The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
Woman at the Window
by Marge Simon
The bench inside is cold, the train station deserted. Trains don’t run here anymore, obviously. Earlier, he’d taken a couple of ‘ludes with some meth. Definitely coming down off it now. He feels sluggish and tired, good a place as any to crash. He looks at the bag on the floor. It had been pretty easy, almost too easy. Old man in that liquor store, he didn’t put up any protest while he filled the sack with bills. A shame this had to be the guy’s last day. The take wasn’t very much, but it’d buy him enough stash to make a profit.
Around him, the floor is littered with refuse –candy wrappers, used condoms, cigarette butts. He’s reminded of Delany’s Dahlgren, in which a city is cut off from the rest of the world by a mysterious catastrophe. He can never remember how it ends. Lighting a joint, he shuffles over to the window. Just then, the panes begin rattling. Distant and low, then louder –the wail of a train. The floor quakes with the rumble of wheels on steel. It slows to a stop. With a start, he notices the doors to the platform are chained shut, but he grabs and shakes them anyway. Fuck! Well, there’s his answer. Trains are still running – at least, this one is. He doesn’t plan on leaving town just yet anyway.
The train starts up again and pulls away. Someone must’ve gotten off because there’s a figure outside the filthy window. He can see hands on the glass. A woman’s voice, “Please, let me in!” Nothing he could do, even if he cared. He sure as shit doesn’t want company right now. He yells “FUCK OFF!” But she doesn’t leave.
Gradually her voice changes, deepens, continuing in a clear, hypnotic monotone. He decides he likes her voice. Suddenly, she’s beside him. Vaguely he wonders how she got in, but it’s not important. She is telling him not to worry, all will be so wonderful very soon. “What beautiful hands you have,” she says. He puts one of his beautiful fingers in his mouth, sucks. It tastes delicious …
A squad car pulls up, two officers emerge.
Officer #1: “This is the place, all right. It’s known to be haunted, that’s why the boys were there, something about a dare. They swore there’s a corpse inside.”
Officer #2: “Yeah, the doors are open. Remember, they claimed it was already unlocked. All they did was give ‘em a push.”
Officer #1: “There he is, over on that bench. Looks young, maybe nineteen, twenty. Blood all over his hands and shirt. Those kids must’ve rifled his bag. At least they turned the money in. What’ll you bet it’s from that liquor store robbery and homicide the other day?”
Officer #2: “Yeah, –hey, what’s this in his mouth?” Henry reaches down and pulls something out. “It’s his index finger, ragged at the end. See? Looks chewed on.”
Officer #1: “Christ! But that can’t be what killed him. Looks like he’s just seen a ghost. Maybe a lady ghost, smell that perfume?” He starts to laugh, but the wail of a train horn cuts him off.
Fiction © Copyright Marge Simon
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from Marge Simon:
The Demeter Diaries
‘The Demeter Diaries’ is a record of love and longing and the inevitable horror that arises between the minds of Mina Harker and Vlad Dracula as they court one another in waking dreams. The dialogue, written in both poetry and prose, imagines a psychic connection that develops between the two even before Dracula arrives in England. As Dracula makes his way from Transylvania to Whitby on the doomed ship Demeter, the two would-be lovers transmit their thoughts across the waves and lands that separate them, alternately wooing and terrifying one another with the idea of love eternal and all the dark delicacies necessary to ensure it. Front cover art by Wendy Saber Core, interior illustrations by Luke Spooner.