The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
by Elizabeth H. Smith
Momma, this is beautiful. Why have we never come here before? She can still hear the voice of her first born echo through her mind. How does a mother explain to her child that a lottery has been drawn, that there are too many mouths to feed and the only worth she now holds is as an offering? For centuries this has been their way, though being daughter of the chieftain, she believed her child would be spared. Wishing she had taken the young girls place, she finds herself yet again trudging towards the tree, this time with her second child in tow.
Tears run dry staining only her heart as she does not wish to scare Atchta. As they trudge up the hill to the lone tree, Atchta spies the plank of wood dangling from a low branch and runs to it. The girl begs her mother to hurry, to push her higher than the heavens. The mother settles upon the swing and together they soar toward the swollen moon as the demon rubs eagerly against the trunk. They lock eyes, the mother and the changeling; her choice made. The death is mercifully quick; the feline sated for another twelve years.
Upon a hill, under a vast sky, stands a single barren tree. The crick of a slowing swing is all that sounds in the quieting night, but if you look closely, when the veil is at its thinnest, you may yet catch an ethereal glimpse of a mother and her daughters reunited under an engorged harvest moon.
Fiction © Copyright Elizabeth H. Smith
Image courtesy of Christina Sng
More About Elizabeth H. Smith:
Elizabeth H. Smith is a storyteller who writes while trying to keep her cat, Luna off the keyboard. The musical group, Rasputina is her muse. She was born in the state of New York and would never feel at home anywhere else.
Through Clouded Eyes: A Zombie’s Point of View: a collection of twelve stories told from the Zombie’s perspective.
They’re shambling toward you, feet dragging on the broken roadway. Arms outstretched, faces slack, they move as if they’re tracking your scent on the wind. You want to run, but you know there’s nowhere to hide.
Aware of their insatiable hunger, fear paralyzes you. These things were once human, people someone loved. Is there anything left inside them – some sliver of humanity that may save you from this nightmare? Your mind doesn’t want to accept the inevitable, a single thought consumes you: what are they thinking?
With your chance of escape dwindling, you snap out of it and run like hell knowing there is little to no hope; fate is coming for you. Soon you will see what they see Through Clouded Eyes…
Featuring stories from Maynard Blackoak, Calvin Demmer, Paul M. Feeney, Stacy Fileccia, Trevor Firetog, DH Hanni, Shannon Lawrence, Josh MacLeod, Zachary O’Shea, Neal Privett, Mark Steinwachs, and Alex Woolf