The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
by Nina D’Arcangela
“Gather only the ones that are near to bursting. They grow on the south side of the cliff, their hue that of the melon’s meat. Bring me only what I ask, boy, the ripest. An extra shilling in it should you be back before the sun crests the sky.” Off the child went as the old crone began collecting the necessary herbs to hide the sweet taste.
Several hours later, the boy burst through the doorway, his speed so quick, the weathered skins that served as a barrier flapped in his wake. The gwrach turned from her steeping brew. The child’s face was rouged the hue of dark jostaberry; not a healthy shade to say the least. He panted and gasped, berries coddled in his filthy tunic. He held the thread-bare garment gently in yellow stained fingers. She watched for a moment, then pointed to the oaken table. The boy stumbled to it and unburdened himself of his precious load. As his pallor shifted from crimson to deep purple, she asked if he’d eaten the fruit. As he began to deny it, his knees crippled collapsing him to the dirt floor. She hobbled over with walking stick in hand, poked his distended gut, and watched as juice flowed from the cracks between his teeth. “Foolish,” she muttered. The witch leaned heavily on the staff as she knelt to collect the liquid that flowed from the corner of his mouth as she pressed upon his stomach. The boy twitched, lost to the nightmare world the engorged pods brought on. Finished, she tossed two shillings on his hitching chest, not as payment for the errand, but to pay the man that would dispose of his remains.
Fiction © Copyright Nina D’Arcangela
Image courtesy of Pixabay
More from Nina D’Arcangela:
Mental Ward: EXPERIMENTS
A dank basement, shadow filled hallways, the deep echo of a metal latch being thrown while faint screams are heard… These are the things you might experience in a place where the unspeakable happens, where conscientious action and moral turpitude turn a blind eye in the interest of advancing one’s own personal pursuits in the most deranged and unjustifiable manner. The type of place where power corrupts, and depravity runs rampant among those imbued with it. A place where the unfortunate are abandoned to the devices of those who convince themselves their actions are in the best interest of science.
Mental Ward: Experiments is a collection of ten short stories that demonstrate the worst of humanity’s ambition in the interest of ‘civilized’ advancement. Step into a world where sanity is left behind, and horror is what the doctor ordered!