The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
Sunk Cost Fallacy
by Elaine Pascale
“Animari,” the wizard commanded the skull he held aloft. He had selected the right one. He knew it was the right one.
“Animari,” he repeated, flourishing the spell-casting end of his wand.
A tuft of smoke wafted from the empty eye sockets and gaping jaw. The smoke thickened and spun, creating a maelstrom. As the wizard watched, the maelstrom became a defined figure suspended from the skull.
“Animari,” he whispered, watching hair spring from the skull and eyes fill the sockets. Before long a fully corporal woman stood before him. Once her gaze became focused, she started to scream.
“I am not him,” he explained quickly. “You think I am the one who killed you, the one who put all of these skulls in here. He was caught. He was beheaded, too. He can no longer hurt you.”
She gasped and quieted down. She ran her hands over her body, over her throat, over her face.
He smiled sadly. “My wife, she was a victim just like you were. I am trying to find her.” He gestured to the piles of skulls around them.
“Th-thank y-you,” the woman managed. She moved as if to embrace him.
He held out a hand to stop her. “But you are not her.”
He flipped his wand around, pointing the business end at her. Flames engulfed her body until it turned to dust and only her skull remained. He tossed her skull into a far corner of the cave.
He sighed and looked around the cave before picking up another skull. He knew this was the right one.
Fiction © Copyright Elaine Pascale
Image courtesy of Pixaby.com
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