The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
by Alex Grehy
Noble poets with soaring words,
venerated artists with brush and paint,
respected scientists with theorems,
failed to capture its purpose.
The Arch denied them all.
But callow teenagers understood,
were awoken by its silent call,
heard its wild promises of joy,
were drawn by its beguiling charm.
A dozen drowned before authorities
applied to put up warning signs; opposed
of course, by aesthetes who deplored
defacement of its loveliness.
A dozen more drowned while
committees made their decisions.
The signs went up, barriers erected,
but still the teens came to swim
up the estuary and under The Arch.
A rite of passage for the brave.
Another dozen drowned.
The authorities launched
public information campaigns.
Parents tutted, held their
little ones close; but still the
So many dozens drowned, too many to count.
Geeky geologists with measurements,
intellectual engineers with calculations,
skilled demolition experts with explosives,
failed to destroy its span.
The Arch defied them all.
Meanwhile, across the internet,
teens transmitted its wordless voice,
around the world; those who
could not travel, envious of the
ones who flocked to swim
upstream, fighting the current
to vanish beneath The Arch.
The river sent them back, quickly,
before fish and decay had
despoiled their corpses.
On Tik-Tok and Insta the photos appeared,
beautiful youths floating downstream,
face up, beneath The Arch,
eyes open in wonder,
euphoric smiles forever frozen,
as if this death were the best thing
that had ever happened
in their brief lives.
Filters on the social sites,
warning posts on blogs and vlogs,
parents’ pleas to ISPs,
failed to block its dark allure.
The Arch broadcast its dark desires
and took each soul it called
Fiction © Copyright Alex Grehy
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from author Alex Grehy:
After a lifetime of writing technical non-fiction, Alex Grey is fulfilling her dream of writing poems and stories that engage the reader’s emotions. Her work has been featured by a wide range of publications including Siren’s Call, Raconteur, Bookends Review, and Toasted Cheese. One of her comic poems is also available via a worldwide network of public fiction dispensers managed by French publisher, Short Edition. Her ingredients for contentment are narrow boating, greyhounds, singing and chocolate. It is a sweet life, yet Alex’ original view of the world has led to her best friend to say ‘For someone so lovely, you’re very twisted!
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