The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
by Kai Wilson
I could see the girl in front of me, her hospital gown moving in the light wind blowing around us. A long braid, bark wash dark, and perfectly neat, ran down to the centre of her back. Beneath it, I could see the ties of the robe she was wearing, and as I saw them, I realised my back was chilled too. It was as if in seeing her, I realised we were identically clothed. It was weird.
“Honey, are you ok?” I asked, my voice a little hoarse. My head was spinning. “Where is this place?”
“I don’t know,” she said. The wind whipped, bringing her voice to me, and small cardboard rectangles crossed in front of me. Dusk was falling and I could feel the cool wooden sleepers under my feet, beyond the hem of the bloodstained hospital robe. Looking at my hands, I saw bruises… all over my arms too. Puncture wounds where IV’s might have been. In my hand, a card said in crisp gold print, was a simple passage.
“Move forward, never back,
Your memory, intention and your thoughts,
from them alone, the sleepers are wrought.
You are 401,”
I turned the card over, and in a different type, smeared, disgusting. “Don’t look back.” I shuddered and raised my head, gazing ahead of us both, trying to ground myself. As if echoing the sentiment, the girl began crying. “They always look back. I’m 321. Others just…look back. And go away,”
The tracks we were standing on split, a curve away to the left, and a straight. Mist covered the bottom of the building out on the straight. It looked…peaceful, but something told me that there was things in the mist. Shapes and shadows moved in there, though nothing clear enough to see. To the right, the track was clear, and I could see down onto a plain of sand. That way, off into the distance, the clouds cleared, and the sky looked cold, crisp, and highlighted with stars.
Another crack, more wind, and one of the rectangles landed at my feet. I bent, lightheaded again, and retrieved it. The gold had faded, a large red, crisp stamp said “failed”. I turned the card over, and it said, “376 – She looked back.”
The sky crackled and lit, and the world in front of us lit, pain wash bright. A whisper behind me though caught my attention, and my skin began to crawl. Something prompted me to move, I stepped forward.
“Where are we, do you know?” As I settled on the sleeper, moving the gravel stone, sharp and chill, there was a tremendous crack behind us. No light, in fact, for a second it felt like there was darkness behind me. That feeling of light dropping around me was accentuated by another crack of lightning. Dizzying movement and a feeling of tilting, then I was there again. Just. There. But the girl…she’d moved over the intersection, onto the side closer to the building, instead of the curve. “Honey, where are you going-“
“I’m lost, do you know?” a voice behind her chimed in. I hadn’t sensed someone behind me, but there was a male voice there now. Timid, timorous. “What is this place?” he continued. “This wasn’t where…”
“Pass or fail, make your choice,” the voice of the girl floated to me as she stepped forward, into the mist. The shadows roiled, and then settled into the diffuse patterns.
“Where did she-” He trailed off and a chill ran down my spine, fingers of dread stroking the skin at the back of my thighs, pins and needles like I was about to be beaten. It was a feeling I hadn’t felt since I was a child. Shame washed through me, and I heard a rustle as the male voice behind me seemed to move closer. I could smell a charnel reek at my back, a chill surrounding me.
“Why did you bring me here? They were watching me…they flipped the switch.” Confused, I automatically took another step forward. “I didn’t…?” I said softly. He growled and seemed to match my step.
“You bitch! You brought me here,” he snapped. Then I heard, “what the hell is this…” broken by an unearthly scream. And even though I was told not to, I turned. Before everything went black, I saw a figure behind me, the sleeper I’d been on before a mass of tentacles, pulling him in. And then some reached out to grab me.
Fiction © Copyright D. Kai Wilson-Viola
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
About Author Kai Wilson:
Kai Wilson aka Kai, writes in all genres. She’s currently gearing up to release her first true Crime book and website. This piece is an offshoot of ‘The Rememberancers,’ which is up in the next batch of plans.
When not writing, she can be found gaming or taking photos with her family in the Cotswolds, where she lives.
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