The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
Storm of Night
by Naching T. Kassa
Nalin Kratides ran through the storm.
Above her, lightning flashed through roiling clouds and thunder rumbled. Harsh wind whipped at her clothes and hair. She clutched at the arm of the man who led her down the path toward the river. The waterfall before them roared.
“I want to go back,” Nalin said, but the words were not her own.
The man didn’t answer. Perhaps, he hadn’t heard. He pushed on through the undergrowth, pulling her down to the river’s edge. Lightning strobed through the black sky. It shimmered in the fastmoving water and gleamed in his eyes. Thunder boomed above.
“Eddie, I don’t like this,” Nalin shouted. “I want to go back to the car.”
Eddie turned to her. Another flash revealed his thin face. Wide eyes gazed and he grinned. She released his arm, but before she could pull away, he grasped hold of her wrist.
“Can you see me?” he cried.
“Oh, Eddie, please. Not again.”
“I see you.”
“Are you looking at me right now?”
“You’re watching me. You’re always watching me.”
Though she didn’t want to, Nalin glanced up at the sky.
“Eddie, we can’t stay out here. It’s dangerous and you’re sick.”
“I see you in there. I can see you behind her eyes. I know who you are.”
“Of course, you do. It’s me. It’s Darla.”
He shook his head. “No. You’re Nalin. Nalin Kratides. You’ve taken my woman for the last time. I’m going to cut you out.
Pain suddenly bloomed in her abdomen. She tried to push away, tried to run, but her strength deserted her. She fell backward.
Gravity seemed to relinquish it’s hold on her, for she did not simply plummet to the ground. Instead, she moved in slow motion, floating above the earth. She drifted higher, above the waterfall, above the tops of lifeless trees and their skeletal branches. As her body rose into the sky, the lightning took on a strange emerald hue. A small ball of light erupted from her chest, and though she tried to hold it back with her right hand, it escaped her and joined the clouds.
A tunnel appeared before her. A man waited at the end, standing near a severed head which rested on an examination table. He looked up into Nalin’s face.
“He’s here, John!” she cried. “I can get him!”
Detective John Warren rushed forward into the mouth of the tunnel.
“Nalin, it’s too dangerous.”
She turned and peered down. The storm clouds parted, revealing the figure standing on the riverbank, his eyes focused on the ground.
Before he could look up, she dropped down to him and grasped hold of his hair. Eddie struggled as she tried to pull him upward into the sky. She kicked against the air but couldn’t lift him. He grabbed her wrists.
“I have you!” he cackled. “You won’t watch me with their dead eyes anymore!”
Eddie dragged her down to earth. She lost her grip and he flipped her on to her back. The air rushed from her lungs.
A blade glittered in his hand.
The tunnel materialized behind Eddie and John stood within it. He surged toward them, but the distance was too great. He would never make it to her in time.
Eddie towered above her. As he took a step, she lashed out with her foot and connected. He doubled over and stumbled backward. Pain and hatred twisted his face. He raised the knife.
Before he could rush to Nalin and plunge the blade into her chest, a ball of light streaked by them and crashed into the mud on the riverbank. Something rose from the muck and shivered to life, its movements awkward and stilted. Pale arms reached for Eddie. The figure shambled forward.
Eddie shrieked as the headless form advanced. His knife came down, piercing the feminine shoulder. The blade snapped off in it, but no blood coursed from the wound.
Pale hands seized Eddie’s throat. He clutched at them, eyes bulging.
“At last,” the head called from the end of the tunnel.
“You can’t kill him!” Nalin cried. “There are others. He knows where they are.”
“Oh, I’m not going to kill him,” the head replied, as the hands tightened their grip. “You can have him—after he calls me by my real name. I’ll give him three chances. If he gets the last guess wrong—well—I’ll bite his nose off.”
Fiction © Copyright Naching T. Kassa
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from Naching T. Kassa:
As technology takes over more of our lives, what will it mean to be human, and will we fear what we’ve created? What horrors will our technological hubris bring us in the future? Join us as we walk the line between progressive convenience and the nightmares these advancements can breed. From faulty medical nanos and AI gone berserk to ghost-attracting audio-tech and one very ambitious Mow-Bot, we bring you tech horror that will keep you up at night. Will you reach the Kill Switch in time? Edited by Dan Shaurette and Emerian Rich, with authors Chantal Boudreau, Garth von Buchholz, Bill Davidson, Jerry J. Davis, Dana Hammer, Laurel Anne Hill, Naching T. Kassa, Tim O’Neal, H.E. Roulo, Garrett Rowlan, Phillip T. Stephens, and Daphne Strasert.
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Delightfully surreal, I like it.