The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
Coming of Age
by Nina D’Arcangela
It was meant to be a special day, her day; her quinceañera. The day a child became a woman at the tender age of fifteen. The church festooned with every shade of pink flower imaginable, the hall draped in bubblegum taffeta; the cake—strawberries and crème. Her friends gathered to celebrate her coming of age, to wish her well, usher her into the next chapter of life. No expense spared; no detail left to chance. But first, the mass. The blessing of His holy grace upon their daughter’s garishly tiaraed head. The priest turned to the assembly, spoke a few words, then began the lord’s prayer. A stutter brought confused silence; he cleared his throat and apologized for the unfortunate interruption. In unison, they began again. Tears streamed from the officiant’s eyes. His voice choked on the words as his breath rasped thin. A blessing it would be, but not one the family sought. With rapturous refrain, the first horn blew. As the echo died, a small word resounded, “Daddy?”
The second horn shattered the pregnant silence. The doors baring the narthex flew open, a violent wind roared through the cathedral. As he reached for his daughter, su hermosa hija, an unseen wraith flung him through the air; his spine shattered on the marble column six pews behind. Attendants and attendees began to wail in chorus as they rushed the aisles. The discord unrelenting, one voice rang out above the others. She screamed a petulant tone, “Daddy!”
The third horn sounded, the priest dove behind the altar, landing hard in the apse; his attempt a shame upon his soul. All covered their ears as the building groaned. A clawed hand rent the roof from the basilica; angelic light spilled through the opening. Again, stunned silence descended. Harsh, guttural breathing could be heard from above as a maelstrom of heat washed over the assembly. It reached in gently, as though arranging a dollhouse, and flicked the others away with a filth ridden talon. Its hand closed upon the child-woman as she shrieked a final time to ears that could no longer hear. The seraph sniffed her hair, her neck; her groin. The child was despoiled, and of no use; it would have to wait for another. As its hand opened, the girl fell to the concrete slab abutting the portico. Her bouquet of flowers rolled to a stop upon the steps she had so arrogantly ascended less than an hour before, its ribbon fluttering in the quiet left behind.
Fiction © Copyright Nina D’Arcangela
Image courtesy of Pixabay
More from Nina D’Arcangela:
Mental Ward: EXPERIMENTS
A dank basement, shadow filled hallways, the deep echo of a metal latch being thrown while faint screams are heard… These are the things you might experience in a place where the unspeakable happens, where conscientious action and moral turpitude turn a blind eye in the interest of advancing one’s own personal pursuits in the most deranged and unjustifiable manner. The type of place where power corrupts, and depravity runs rampant among those imbued with it. A place where the unfortunate are abandoned to the devices of those who convince themselves their actions are in the best interest of science.
Mental Ward: Experiments is a collection of ten short stories that demonstrate the worst of humanity’s ambition in the interest of ‘civilized’ advancement. Step into a world where sanity is left behind, and horror is what the doctor ordered!