The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
by Alex Grehy
That’s what you and your feral little gang shouted as you fled past me, laughing.
“Fly away home…”
“Your house is on fire…”
“Your children will burn…”
I was used to ignoring your racist taunts, but the wicked excitement in your voices filled me with dread. I dropped my shopping bags and ran home. The front door was ablaze; smoke poured from the roof. The fire roared, invigorated by the draft as I smashed a window, desperate to save my children.
They said, later, that I must have imagined my children’s screams. They said Pip and Arthur wouldn’t have had time to scream; smoke inhalation, they wouldn’t have suffered long.
They shouldn’t have suffered at all.
I should have known that the babysitter would run away at the first sign of trouble. That you’d be left free to throw petrol through the letterbox, to ignite it with a burning cigarette. All because our coffee skin, spotted with vitiligo, was different to yours.
I had my first tattoo soon after the fire – the pain of the needle was cathartic, addictive. The tattoo artist was reluctant, the large blocks of red and black were stark. But I needed the burning agony of the special ink to fuel my vengeance. Ladybug, you called me. Ladybug I became. When it was done, my victim’s skin had been transformed with a predator’s markings and laced with toxins.
Of course you were too stupid to read the warning signs. You and your gang were doomed when I let you lay hands on my skin. Once you were paralysed and helpless, I took my time over the finish. The screams that had echoed in my head since that day became real as I incinerated your sycophants in front of you. You begged for mercy where there was none to be earned.
Now I hold your head in my hands – your skull is raw and bloody from where I dipped it in paraffin and held it in the flames. A sooty blackness obscures your cheeks where your eyes melted like candlewax. Yet your mouth still gapes, striving for life. I pile wet leaves on the fire – the smoke is thick and acrid. I walk away, leaving you to suffocate, slowly…
Fiction © Copyright Alex Grehy
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from author Alex Grehy:
After a lifetime of writing technical non-fiction, Alex Grey is fulfilling her dream of writing poems and stories that engage the reader’s emotions. Her work has been featured by a wide range of publications including Siren’s Call, Raconteur, Bookends Review, and Toasted Cheese. One of her comic poems is also available via a worldwide network of public fiction dispensers managed by French publisher, Short Edition. Her ingredients for contentment are narrow boating, greyhounds, singing and chocolate. It is a sweet life, yet Alex’ original view of the world has led to her best friend to say ‘For someone so lovely, you’re very twisted!
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