The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
by Marge Simon
It was almost like he wanted to be caught. The guy was bundled in a heavy parka when we captured him. He’d been going along through the packed snow at a good clip, but once he saw we were coming after him, he slowed down. We could smell him ten feet off, he stank like a dead thing. Thaddeus took a deep breath and held it to tie his wrists. Since it was growing dark, we dragged him back to the cabin we’d been staying in. Better to wait until morning to take him to Saddlerock and claim the reward. He made a lot of noise, wheezing like a horse with broken wind. Sam flipped back the parka hood, turned pale, and pulled it back up. “Shit! Ain’t no man like I’ve ever seen. This thing’s sick, that’s what’s making the stink. Got some kind of skin disease.” We decided to lock him in the shed overnight. Sam gave him a drink and left him tied up good. Maybe he was poorly, but the reward was too high not to take precautions.
Snow began that night. Thad produced a bottle of whiskey, saying we needed to toast our prisoner. “I propose we call him “Wheezer.” We thought that was pretty funny. We shared a swig or two and turned in. Nobody thought to check the shed one more time. Come morning the snow had stopped and the air was chill and crisp. I went out to relieve myself and froze, right there. Sam was in the door of the shed, throat torn and drowning in his own blood. Half Thad’s face was gone, partly ripped, partly chewed to the bone. He was wailing, staggering around waving his arms.
“Holy Shit! He’s got loose!” But that was just me, the only ones who could hear me were already beyond caring. Yeah, he was loose, but he sure wasn’t gone. I heard the crunch of snow behind me. Wheezing as bad as ever, he knocked me out and dragged me inside the cabin. When I came to, his hood was thrown back and that stench was all around. Ugly, stanky sonofabitch. Great open sores festered on his face. He came over and squatted in front of me with a knife. “Goin’ to let you go, man. You tell them folks in Saddlerock I appreciated their hospitality. Tell ‘em I didn’t know it was me causing this here plague or I’d not of stuck around.” I raised an eyebrow and he continued, “Don’t be surprised if some of them stink an’ act like me. Maybe you’ll be e-mune. Now, git before I change my mind.”
On my way there. I got to warn them, but damned if I didn’t catch myself wheezing a bit ago.
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.
This is awesome! I guess they should have worn their masks ;p I like how you describe the guy. I’m totally grossed out. Nice!
Thank you, Angela. I really wasn’t thinking about Covid or writing something about another plague when I wrote this. It kind of sneaked up on me! Once the story had me in its clutches, I was a goner!
You’ve got the year off to a flying start – a chilling tale for our times.
Thank you! The year is off to a great start on another front: we have a new President! YAY!