The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
The Woman in the Black Dress
by Linda Lee Rice
She’s appeared again for the third night in a row. I don’t know why she’s here or what she wants. I just know that there’s a cold breeze that wafts around my shoulders, and then there she is, staring.
I asked the other guards at the asylum if they had seen her. My co-workers just shook their heads and laughed. They said that I was as loony as some of the long-dead inhabitants.
It’s not that there are any live inhabitants anymore. The asylum was emptied and abandoned after the incident. We’re here to just guard the property against looters and unsavory characters. It’s not a difficult job, just walking around the building inside and checking the grounds outside. But from the first night, there was something just not…right.
The story goes that one of the patients had escaped her straight jacket and proceeded to go on a murder spree. They said that she hacked whoever she could with a butcher knife that she swiped from the kitchen. Then she went to the third floor where the “medical equipment” was and set it on fire. On damp days you can still smell the smokey aftereffects after all these years.
They said she was beautiful, dark, and mysterious, and her husband had her committed. It was told there wasn’t anything wrong with her, she wasn’t insane, but she has threatened to leave her husband, in retaliation, he had her locked up. The doctors decided to experiment on her to dampen her willfulness.
She endured it all, the hot and ice-cold tube treatments, electroshock, and even aversion therapy. But she lost it when the doctors decided they were going to shave her head. Her hair was her pride and joy, luxurious waves falling to her hips. Her husband knew this was her vanity and approved of the doctors’ plan to humiliate her.
She had secreted a small sliver of metal within her bindings. The orderly came in and brushed her hair out, took scissors, and hacked it off to her shoulders. When she was left unattended while the orderly went to get the razor, she cut her way free.
She wreaked havoc on the orderly upon his return, quickly silencing him. Darted up the stairs, setting fire to the medical equipment and slicing the throat of any attendants. Climbing out onto the turret connected to the asylum roof, she ripped off her wedding band and threw it to the ground.
She screamed into the wind, unintelligible to those who watched in horror from the ground. She spread her arms wide and laughed as she stepped into the open space and fell to the ground.
As I said, she has appeared the last three nights, staring at me with her big dark eyes. She absently mindedly reaches up to stroke hair that is no longer there. Insanity now swirls in her eyes. I see a glint of metal in the darkness that surrounds her as I tell myself this isn’t real.
The knife is sharp…
Fiction © Copyright Linda Lee Rice
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
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.