The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
by Bailey Hunter
Grandma Lily has dreamed of death over and over. It fills her nights, and wakes our slumber.
She says she has dreamed of death too many times to count, or care. She tells me stories in her crisp linen voice as rain beats down hard upon lead window panes. She says the dreams speak of change flying hard upon due winds and warns me, “Beware. Prepare.”
I hear Grandma Lily as she takes each breath in the night. When I don’t hear her, I want to tip-toe into her room and stare at her birdlike frame to see if she has finally sprouted wings and flown away. I have many times, with flashlight gripped tightly in hand, crept up to her door–but I don’t dare open it. Somehow I think the light will burn her; or perhaps it will reveal what I don’t want to know. An unveiling of that part of her which only comes out when the world slides low into dark comforts.
I’m not a child, and Grandma Lily sees this. Mama and Daddy don’t, but she does. She tells me things about the family, how it was, how it is…. She tells me in grown words I would not expect from her thin, rose-drawn lips. She surprises me sometimes with her language. She speaks in ways I often hear in the halls at school. I hide my shock, but I know she sees that too. I am certain Grandma Lily sees beyond the thick, slow substance of reality. Her dreams are more than neurons firing and only a fool ignores her. I’m in a house full of fools.
I don’t believe Grandma Lily eats any more. She pushes her food away and in perfectly poised words says, “I am not hungry. I have no need to eat this.” Of course Mama and Daddy try to argue with her, but she will have none of it. They always lose.
It makes me wonder sometimes if Grandma Lily is a giant trapped in a tiny frame. Like if I looked at her long enough I could see the giant squatting inside the faded green orbs that float in her wrinkled face. Even the wrinkles look as if time itself makes love within those folds of skin.
It’s the rainy season around here. Storms roll through on heavy horse trampling the fields, turning the roads to slick greased snakes coiling through the countryside. I like to gaze at them when the grey light dims to black. Our old home gives me a front row seat to this war of the Gods.
Tonight, after Grandma Lily and Mama and Daddy have gone to bed, I take in the show. Lightning splinters on the bleak horizon. It cuts sharp shapes into the corpse of the rusted Impala which died years ago up on the hill by my old tire swing. I watch as the night strobes in and out to the beat of Thor’s hammer. Electricity courses through me as Grandma Lily’s words slip through my veins. I can feel those winds and they make the hairs on my body all stand tall reaching out to grab a hold of, something…
The storm fades off into the next county and I sit still as the air around me. I listen for Grandma Lily’s breath. It travels the halls in soft rasping steps and I smile.
Grandma Lily dreamed to death last night. She said goodbye as I slept. I said, “until then” and awoke with new eyes.
Fiction © Copyright Bailey Hunter
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More about Bailey Hunter:
Bailey is a publisher with Dark Recesses Press.
Dark Recesses Press is a publishing house dedicated to providing high quality dark fiction in its many forms to the reader. Our end goal is to impress and entertain, no matter what dark recesses we dare shine our light on.