The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
by R.A. Clarke
Janna’s Journal Day 1:
I arrived today. Pharmantis set me up in a private room with a soft, warm bed and three gourmet meals a day—a huge step up from the shelter.
They promised I’d be beautiful again. That the burns covering my body, and the crash that caused them, would become worries of the past. My hair might even regrow.
I know there are risks… untested drugs and all that. But more than anything, I want my life back. To feel normal. To walk in public without staring or laughter. I have nothing to lose.
I still can’t believe I got selected!
Every participant in the trial (30 of us) has to wear tiny monitors and report daily to the testing lab for skin cream application. Pretty straight forward.
It’s odd not having any windows. I mean, I get why—no outside access equals no leaked information. But it’s still weird.
The cream tingles, but no allergic reactions. So far, so good.
Dare I hope?
Holy shit, it’s a miracle! My scars are gone—like, GONE! They just sloughed off like snakeskin. I can’t stop staring in the mirror.
Pharmantis says full treatment is required to ensure lasting results.
Fine by me!
Something’s not right. My skin looks pale, almost grey, and I’m exhausted. No!
The Pharmantis doctors assure me these side effects will dissipate after full treatment.
I’m trusting they know what they’re doing.
Pain meds are useless. I’ve had a pounding headache for two days and I’m too nauseous to eat.
What’s worse, my skin looks darker every day, and the doctors keep saying it’s all part of the process. Seriously?
They won’t even let me make a phone call!
This is so messed up. I’m walking.
WTF! I tried to leave, but Pharmantis said, “The trials are going as planned. As per contract, you can’t revoke consent unless something goes wrong.” I lost my shit.
I kicked and screamed as they held me down to apply the cream.
They’re watching us all very closely now, limiting participant contact.
But we’ve got a plan.
Today we revolted, storming the doors. It was a solid attack, but it’s like Pharmantis knew. They used stun guns, and now we’re all confined to our rooms.
This headache is making my eyes bulge. I swear my limbs are elongating, there are two nubs forming on my back, and… I’m growing a tail!
What am I becoming?
I’m freaking out.
Everything hurts so bad. All I feel is rage. They had to sedate me to apply the cream.
Memories keep fading. I can’t remember where I grew up.
These “drugs” are messing with my head.
My fingers fused overnight. I planned to use these new pincer-like appendages to my advantage—but Pharmantis is always one step ahead. They fired a tranq dart through the slot in the door.
I feel so helpless…
My eyes popped out, finally. They’re huge and turning black like my skin, but at least this horrendous headache is fading.
I worry I’m running out of time. Unwanted thoughts keep sneaking in… horrible thoughts.
I need to escape… before it’s too late.
Today I smashed the mirror, stabbing broken shards into my wrists. I’d rather die than become a monster. But my skin was too tough—hard, like a shell. I don’t know what to do anymore.
Sometimes I don’t know who I am.
I have so little energy.
A plateful of grasshoppers slid under my door this morning. They looked disgusting… yet, hunger gripped me for the first time in weeks.
I couldn’t help myself…
They tasted so good.
Wow, I slept all day—must’ve needed it. I feel refreshed, yet also confused. Why are the first 23 pages of my journal missing? Why can’t I remember what I wrote?
And, where am I?
All this food has given me strength. I feel amazing—powerful. Yet still so hungry. I crave the taste of something bigger. Something I can hunt.
My caretakers promise that all my questions will be answered soon.
I have this bizarre feeling I should hate them, yet I can’t imagine why…
My wings finally sprouted! They’re so gorgeous, I actually cried. The creators even gave me a special name to celebrate: Butterfly.
They think I’m beautiful.
Today, I met 29 others just like me. My family. I’m not alone anymore.
The creators say our insectile DNA makes us special—superior warriors.
My stomach growls as they explain our sacred duty.
Let the cleansing begin.
Fiction © Copyright R,A. Clarke
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
About author R.A. Clarke:
The Big Ol’ Bike
Oliver is small, from footprint to glasses. He gets an old bike for his birthday and loves it, but not everyone does. Challenged to a race by the meanest bully in school, will Oliver be big enough to prove heroes come in all sizes?
I love this piece – the journal format is so clever and I found myself willing her not to be so naive, to find a way out – to no avail. Great interpretation of the prompt.
A most creepy and chilling story.
Yet another well paced plot and — well, the reader knows the end will be something like this, but you make it upbeat (even though, of course, it’s horrific). Really good one, R.A. Clarke!