The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
We Thought We Were Safe
by Rie Sheridan Rose
We thought we were safe when the Horseman began terrorizing the countryside. After all, our walls were high and stout—manned night and day by strong guards with grim faces. In our arrogance, we thought that enough.
The children would cluster at the windows when the full moon rose and gape at the figure on the white steed. The jack o’ lantern atop his shoulders fascinated them. They took bets on whether and when it would fall off.
Weeks passed, and still the specter haunted the only path in or out of the village. Not even the bravest of our guard dared face him after he cut down the first to try with his glowing axe.
Food grew scarce, and children whimpered with hunger. The oldest and youngest of our citizens began to perish. We tried to keep up with the dead, but the cemetery was without the walls, and much of the earth inside was paved over. Soon, the stench of death grew commonplace. Inevitably, disease bloomed, nurtured by the hunger and enforced isolation.
Hollow-cheeked, skin stretched tightly over bone, the last of us went together to the gate, opening it despite the danger of the Horseman. Our gaze rose to the wicked rider.
“Why have you done this?” croaked the eldest among us. “Why have you destroyed our village? Who are you?”
“Do you not know? I am Death.” With that, he swept his axe and killed them all—all the others who remained at my side.
I gulped and stared upward, waiting for my own death.
“Tell the villages beside this place to let me in should I approach. Had you but done so, my needs would have been simple, my harvest small. Instead, you are all that is left. And if I had no need of a messenger, you alike would be dead.”
I bowed acceptance of my new role—Harbinger of Death.
Fiction © Copyright Rie Sheridan Rose
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
Overheard in Hell:
Poems exploring hell and damnation. Tales of sorrow, vengeance, betrayal, and redemption. Ghosts, ghouls, and demons stalk these pages. Don’t read in a lonely house…in a darkened room by a single candle…
…unless you like the touch of an icy finger up your spine.