The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
It’s a Full Moon Kind of Night
by Christina Sng
Elodie gives me the cup of tea, hands shaking. A drop falls onto the ground and burns a hole through the concrete.
“It will work,” she reassures me.
I grasp the steel cup and look her in the eye, head tilting to study her.
Her eyes dart away, fearful.
Mine narrow and she runs.
I turn my attention to the tea. Its aroma is heady and thick with herb.
Exhaling one last time, I down the steaming liquid and feel it burn through my throat and oesophagus.
For the first time in my life, I feel like I am dying. I don’t know if I should laugh or cry.
The cup slips from my hands and falls to the ground with a clank.
Droplets spray all over the concrete, burning pin-sized holes that stare back at me—the eyeless dead.
I choke, gasping for air, grasping my throat.
The searing pain is crippling, my chest about to explode with a screaming xenomorph leaping out, triumphant.
I laugh at the thought, drop to my knees, and curl up, shaking.
Elodie returns, races to my side and calls out my name. My true name.
The burning pain stops. I stop choking.
“It failed!” She prostrates herself in shame.
I cannot speak but I can stand.
She follows me as I stumble out of the building, crying, “I am sorry. Forgive me, Goddess.”
My hand waves her away.
Outside, the full moon looms large and foreboding. What do they call it these days? Supermoon?
I laugh inside. This is a sign I’ve lived too long.
I walk back into Elodie’s shop. She kneels when she sees me.
“Get up,” I tell her, exasperatedly. “Give me a flask of the tea.”
Carefully, she pours a volume of the clear liquid into a steel flask. I leave a gold coin on her counter.
“I will try again, Goddess,” she reassures me.
I frown. “Once more, I am not a God. And use gender neutral terms. For God’s sake, we are in the new millennium now.”
“Yes, my God,” she replies, in a slightly higher pitch, anguish tinged with relief.
“I am not a… never mind. I don’t feel like dying today. Never works anyway. Just causes a ton of pain.”
Elodie hands me the flask, her face full of wonder and fear. In that order.
I stare at the flask, memories taking me back through time, remembering what I hate most—who I hate most, and how he too, cannot die. But he can feel pain. An eternity of pain.
A mind map of possibilities springs forth, a blueprint of a million parallel lives yet to be lived, chess moves visualized yet unplayed. Which ones will create the outcome I desire?
I feel alive again for the first time in centuries.
“I think I’ll have some fun tonight with an old beau who has caused me quite a bit of heartbreak over the millennia,” I beam. “Throw in a couple of steel cups, will you?”
I raise the flask to Elodie and her alchemy.
After a hundred thousand years, there’s still much fun and purpose to be had. In that order.
Fiction © Copyright Christina Sng
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from Christina Sng:
A Collection of Nightmares
Hold your screams and enter a world of seasonal creatures, dreams of bones, and confessions modeled from open eyes and endless insomnia. Christina Sng’s A Collection of Nightmares is a poetic feast of sleeplessness and shadows, an exquisite exhibition of fear and things better left unsaid. Here are ramblings at the end of the world and a path that leads to a thousand paper cuts at the hands of a skin carver. There are crawlspace whispers, and fresh sheets gently washed with sacrifice and poison, and if you’re careful in this ghost month, these poems will call upon the succubus to tend to your flesh wounds and scars.
These nightmares are sweeping fantasies that electrocute the senses as much as they dull the ache of loneliness by showing you what’s hiding under your bed, in the back of your closet, and inside your head. Sng’s poems dissect and flower, her autopsies are delicate blooms dressed with blood and syntax. Her words are charcoal and cotton, safe yet dressed in an executioner’s garb.
You’ve already made your bed.
The nightmares you have now will not be kind.
And you have no one to blame but yourself.