The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
by Elaine Pascale
The man had his hand inside his long coat. It was obvious what he was doing.
He had paid to watch them kiss. A kiss could cause the change, that was why the price was so high.
They had heard that he was trawling near the club, far from the school where he taught music. He wanted girls who looked as young as his students. He wanted to see a kiss as he hadn’t seen one in decades.
He wouldn’t have to pay extra if the change happened: there would be no sentient being to pay.
Sarah and Anne had been friends since grade school, had both been kicked out of their homes at fifteen, and had worked the club together ever since. They performed together, keeping themselves safe from the virus by not coming into close contact with anyone else.
The girls who were not careful, who had let down their guards for extra money, found themselves lost. No memories, no desires, no sense of self at all. The change snuffed out the past as if it were a candle.
Sarah and Anne tilted back the Mardi gras masks they regularly wore. Customers liked the sense of anonymity. While the girls could see the men’s faces, the idea of the masks provided concealment.
“It’s something we haven’t done before,” Anne said shyly.
“We will be fine, Dolly.” Sarah knew the nickname would calm her friend. She placed her hand above Anne’s breast and felt her racing heartbeat.
“None of that,” the man corrected. He had paid for a kiss in a world where kisses no longer existed.
“If something happens to me,” Sarah said, “She gets extra.”
Anne’s eyes welled with tears of both fear and sadness. “I wouldn’t care. If something happened to you, I wouldn’t want to live.”
Sarah pulled her mask up further to make eye contact with the man. “Promise. Promise she would get my share, and more.”
The man shrugged.
“We have been careful,” Sarah whispered. They leaned toward each other. Sarah could feel Anne’s breath on her lips.
“Hurry,” the man urged, his hand moving furiously behind the cloth of his coat.
Their lips met. They had performed many acts, but they had not kissed due to the threat of the change. Anne’s lips were soft. They were sweet from the scented lip gloss she wore.
Sarah’s tongue parted Anne’s lips momentarily before pulling away. She could hear the man grunt as he finished.
“See Dolly? That was easy. Now we get our money and go.”
Sarah did not like the look on Anne’s face. There was an emptiness to her eyes. Anne looked from Sarah to the man and back again before crouching down as if unsure of how to move about on this earth.
“Dolly?” Sarah’s voice cracked.
Anne opened her mouth, but no sound came out. She had already forgotten how to speak. Sarah looked at the man expectantly, as if he may be able to help put her world back together again.
The man pulled a wad of money from his coat and tossed it to Sarah. “Keep the change,” he said solemnly.
Fiction © Copyright Elaine Pascale
Image courtesy of Pixaby.com
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