The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
Clouds of Dust
by Linda Lee Rice
It’s happening again. The sun disappears as the cloud of dust appears in the distance. Acid yellow, burning my lungs, and stinging my eyes until I can’t tell what is tears and what is water. The dust cloud advances slowly, almost as if it’s teasing me.
The crows’ cawing is what awakened me first in the pre-dawn light. I thought perhaps the crows were wrong, although I knew they never are…cursed birds. Beady-eyed harbingers of doom, the crows seem to enjoy the announcement of what is to come. Swooping, cawing, circling up high in the sky until the sky is the hazy putrid yellow, a warning of what is slowly advancing. Then the crows swoop in to the misshapen trees to wait out the yellow darkness…wretched birds.
The crows were the ones that brought this horror upon us. Collecting trinkets and shiny objects, the murder of crows dug out of the sand that was what to be hidden and never to see the light of day. In-flight, with the object dangling from a pointed beak, the crows squabbled amongst their selves. Then diving bombing, pecking, and harassing the one who has the prize…it dropped.
The haze rose in the air, spreading insidiously, covering the ground blocking the sun. Then the screams began mixed in with the raucous noise from the crows. It continued through the night, and in the morning, the poisonous cloud was gone.
It has happened three times since then. I have searched for the object, hoping to put whatever it was back inside. But the crows, who always know, started their incessant screeching. It’s beginning again…
Within the cloud, I hear teeth-gnashing, sounds of liquid, and movement…and I’m afraid.
Fiction © Copyright Linda Lee Rice
Image courtesy of Christina Sng
More about Linda Lee Rice:
Linda Lee Rice aka Ruzicka has poetry published in Twilight Times, Dark Krypt, Fables, Descending Darkness, Writing Village, Spine, and Page, Muses Gallery, Bloodbond, Lycan Valley Press Publishers, Alban Lake, Highland Park Poetry, Rosette Maleficarum, The Siren’s Call, Edify Fiction
and the June Cotner anthology, “House Blessings” and “Garden Blessings
She has short stories published in The Grit, and Reminisce, Haunted Encounters: Friends and Family, FrostFire Worlds. Plus, a personal essay at Mamalode. She also has various articles and blogs published online as a freelance writer.
It’s great how you pack such a feeling of dread into so few words – good use of the prompt too
Wonderfully evocative and ominous.