The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
by Christina Sng
It is almost dawn.
I sit by the lake looking out at the sunrise.
How far we have come, from the burned cities across the desert land, through the swamps and the waterways, to this place we can finally call our home.
If I listen, I can still hear the enraged screams of the infected coursing through the air as they try to find a way to their remaining food source—us—across the water.
But they won’t. Mike and Ken burned all the boats at the harbor before we fled.
Still, I wonder if the screams I hear are making their way here or if they are just in my head.
“Mommy!” My little girl flings herself into my arms. Her eyes are brighter than the sun, gleaming with delight.
“There are banana trees, Mommy! My favorite!” she exclaims.
I smile to myself. That is good! We won’t starve.
She pulls me to my feet.
I look at the boat that has brought us here.
“Give me a minute, sunshine,” I tell her.
I walk over to the boat and pick up the red cooler box. It feels heavy in my hand as if the weight of the world is in it.
“What is it, Mom?”
I pause and listen. The screams are gone.
“Nothing. Nothing at all.”
“Let’s go sit by the fire then. Anita and Rachel found a lot of coconuts by the beach and are cutting them open as we speak!”
She pulls at my hand and notices the box. “What is inside, Mom?”
I look back at the lake. The screams return, echoing through the air. There are miles of water between us and them. They will never make it here. Not without a boat.
“It’s magic,” I finally say. “Plan B, in case we don’t escape. To make us strong and invulnerable so we can fight. But we will have to give up the sun. And bananas.”
She wrinkles her nose. “That isn’t a very good Plan B then. How can anyone give up bananas?”
I smile. “Let’s go find our friends. Marge and Linda will take the next watch.”
My hand tightens around the handle of the cooler box. We walk back to the cabin where the last of us wait.
Fiction © Copyright Christina Sng
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from Christina Sng:
A Collection of Nightmares
Hold your screams and enter a world of seasonal creatures, dreams of bones, and confessions modeled from open eyes and endless insomnia. Christina Sng’s A Collection of Nightmares is a poetic feast of sleeplessness and shadows, an exquisite exhibition of fear and things better left unsaid. Here are ramblings at the end of the world and a path that leads to a thousand paper cuts at the hands of a skin carver. There are crawlspace whispers, and fresh sheets gently washed with sacrifice and poison, and if you’re careful in this ghost month, these poems will call upon the succubus to tend to your flesh wounds and scars.
These nightmares are sweeping fantasies that electrocute the senses as much as they dull the ache of loneliness by showing you what’s hiding under your bed, in the back of your closet, and inside your head. Sng’s poems dissect and flower, her autopsies are delicate blooms dressed with blood and syntax. Her words are charcoal and cotton, safe yet dressed in an executioner’s garb.
You’ve already made your bed.
The nightmares you have now will not be kind.
And you have no one to blame but yourself.