The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
Like a Lamb
by Mary Ann Peden-Coviello
Their song awakens me in the middle of the night, calling me to them. I slip from my warm bed and creep out of the house. I leave my mother and father, my two sisters and my baby brother all asleep. I wonder for a moment that none of them have wakened to the singing, not even our dog. Only me. But then the song tugs at my heart again, and I close the door and turn toward the Hill.
Silence rules this night. No insect whirs. No hunter bruises a leaf beneath a stealthy paw. The song fills my ears with its insistent call. My bare feet whisper through the grass. I don’t notice how cold the damp blades feel against the soles of my feet. All my attention is on the song.
The path takes a steeper turn as it leads up the Hill. I stumble a time or two over rocks or tree roots I cannot see in the moonlight. At last, I reach the summit, with its crown of stacked boulders. The singing deafens me now, so loud it fills the whole world.
The white-clad singers slip out from behind the boulders, from behind the altar. They seize me and lay me atop the cold slab of stone. I am the Honored One, the Gift for the Harvest. If I feel any fear, the song eases it.
I almost don’t even feel the knives.
In the morning, every mother, every father looked –hearts in their mouths – to see if their daughters were safe in their beds. In every house but one, joy reigned. Those girls had been passed over for another year.
In one, however, wails of grief were stifled. One daughter, loved by her family, had been seduced away in the night to be Honored as a Lamb.
Fiction © Copyright Mary Ann Peden-Coviello
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from Mary Ann Peden-Coviello:
Women write horror and have written it since before Mary Shelley wrote FRANKENSTEIN. This anthology is to highlight the fact women write great horror and to kill the fallacy that they aren’t in some way up to standard. They are. Read here stories by Elizabeth Massie, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Lucy Taylor, and a plethora of other great writers as they work on your nerves, get inside your head, and bang out some of the scariest tales written today. I’m proud to present these women for your consideration, as Rod Serling might say, as I ask you to step into FRIGHT MARE. Lock the door and windows, put on a light, and remember, it’s not real. It’s not real. Midnight awaits, monsters scheme to take you away, the strange and weird wait in the shadows, but it’s not real. Is it?
Edited by Billie Sue Mosiman, the author who brought you the SINISTER-TALES OF DREAD collections and her latest suspense novel, THE GREY MATTER.