The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
by Suzanne Madron
The world streaked by in droplets of rain across the windows of the traincar. The hum of steel wheels on steel rails created a lulling backdrop to the occasional percussive clatter as the train bumped over switches and sidings and the train car rocked from side to side like a cradle gone out of control.
The faraway sound of a handle clicking against a lock filtered through the ambiance of the train noise and he turned in his seat, shifting his gaze from the windows to the door of his compartment. He had drawn the curtains of his tiny sleeper car roomette when he had boarded and in the narrow gap where the old velcro seal had peeled or failed to velcro the fabric completely closed, he could see a dark shape lurking just outside his door.
Cold dread enveloped him as the figure stooped to look through the gap in the curtain. He dropped silently to the floor to avoid the peering eyes he knew would be the color of chrome and held his breath.
“Can I help you, sir?”
He blinked the sweat out of his eyes and waited. A voice answered the conductor, but it didn’t sound human.
“My apologies. I thought this was my room.”
There was a pause then a rustle of paper. At last the conductor spoke again.
“Ah, your room is this way. Follow me, please.”
He only ventured off the floor after he heard the door to the vestibule open and close. He spent the subsequent two hours watching the shadows of feet pass beneath his door. The next station stop was still over three hours away.
At dinnertime, the conductor stopped by his room to collect his dinner reservation. He smiled apologetically at the man through the glass of the door.
“Would it be possible to take dinner in my room? I don’t feel well and I don’t want to spread it to the rest of the passengers and crew.”
The conductor smiled politely. “Of course, sir. I’ll bring the menu for you.”
He breathed a sigh of relief and settled into his seat. When the knock came, he opened the door for the conductor.
Instead, the thing with the chrome eyes filled the doorway. Or rather, its black wings filled the doorway as well as the corridor. Its pale face was smooth as porcelain and it would have looked oddly human in its black dress slacks and white button-down shirt.
At his cry of terror the angel sighed. It stepped into his roomette and closed the door behind it, leaving it unlocked.
The black wings folded and disappeared beneath the white dress shirt and the angel sat on the seat across from him. It regarded him for a moment before shaking its head.
“You have eluded me for a long time,” it said at last.
“Leave me alone. I don’t want to die.”
“No one truly dies.”
“I have not yet lived.”
“Be that as it may,” the angel said with a sigh, “Your time on this world is done.”
The angel touched his hand and the angel’s skin was smooth and cold as stone. As they left the train speeding away behind them, the angel smiled at him with some sadness.
“Of all the souls I have collected, I enjoyed our chase the most.”
Fiction © Copyright Suzanne Madron
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from Suzanne Madron:
The house across the street seems to go on the market every few months, but this time nothing about the sale is normal, including the new owners. No sooner has the for sale sign come down and the neighborhood is thrown into a Lovecraftian nightmare and the only way to find out is to attend the house warming party.