around to the back and let herself in her door. Her apartment was a one bedroom in the back of the home. Currently the rest of the home, a three-bedroom apartment, was unoccupied. She hoped if anyone moved in it would be a family with kids.
She set her figurine on her bedroom dresser next to the photo of her late cat, Tiger. She stared at it for a minute, but she already felt better. Maybe this would help her after all.
The cops pulled up with their lights twirling to the two-apartment house. The landlord met them in the driveway. “I needed to get in touch with her about a maintenance issue. I kept knocking on the door and calling her phone with no answer,” he said. “I didn’t just want to let myself in, but something seemed wrong so I called you all.”
The cops asked the landlord to open the door with his key. Once they all went in, they were floored by the smell. With their arms up over their nose, they made their way to the bedroom. They found Cassie, dead from blunt force trauma to the head, on her pink carpet—blood in a dried pool from where it had seeped around her head. One of the cops noted a statue, a woman in a white dress with long flowing hair standing with a white horse, laying near the body. It was stained with blood.
The flea market was bustling. The fat man smiled and enticed the younger women thrifting at the sales with statues and wishes. His white tank top, dirty and showing off too much arm and chest hair, was also tinged with blood on the side. But no one was noticing. They were entranced by the offer of better lives. Tokens to wish upon. Figurines to die upon.
Fiction © Copyright Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi
Fiction Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi:
It’s the one-year anniversary of the publishing of my debut dark poetry and short story collection, Breathe. Breathe. Much of it tells my life’s pains and haunts and fears poured, sometimes savagely, onto the page. However, there is also legend, folklore, and fantasy as well.
Breathe. Breathe. is a collection of dark poetry and short fiction exploring the surreal depths of humanity. It’s a representation of how life breaks us apart and words put us back together. Purged onto the pages, dark emotions flow, urging readers into murky seas and grim forests, to the fine line between breathing and death.In Act One, readers are presented with a serial killer in Victorian London, a lighthouse keeper with an eerie legacy, a murderous spouse that seems to have walked right out of a mystery novel, and a treacherous Japanese lady who wants to stay immortal. The heightened fears in the twilight of your minds will seep into the blackest of your nights, where you have to breathe in rhythm to stay alive.
In Act Two, the poetry turns more internal and pierces through the wall of denial and pain, bringing visceral emotions to the surface unleashing traumas such as domestic abuse, violence, and illness.
In the short stories, you’ll meet residents of Valhalla Lane whose lives are on a violent parallel track to collision, a man who is driven mad by the sound of a woodpecker, a teenage girl who wakes up on the beach and can’t find another soul in sight, a woman caught in a time shift pitting her against the Egyptian goddess Anuket, and a little girl whose whole world changes when her favorite dandelion yellow crayon is discontinued.
Amid these pages the haunting themes of oppression, isolation, revenge, and madness unfold through folklore, nightmares, and often times, raw, impulsive passion crafted to sear from the inside out.
With a touching foreword by the Bram Stoker nominated author Brian Kirk, Breathe. Breathe. will at times unsettle you, and at times embrace you. Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi, a veteran writer and editor of the written word, offers up a mixed set of pieces, identifying her as a strong, new voice in dark fiction that will tear the heart from your chest, all the while reminding you to breathe.