The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
The Mouse in the Lion’s Paw
by Melissa R. Mendelson
I was heading to the store when I saw her walking along the field, dragging her large, stuffed lion behind her. I pulled over to the side of the road and called to her. At first, she ignored me. I couldn’t blame her. I was a stranger, but then she looked at me. She stared at me for a moment. She walked over to my car. Without saying a word, she got in the front passenger seat.
My wife was furious. Instead of going to the store to get the milk and bread, I came home. I came home with a little girl with no name and a large, stuffed lion. I tried to explain myself, but my wife did not want to hear of it. She tried to make the little girl talk. The little girl only clung to her lion without saying a word.
For the rest of the day, the little girl watched television in the family room. She never let the lion out of her sight. My wife and I talked quietly in the kitchen, wondering what happened to the little girl. What happened to her family? It was getting late, and we had the extra room. Tomorrow, I would call the police. Maybe, the sheriff would shed light on the little girl and her large, stuffed lion.
I awoke early the next morning. My wife had her back to me. She couldn’t possibly still be mad at me. I could always go back to the store today, after I call the police. Was the little girl awake? I touched my wife’s shoulder to wake her up. Her skin was ice cold. I tried to pull her toward me, but her body was dead weight. I slid out of bed and walked over to her side. My knees buckled, and I fell to the floor.
I pulled myself up and staggered out of the room. I was freezing. I crossed my arms over my chest, trying to keep warm. With a shaky hand, I opened the door to the guest room. The room was empty. No little girl. No large, stuffed lion. I hurried downstairs, and the television set was on, playing cartoons. But no little girl or large, stuffed lion.
I suddenly coughed. It was a harsh cough. It felt like broken glass in my throat. I coughed again. I covered my mouth and felt something warm splash across the skin. Blood, and I coughed again.
The front door was left open. I stumbled outside, wearing pajama bottoms and a white t-shirt, a white t-shirt now covered with blood. My eyesight blurred. I coughed harshly. I stopped at the edge of the lawn. A cry escaped from my lips. They were dead. All of them. I looked at the family across the street. They were lying together on the lawn. Blood painted their lips. Everyone was dead. Did I do this? I suddenly felt dizzy and fell to the ground. As my head smacked against the earth, I saw the little girl. She was walking along a field somewhere with the large, stuffed lion dragging behind her. She stopped walking as if she knew that I saw her, and the little girl smiled at me.
Fiction © Copyright Melissa R. Mendelson
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from Melissa R. Mendelson:
Better Off Here
We always look to the greener pastures, thinking our lives would be so much better over there, but if we were over there, what if all we wanted was to go back? Instead, we found ourselves trapped with the darker side to our fears.