The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
A Garden of Reaching Hands
by Scarlett R. Algee
The voices have finally stopped.
Vultures are circling, and three crows have clustered in one of the hawthorns, but Cecily ignores them. Instead she hums to herself, half-sings father, mother, sisters, brother beneath her breath as she adjusts the position of a rosebud and pats a half-mound of earth down and stands up, shaking dirt from her skirts.
Mother and Father. And the younger ones: Roger, Emilia, and Rosalyn, who’d never stopped talking, shrieking in play, always asking questions.
Will you read us a story?
Why don’t my stitches look like yours?
Why don’t you ever talk to us anymore, girl?
Silent, now, blessedly silent, so that her head rings with it. Only hands and forearms—she’d sunk the rest in the pond—hands and forearms, stakes and wire, stems and thorns. Buds peeking between splayed fingers, blossoms cupped in skyward-facing palms—
—blood soaked into the carpet, she sings, blood soaked into the beds—
—and no breath, no voice, but her own.
They’d been so noisy before, but they’re perfect now.
And Cecily flushes with pride, smiling on the ruin of her family: quiet, quiet, blooming at last.
Fiction © Copyright Scarlett R. Algee
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from author Scarlett R. Algee:
The Lift: Nine Stories of Transformation, Volume One
The hall is dark and the overhead light flickers. Sounds echo, and there’s a creaking and clanging that gets louder as you stand in the semi-dark. The elevator opens and you’re offered a ride. Step inside and ride it to the story chosen for your transformation. Don’t be afraid, for Victoria, the mysterious girl who operates The Lift, waits to guide you. Set in the same world as the award nominated audio drama, The Lift’s first written anthology features nine all new stories by fan favorite writers and special bonus content by creators Daniel Foytik and Cynthia Lowman. The collection is brought to life with beautiful illustrations by Jeanette Andromeda for each story.