The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
A House to Match Her Coat
by Sonora Taylor
Debbie held the tips of her coat in her fingers. It was her favorite, a bright yellow coat with gold snap buttons. She’d worn it every day since she received it for her birthday. She awoke in her coat, took all her meals in it, and wore it to bed. She sweated in it in summer and held it tight to her chest in the winter. She loved its golden color so much that she wished to be forever bathed in yellow.
One day, the longing for a world of yellow made her heart grow sick. She looked at the brown, dirty walls in her bedroom, the grey sky outside her window. She smelled dinner cooking and imagined the dull green of her mother’s stew, brightened only by the grey and orange tip of her mother’s cigarette as she smoked at the table.
Debbie brightened at the thought of the cigarette, then darted to her mother’s room. She stood on tiptoe and brushed her fingers along her mother’s dresser until she felt what she sought: her mother’s box of matches. She ran back to her room, struck a match, and dropped it against the wall.
A small orange flame flickered, then crawled up the side of the wall like a fiery worm. Debbie watched in awe as the wall burned from brown to yellow. She let out a cry of glee, then ran out of the room. One by one, Debbie made each room the same: a golden, flaming yellow where once it had been dull.
She tossed one last match into the kitchen. Her mother swiveled at the sound of Debbie giggling. “What are you–”
Debbie stopped her question by tossing a match onto her mother’s dress. A dull, drab shade of faded periwinkle, not nearly as beautiful as her coat. Her mother screamed and batted at her dress to douse the flame, and in doing so, caught the back of her dress on the flame of the gas burner.
Her mother cried out, and Debbie ran out of the room. She saw the hall and stairs ablaze, the fires she set in the other rooms spreading. She ran outside with a grin on her face, then turned and watched as the house became engulfed in yellow. A house to match her beautiful coat.
Fiction © Copyright Sonora Tayor
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from Sonora Taylor:
Abby Gillman has discovered that with growing up, there comes a lot of blood. But nothing prepares her for the trail of blood she sees in the hallway after class – or the ghost she finds crammed inside an abandoned locker.
No one believes Abby, of course. She’s only seeing things. As much as Abby wants to be believed, what she wants more is to know why she can suddenly see the dead. Unfortunately, they won’t tell her. In fact, none of them will speak to her. At all.
Abby leaves for her annual summer visit to her uncle’s house with tons of questions. The visit will give her answers the ghosts won’t – but she may not like what she finds out.
Wow! This is how a pyromaniac is born!
Sonora, top notch flash – not only fitting the prompt, it can stand alone, needing no excuses! Moreover it is very well contrived — the image of the little girl innocently reproducing her favorite color all by herself, brings a tear to my eye!
What a chiller (even though it’s full of fire) – great interpretation of the prompt.