The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
by Lee Murray
“No other guests?”
I shook my head. “Came on the bus.”
The girl squinted through eyes smudged black from yesterday’s mascara. “Next one’s not ‘til Thursday.”
“Then I’ll stay ‘til Thursday.”
“Won’t someone be expecting you?”
I snorted. “Like anyone cares.”
She paused a moment, then handed me a key. “6B. End of the block. WIFI’s a bit dodgy, though.”
I nodded. It was the back end of the back of beyond.
6B was like any other low-rent room: a water stain in the sink, a bedspread like canvas, and a lingering odour of despair. I watched a Mad Max rerun, then turned in.
Around three am, I heard creaking. An ice machine grinding? Light shone through the curtains, and the doorknob rattled. Another guest, too drunk to find their own room probably. I was about to turn over when someone slammed into the door. Wood shuddered in the frame. There was another strike, louder, insistent.
“You’ve got the wrong room,” I shouted.
Another smash, then splintering.
The hell? Blood pounding, I scrambled out of bed and snatched up my phone to call the police. The screen glowed uselessly. No signal.
The door gave, crashing inwards, and the girl from the front desk barged through, her face made up like a clown, like it was Halloween or something.
But the axe, stained black, was very real.
I backed away.
The girl advanced, swinging the axe. “Sorry for the drama. They like flavour of fear.”
They who? I glanced sideways as a mass of sinuous tendrils slid through the ceiling vents, coalescing into hideous long-toothed monsters.
“Let me out,” I begged.
Instead, the blade flashed, severing my arm cleanly at the elbow. I screamed. Clasped the stump. Fell. Blood spurted though my fingers.
Cackling, the girl swung again, slicing across my midriff. “No one’s coming,” she said. “Last guest departed yesterday.”
Blood and guts pooling about me, I couldn’t speak now, still, she read the question in my eyes.
“The females are brooding,” she said. “And mothers have to be fed, don’t they?”
She stood back as the creatures surged.
Fiction © Copyright Lee Murray
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from Lee Murray:
Grotesque Monster Stories
Three-time Bram Stoker Award® nominee Lee Murray delivers her debut collection, and it is monstrous. Inspired by the mythology of Europe, China, and her beloved Aotearoa-New Zealand, Murray twists and subverts ancient themes, stitching new creatures from blood and bone, hiding them in soft forest mists and dark subterranean prisons.In this volume, construction workers uncover a hidden tunnel; soldiers wander, lost after a skirmish; and a dead girl yearns for company. Featuring eleven uncanny tales of automatons, zombies, golems, and dragons, and the Taine McKenna adventure Into the Clouded Sky, Lee Murray’s Grotesque: Monster Stories breathes new life into the monster genre.11 short stories from the imagination of New Zealand’s multiple award-winning author and editor Lee Murray! With a foreword by USA Today bestselling author David Wood.
Please don’t forget to visit the other WiHM 12 projects taking place!