The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
TOD 9:28 PM
by Mary Ann Peden-Coviello
I lie here, alone, in a darkened hospital room. Attached to what seems to be all the tubes in the known universe. I listen to the quiet beeps of the monitors because that’s the only sound other than the hiss and click of the ventilator that’s lifting my chest and filling my lungs. The doctors told my loving family two or three days ago they should “prepare for the worst,” and they have responded by bickering about who gets what and then leaving me alone here. I suppose they think because I can’t speak to them that I can’t hear or think.
In my dreams – and it seems dreaming is all I do now – I return to the farm of my youth, to the pastures and fields where I used to roam. It’s a warm spring day now, and I am sitting in a patch of poppies. Did the farm ever grow wildflowers like these? I neither know nor care. I revel in the soft breeze and sunlight’s kiss on my face. My hair, long and wavy again rather than chopped short as befits an old woman, tickles my shoulders.
I sense someone standing behind me. I turn and look. It’s a lovely young man—
The monitors shriek their warnings. Nurses and doctors swarm the room like ants.
“It’s time to go, Lucille,” he says. He holds out a hand.
“I’m sure it is.” I take his hand. “Can you tell me where I’m bound?”
His lips curve in a smile. “No. That’s above my pay grade.”
We set off toward the horizon, hand in hand.
“Oh well,” I say, “too bad I won’t be there to see their faces when they find out I’ve left everything to Happy Paws Animal Rescue.”
The lovely young man grins at me. “Pay grade or not, Lucille, you’re gonna do fine.”
“Time of death, 9:28 PM.”
Fiction © Copyright Mary Ann Peden-Coviello
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from Mary Ann Peden-Coviello:
Women write horror and have written it since before Mary Shelley wrote FRANKENSTEIN. This anthology is to highlight the fact women write great horror and to kill the fallacy that they aren’t in some way up to standard. They are. Read here stories by Elizabeth Massie, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Lucy Taylor, and a plethora of other great writers as they work on your nerves, get inside your head, and bang out some of the scariest tales written today. I’m proud to present these women for your consideration, as Rod Serling might say, as I ask you to step into FRIGHT MARE. Lock the door and windows, put on a light, and remember, it’s not real. It’s not real. Midnight awaits, monsters scheme to take you away, the strange and weird wait in the shadows, but it’s not real. Is it?
Edited by Billie Sue Mosiman, the author who brought you the SINISTER-TALES OF DREAD collections and her latest suspense novel, THE GREY MATTER.