The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
by Kim Richards
It was a stately place once—back when Virginia was a girl. Now the house’s exterior was just as worn and jagged as her body. The wrought iron bars, with their decorative curling pieces, kept the Unwanted Ones out. Those prevented them from ripping her flesh from her bones as they did the neighbors years back. Virginia still heard their screams when she closed her eyes. Damn memories! The bars also trapped her inside.
The bars never stopped Unwanted Ones from throwing rocks through the window glass. Shards reflected the dying world outside as they clung to the frame edges. Virginia didn’t come close enough to remove them. She couldn’t replace the glass anyway because she had none. Besides, when she tried to sweep up the broken pieces on the floor, Unwanted Ones threw themselves against the wrought iron as they lunged forward, reaching out towards her. She barely escaped the one with long arms. Now she kept the interior doors closed against the weather and herself out of sight.
On rare occasions, she came into the dining room to watch a sunset. Today was one of those times. She kept to the far wall and stepped lightly on bare feet. She never figured out if the Unwanted Ones could smell her but knew for certain they heard her moving. All it took was a slight creak of an aged floorboard to bring them snarling to the window.
Streaks of yellows and orange sunlight reflected across wispy clouds towards the horizon. Sunsets were her only source of beauty. She promised herself, she would watch one when her time came to leave her aged body with its aches and frailty. Now was that time.
Virginia decided it a week ago. She would choose the time and the way. She came every evening since to see if the sky was cloudy. She wanted the perfect sunset like this one. The moment she squeezed through the inner doorway and saw its brilliant splendor, she knew.
She tiptoed over to an old chair and gingerly sat on its rotted cushion. Then she took two little pink pills she saved just for this from her blouse pocket. She tossed them into her mouth and swallowed them dry. If all worked out as planned they would send her on her way just as the last color faded.
Suddenly the chair gave way from beneath her with a loud crack. She landed hard on the floor with another crack—this one from her hip. Within seconds one of the Unwanted Ones stood at the window growling.
“No, no, no,” Virginia whispered. “Get out of my view. I do not want you to be the last thing I see.”
Wincing from sharp pain, she rolled over and set her weight on the other hip. She slowly crawled towards the window.
The thing’s pale lips parted. It gnashed its jagged teeth at her. The long armed one strained to reach her to no avail.
Drawing near, Virginia removed her blouse and wrapped it tightly around one hand. She grasped a large glass shard from the floor and struggled to her knees. With her free hand, she took hold of one of the window frames and pulled her self to her feet. Then with her glass she slashed at the monster’s hands.
It howled but kept coming.
She wobbled on her unsteady body. Long Arms grabbed her by the hair. It yanked her towards the bars. She stumbled and nearly dropped her glass weapon. The two met face to face with only iron in between. Virginia raised her shard in both hands, not caring that one of them bled. With all her might, she brought the ‘blade’ down on his head.
He yelped and let go of her. He fell to one side. Virginia heard a thump as he hit the ground and fell silent.
Her hip gave way and she fell to the floor, among broken glass. She grew drowsy and knew her time approached. Then she looked up and smiled. There, upon the remaining glass pieces in the window frame, was the reflection of the gorgeous sunset. When the sun dipped it’s fiery head down beyond the horizon, it took her soul with it.