The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
A Final Meeting at the Pillar of Sadness
by Sheri White
It was a gathering place—we shopped, we ate, we danced and sang. Children laughed and played, chasing each other and yelling “You’re it!”
But when Evelyn began to sing, everything stopped. Her voice—it would be a tired cliché to say she had the voice of an angel, but truly there is no other description. Beatles’ songs were her favorite; when she strummed the first notes of “Blackbird” on her guitar and sang the first few words, every one of us shivered and closed our eyes.
We had no idea our happiness wouldn’t last.
Our city is nothing but rubble and burned-out buildings and vehicles. We’ve learned to ignore the burned corpses hanging out of buses and cars. The dead who were outside when it happened—well, the less said the better.
Those of us who survived spend our time scavenging for food and water; both are in short supply. We keep hidden as much as possible; we take turns watching while others sleep. We are surviving, not living; there is no time for any of the joys of BEFORE. We are as quiet as possible in order to stay alive.
But lately, something is happening. Whispers of fighting back, no matter the cost. To try and get our lives back. Graffiti has become a means of communication, a secret code. New messages are added every day and night, covering our once-beautiful marketplace in words and pictures. It’s a new kind of beautiful, though.
The other day I passed another survivor while we searched for supplies in an old grocery store. There isn’t much left by now, but we still look. He lightly shoulder-checked me to get my attention and said something in such a low voice I wasn’t sure I really heard it.
Meet at the Pillar of Sadness tomorrow night.
I turned around, but he just kept walking. But I did see him do the same to others nearby. I started saying it to people I encountered too, hoping it meant something. I did wonder why there would be a meeting at night when we try to sleep as best we can.
The next night, I crept to the marketplace, along with many others. My mouth dropped open.
Hundreds of us crowded the marketplace. Candles and flashlights brightened the night. We murmured, feeling the electricity flowing through the air. We were all nervous, scared; we weren’t used to being out after dark, especially in a crowd. We were in danger and we knew it, but nobody left.
Then we heard it. The strumming of a guitar, and a voice that could only belong to our Evelyn. I pushed my way to the front of the crowd to see her standing in front of the pillar with the sad face drawn with spray paint.
“Hello darkness, my old friend…”
We sang along with her, with trembling voices not used to more than a whisper, and tears running down our faces.
In the distance we heard them coming for us. We kept singing.
“And no one dare disturb the sound of silence…”
Fiction © Copyright Sheri White
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from Author Sheri White:
When the Clock Strikes 13
Tick – tock
Tick – tock
Tick – tock
Your time is running out. When the clock strikes 13, all manners of hell will break loose.
When the Clock Strikes 13 is a collection of thirteen short horror stories by some of the best horror and dark fiction authors writing today. Inside, you will find stories to frighten, shock and gnaw at your inner fears, and take you places that belong only in the dark recesses of your mind. There are monsters on these pages; some are human, some are not.