The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
by Christina Sng
My last memory is of the leather-bound books sitting on my desk. They carry the stories of my life, written in my shaky, arthritic hand.
I wrote them in case I forget. After all, no one knows what happens after death. Certainly, no one has come back to tell the tale. No one I know, anyway.
I wake up in the darkness. The lamp has tilted and fallen, and now the fire eats away at my clothing and my books.
I frantically pat the flames away and grasp each precious volume in my arms. The window beckons and I lunge through, my right shoulder leading the way.
The cold night air engulfs my skin in a strange entrapment of kinship as it wraps me in its soothing blanket and lulls me to sleep.
I wake up in flames but I feel no pain. The fire has devoured the stories of my life, now dust in my arms. But I no longer care.
All I care about are the people gathering to gape at my burning house, pointing in horror but doing nothing to stop it.
Fury rises up from my gut like a raging inferno. I tear each one of them to pieces, devouring their blood and marrow till I am sated.
It is then I notice my bloodied hands no longer hurt excruciatingly when I open and close my fingers.
My vision is razor-sharp. I can see an owl ten miles away tilting its head curiously to the moon as if it spies a mouse there.
A discomforting sensation stirs inside my stomach.
Who am I, I ask myself?
Does it matter? Another voice replies.
No, I tell it. I no longer care nor remember, but I know how I got here.
Memory is a small price to pay to never again feel pain.
I look up and smile at a child standing by the gate, its eyes glazed and bloodshot with terror and tears. It still holds on to its father’s severed hand.
With a leap, I take to the brightening sky, leaving all that is human behind.
Fiction © Copyright Christina Sng
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from Christina Sng:
A Collection of Nightmares
Hold your screams and enter a world of seasonal creatures, dreams of bones, and confessions modeled from open eyes and endless insomnia. Christina Sng’s A Collection of Nightmares is a poetic feast of sleeplessness and shadows, an exquisite exhibition of fear and things better left unsaid. Here are ramblings at the end of the world and a path that leads to a thousand paper cuts at the hands of a skin carver. There are crawlspace whispers, and fresh sheets gently washed with sacrifice and poison, and if you’re careful in this ghost month, these poems will call upon the succubus to tend to your flesh wounds and scars.
These nightmares are sweeping fantasies that electrocute the senses as much as they dull the ache of loneliness by showing you what’s hiding under your bed, in the back of your closet, and inside your head. Sng’s poems dissect and flower, her autopsies are delicate blooms dressed with blood and syntax. Her words are charcoal and cotton, safe yet dressed in an executioner’s garb.
You’ve already made your bed.
The nightmares you have now will not be kind.
And you have no one to blame but yourself.
Great imagery here – echoes of Miss Havisham in the flames – powerful!
A terrific and evocative story.