The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
The Seal and the Avatar
by Naching T. Kassa
Liliana stands at the window. Below, in the courtyard, her lover beckons.
Beyond the courtyard, black smoke rises into the pink sky. A bell clangs in the distance. Someone calls to the living, asking for their dead.
Liliana glances back at the bed, back at the body she once inhabited. Glazed eyes stare at her, the mouth slack, the skin stained red with blood. Her skin has not yet grown cold.
She hurries to the door.
In the first room, the dancers move across the floor. Their masked faces appear monstrous and grotesque. Prospero is among them. He clasps a woman in obscene embrace. None seem to hear the distant bell.
Outside the stained-glass window, the light from a lit brazier flickers. Sapphire radiance seeps through and a silhouette passes. Liliana follows.
In the second room, dancers dressed in fine silk feast at a long table. They stand in the glow of violet-colored light admitted by a large round casement. Outside, the shadow pauses. It touches the glass and moves on.
The third room, a large ballroom, lies empty. Crimson light enters through three French doors and floods the space. The unlit chandelier above sparkles scarlet. A figure stands at the center door. Clad in blood-red silk, his cloak a midnight black, Liliana’s lover waits.
Liliana glides over the parquet floor. She stops before the portal, her hand upon the latch. He steps close to the glass, pressing his gloved hands against it.
“My love,” he intones in a hollow voice. “I am too late.”
Liliana opens the door. She throws herself into his cold embrace.
He holds her tight and when he pulls back, the mask he wears leers. It is a skeletal face, that of an old and decaying corpse. Strange. She finds no horror in it.
“I have failed you,” he whispers.
She shakes her head. The bloodless slash across her throat has rendered her voice useless. He traces it with one finger.
“He will pay for every drop he’s spilled.”
She clutches at him, but he pulls from her grasp. He strides across the floor and through the doorway.
Liliana hesitates, then hurries to the door. She halts when the screams begin.
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.