The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
by Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi
The night was chilly. Foggy. I pulled my wrap tighter around my shoulders as I rocked in my chair and watched my daughters from the porch.
They traveled, little feet and big minds, down the valley and through the woods, then up the mountain. We lived in this place where anything could be imagined, except health.
They were in search of miracles in the twinkling, night sky. Even the cat, who had tagged along behind them knew to look above to the skies and ask the right questions, fib the right lies.
Summoning gods or demons or angels or creatures, they had no preference. Brave souls with hearts like a fortress and energy like a magnet. The clouds swirled above and the fog dissipated below, and the sounds of far off waves suddenly became war drums.
My young ladies, my hope, my solace, plead in our tongue to the blackened sky that was illuminated by an unnatural light. Asked for their life-giver to be spared the disease of this Earth, to endeavor together to another vastly realm where resolute ladies (and their cats, their protectors) reigned immortal.
Where no tears were cried for death or cough, no graves buried or mourning of loss. Where people worked and lived with passion and grace, mercy and empathy, a true human race.
Fiction © Copyright Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi
Fiction Image courtesy of Christina Sng
More from Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi:
BreatheBreathe. is a collection of dark poetry and short fiction exploring the surreal depths of humanity. It’s a representation of how life breaks us apart and words put us back together. Purged onto the pages, dark emotions flow, urging readers into murky seas and grim forests, to the fine line between breathing and death.In Act One, readers are presented with a serial killer in Victorian London, a lighthouse keeper with an eerie legacy, a murderous spouse that seems to have walked right out of a mystery novel, and a treacherous Japanese lady who wants to stay immortal. The heightened fears in the twilight of your minds will seep into the blackest of your nights, where you have to breathe in rhythm to stay alive.
In Act Two, the poetry turns more internal and pierces through the wall of denial and pain, bringing visceral emotions to the surface unleashing traumas such as domestic abuse, violence, and illness.
In the short stories, you’ll meet residents of Valhalla Lane whose lives are on a violent parallel track to collision, a man who is driven mad by the sound of a woodpecker, a teenage girl who wakes up on the beach and can’t find another soul in sight, a woman caught in a time shift pitting her against the Egyptian goddess Anuket, and a little girl whose whole world changes when her favorite dandelion yellow crayon is discontinued.
Amid these pages the haunting themes of oppression, isolation, revenge, and madness unfold through folklore, nightmares, and often times, raw, impulsive passion crafted to sear from the inside out.
With a touching foreword by the Bram Stoker nominated author Brian Kirk, Breathe. Breathe. will at times unsettle you, and at times embrace you. Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi, a veteran writer and editor of the written word, offers up a mixed set of pieces, identifying her as a strong, new voice in dark fiction that will tear the heart from your chest, all the while reminding you to breathe.
I very much liked this, Erin, and its eloquent message.
A wonderful, lyrical story.
I loved the descriptions of the girls and their cat – the rich and lyrical language was a pleasure to read
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