The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
by Elaine Pascale
She dances in the light, our Madame LaLaurie. In sumptuous gowns with more food than she can eat and drinks that have nothing to do with thirst.
But most importantly, in the light.
We are in the hidden room: the nook of the attic. The darkness makes it impossible to see. The hot air presses on us like layers of goose down. The heat seeps into our pores; the heat pulses in our broken and twisted limbs.
But it could get hotter.
Millie sets the hidden room on fire, using the stove she is chained to. The flames would help us to be discovered. The flames provide some light along with the heat. We can see each other’s scars and disfigurements. We see things that we cannot name, that have no origin in voodoo or magic. We see things that are simply vile and evil. We see things only if our eyes had not been plucked or blinded by the Madame.
But it could get darker.
Madame takes us to the crawlspace she had made us dig beneath the house. The digging had taken place in secret, at night, even though the French Quarter never sleeps.
She takes those of us whose shackles can be broken easily. The others are sacrificed to the fire.
The crawlspace is impossibly small and smells like the rotten soul of the woman who commissioned it. It is barely large enough for our remaining hope of being discovered.
The flames did bring attention. At first people try to help, they throw water on the fire. Then when they see Madame escape alone, without her slaves, they realize what she has done.
We scream from beneath the earth, while the people tear the house apart. They are appalled and angry, and their fury rages along with the fire. They believe the bodies they find in the attic are the only ones that belonged to Madame LaLaurie.
We scream louder and the people say they are hearing the ghosts of the mangled bodies they had uncovered. Those bodies will be the lucky ones that are found, but we will all haunt the mansion eventually.
We scream while Madame dances off into the light and our world becomes flames and fire.
Fiction © Copyright Elaine Pascale
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
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