The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
by Michelle Joy Gallagher
Jenna Barton ran down the cobblestone streets, hobbled by her voluminous dress. She’d dressed in her finery that evening, wanting to be noticed by the General’s son, Roland. Now it tripped her and dizzied her as she ran, her frustrated and frightened tears stinging her eyes. They’d been walking in the courtyard when that horror appeared. It took Roland’ head so quickly from his body his momentum continued for a few haunting seconds before collapsing against a hedge of roses. Jenna slowed as she replayed it in her mind. She stopped and heaved in big sobs. The futility of her trying to escape this monster suddenly felt like a huge stone weighing her down. She turned to face it. To curse it. It stood there atop its beast of a horse unmoved by the sight of her hopelessness.
“HELL IS TOO GOOD FOR YOU, DEMON. I HOPE MY BLOOD BURNS YOU!”
The monster nudged the horse with his spur, causing the unearthly thing to rear up, neighing violently, then barreled toward her with frighting speed and horrendous hoof beats. She stood her ground, refusing to run any more. The monster and his monstrosity of a horse sped past her. She blinked and he was gone, into the night and she was met with silence. There began a stinging around her throat that intensified with every breath. As she reached for the place it stung, her fingers were met with blood, warm and slick. She would have screamed, but the cut from the thing’s sword had severed her head completely. It had been a cut so fine that it stayed in place. Her vision went black and then the dizziness set in. The sound of her heart in her ears like footsteps in snow, intensified to an altogether different sound. It was the hoof beats from behind her in the distance, splashing through mud and over stone. The thing was upon her again, quick as lightning, and reached to grab her by the hair to take its prize. Suddenly a loud beeping began, a mechanical and foreign sound, and it jolted her eyes open. Her alarm blared, the red digital readout telling her it was 7am. She was in a panic, breathing erratically. It was the third night in a row she’d had the same dream. She had no idea what influenced it, such a long ago setting, and frightening events. Each time it intensified and became more and more lucid. This time she could feel, taste, smell the blood that flooded her throat when the thing cut her. She reached to feel the place on her neck, which still stung quite a bit, and realized with disbelief and shock that she really was bleeding, a fine lace collar of blood stretched the entire circumference of her neck. All went dark again, and for the last time.
Fiction © Copyright Michelle Joy Gallagher
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from author Michelle Joy Gallagher:
Blackhawk: Volume 2
Welcome to Blackhawk, Colorado. Blackhawk has always been strange. Natural disasters. Disappearances. Murders. High strangeness is a part of daily life. We can’t hope to explain it, but we can chronicle its past. Learn from it. Fear it. Blackhawk is an experimental fiction series set in a shared universe, written by a variety of talented authors. It is the brainchild of David M Brown (Plague Doctor, Modern Animals) and Carl D Smith (Moleb the Giant, Darkness Out of Carthage). Each story will contribute to an organic, evolving mythology as diverse as the voices behind its tales. For fans of True Detective, Lost Highway, Twilight Zone, and The Terror. This is Volume Two of the series and contains five stories by five different authors, each in tune with the specific strangeness Blackhawk has to offer. NOTE: For fans of Lake Lord Publishing’s prior horror titles, be warned that Blackhawk will contain content that is perhaps more disturbing and mature.