The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
The Accursed Night
by Jill Girardi
Ah, this accursed night. I drag my clacking old bones from the consecrated soil in the Old Dutch Churchyard, where I’ve been interred since the year 1685. My withered hands pass through empty space as I scratch a phantom itch on a scalp no longer there. I shake the dust from my coattails, stomp my riding boots twice, and hear a plaintive whinny in response. My faithful black steed awaits me by the church gate, as she does every year on this eve. My pumpkin head sits astride the saddle—I hate to put the rotten thing atop the stump of my neck. My ax hangs from a saddlebag. I mount my horse and leave the boneyard.
It is at the old bridge—named for me!—that I find my first victims. Four drunken teenagers desecrate my sacred territory. They don’t notice me until we’re nigh enough to crush them beneath my steed’s great hooves. How weary I feel as I raise my ax, swinging it down like a pendulum and decapitating two teens at once. A ten-foot squall of bright red blood splashes everywhere. After a moment of paralyzing horror, the two left alive begin to scream.
Run, you fools! I don’t have all night. Well, yes, I do, but I’d like to be back in my grave before dawn. It gets harder to do this every year. At last the two teenagers, girls, begin to run. They separate at the crossroads, one heading for the water tower. The other continues straight across my bridge. It is easy to lop off her head with my ax as I pass.
I wheel around, back in the direction of the tower. When I reach it, I see the girl climbing the service ladder. Her head turns, terrified. She spies me far below her on the ground.
The night is cold. Next year, then, I’ll catch double my quota. For now, I’m going back to sleep. I have no desire to ascend a cold steel tower for another tedious kill.
I’ve never had a head for heights.
Fiction © Copyright Jill Girardi
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from author Jill Girardi:
Women of Horror Anthology Vol. 2
Step through the prettiest cemetery gates you’ve ever seen and experience tombstone raves and widow’s dances, Japanese snow-spirits, Aztec bruja and temple goddesses, vengeful ghosts, djinn and cannibals, vampire hunters, plague bearers, graverobbers, and terrors beyond reason. Read through the night as the dead rise from boneyards all around the world!
#FRIGHTGIRLSUMMER recommended reading!