The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
An Evening in Farleigh Park
by Terrie Leigh Relf
Katya had only lived in the quaint neighborhood of Farleigh for a few months. While she had heard a rumor or two about not walking through the park at night, Katya still did so nearly every day on her way home from work. Besides, dusk was her favorite time to walk. It was so peaceful without all the joggers, cyclists, and dog walkers.
Feet aching from new heels, Katya decided to sit on the old green bench for the first time. She slipped off her shoes and leaned back with a sigh. Despite the warm evening, Katya shivered. While buttoning up her jacket, Katya felt a hand rest on her shoulder. When she whisked her head around, there was no one there. She scanned the nearby copse of trees and surrounding grounds. No one. Not even a squirrel.
Shrugging the feeling off to too many cups of coffee, Katya leaned back again. Just a few more minutes before heading home for the evening. Perhaps she’d have a glass or two of Malbec along with a nice cheese board. It would be wonderful to just curl up with a book for a change.
Katya’s musings were interrupted when she felt something press against her thigh. She brushed the sensation away, and was about to yell at whoever it was, when she realized no one was there. Laughing at herself, she bent over to pick up her heels. While she straightened up, she felt the pressure of not one, but two large hands, on her shoulders.
Freezing in place, she managed to ask, “Who is it?”
The pressure increased as her attacker leaned closer to whisper in her ear: “A young pretty thing like you shouldn’t be out walking alone.”
“I’m leaving now.” Katya replied, her voice stronger than she felt. As she attempted to pull away, hands grabbed her upper arms, slamming her back onto the bench. Katya cried out in pain; the response, laughter.
For a moment, the pressure on her shoulders released. Katya picked up her shoes and stood, preparing to run home in her bare feet. She made it a few steps before being grabbed and slammed back onto the bench. A heavy weight pressed into her thighs and chest.
“I’d like you to stay a while. Get acquainted.”
Katya shook her head, keeping her eyes closed.
“Look at me. Open your eyes and look at me.”
Katya clenched her eyes even tighter as the man, as she was sure it was a man now, leaned forward, his scent a mixture of expensive cologne and top shelf scotch. There was another scent that she couldn’t quite place, a cloying odor that clung to each breath that she managed to take.
“I said look at me!”
Katya opened her eyes.
There was no time to scream as the apparition’s hands circled her throat. “That’s right. I want to see you. I want to watch the light leave your eyes, taste the fear on your lips. Yes, that’s right . . . Just a few more moments and you’ll be mine.”
The thought of joining this creature in death sent one more spark of energy through Katya. It was useless to scratch out his eyes because the sockets were already empty. It was useless to pull his hands away from her neck because hers passed right through his. And it was useless to wrench away from him as she was pinned to the bench . . .
Resigned to her fate, Katya vowed to make him miserable in death. She would thwart his every attempt to cause harm. As if in response to her vow, Katya felt gentle hands tuck a warm blanket around her before lifting her onto a gurney. She coughed, tried to speak.
“You’re safe now. Just rest. We’re taking you to Farleigh Hospital.”
Katya drifted in-and-out while the EMTs drove to the local hospital. When they arrived, she heard one of the EMTs say to an admitting nurse, “Another one from the park. That makes seven within the past month, doesn’t it?”
“Indeed it does. She’s one of the fortunate ones. The others . . . “
“We’ll have to bring this up at our next meeting. “
“I’ll make sure of it. We’ll need our entire group for a banishing spell. I thought for sure that we’d rid the park of him last time.”
“So did I. Well, maybe this one can join us. After all, she got a good look at him and survived.”
The nurse glanced at the young woman resting on the gurney, nodded. “She must have done something to get him to let go.”
“Exactly . . . which means that she’s likely one of us.”
Fiction © Copyright Terrie Leigh Relf
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from author Terrie Leigh Relf:
For thousands of Earth years, the Transgalactic Consortium has had a quiet interest in this planet and its inhabitants, the Haurans. While the Sisterhood of the Blood Moon works together with the Consortium and Haurans to maintain balance in the universe, the Blood Moon is fast approaching. The power of this moon reveals untold secrets . . . including a sacred covenant with the Mora Spiders. There is an ancient pact that needs to be honored—but at what cost and for whose purpose? The world may come to an end. But will there be a chance for a new beginning?