The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
by Roh Morgon
My thoughts stuttered over the word as it echoed through me, unable to accept what my eyes were seeing.
He’s alive. Or . . . not.
He appeared at the top of the sweeping staircase, backlit by a cold winter sun beaming through the central window.
A sun that did not blister his porcelain skin, nor slow the smooth glide of his steps as he sauntered down the sweeping staircase, the carvings in its burnished wings backlit against the broad expanse of floor-to-ceiling windows.
His shadow preceded him, heralding the darkness he has brought upon our world.
Such as he should not exist. This could not be.
His trim figure radiated power, his expression indecipherable. His eyes, once so warm, were hidden behind a pair of wrap-around sunglasses. He stopped, mid-stair, his gaze drifting as he surveyed the room.
“Hello, Cassie.” His voice skittered across my skin.
Then he smiled – an icy smile filled with brittle intention.
All hope drained away as he fastened that smile upon me and exposed glittering fangs that did not exist before.
* * *
I hadn’t believed the rumors.
They’d started as whispers among the lesser Unseen, fearful mutterings that a new power had arisen among us.
The demons I spoke with laughed off the stories, bragging that their underworld connections gave them dominion over all, and that nobody would be foolish enough to give them challenge.
The insufferable witches and warlocks I had the misfortune to know dismissed the talk as nothing more than idle gossip, refusing to consider that anyone would deny their authority and the magic backing it.
And the weres with whom I’m acquainted – canids, ursine, and the secretive felines – shrugged off the hearsay with growls and bristling bravado.
The vamps, though, the vamps were tight-lipped, more than usual. I suspected they knew something, but they weren’t sharing, especially with the likes of me.
They don’t much like Keepers. In fact, most of the Unseen despise us, but understand we perform a necessary job to keep things in balance.
That job? To take out – permanently – any whose actions threaten to tear down the veil between the Unseen world and the human world. And vamps, with their predilection for human blood, were the most frequent offenders.
But though the fangheads kept mum, I sensed the lies running through their veins.
So I kept digging.
I dug until I nearly put myself into the ground, courtesy of said fangheads.
For the past week, I’d been tracking one of their higher-ups each night as he visited lair after lair on some sort of undetermined mission.
I’d just settled into a dark alley, waiting for him to emerge from his latest meeting when they grabbed me.
Normally, I can handle a few vamps. I’m faster, stronger, and heal instantaneously. But there were too many this time. When several pinned me against the wall and one seized my head in both hands and threatened to tear it off, I stopped fighting.
The vamp I’d been stalking strolled up as my wrists and ankles were bound.
“It appears your curiosity has gotten the best of you, Keeper.”
“Go screw yourself. Whatever it is you’re up to, we’ll find out.”
He grinned, his fangs reflecting the moonlight beaming into the alley entrance.
“It matters not. Soon everyone will know that a new king is in play, and all their petty squabbles will cease beneath the power he wields. And you Keepers will be . . . repurposed.”
I chuckled, undaunted by his toothy smile.
“Right. And then the sun comes up and he’ll have to crawl back into a hole in the ground, just like the rest of you disgusting leeches.”
His answering laugh didn’t faze me as he signaled the others.
* * *
My confidence deserted me as I beheld their new king.
“Jared . . . ”
I stared at my fellow Keeper, appalled at the changes wrought upon his body. Upon him, his cold arrogance at odds with his usual, easy-going demeanor.
“Jared, what’s . . . what happened?”
“Destiny, Cassie. Destiny is what happened.”
“But Keepers can’t be turned. It doesn’t work. Vamp blood has no effect on us.”
“Ah, but there you are wrong. There is a way. And now, we can all become as one and embrace our new position in the world.”
“You . . . you’re a goddamned bloodsucking vampire. Who can walk in the sun.”
“Yes. And soon, you will be one as well.”
Fiction © Copyright Roh Morgon
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from author Roh Morgon:
Predator. Killer. Monster.
The words echo in Sunny Martin’s head each time she looks in the mirror. Since the night she was torn from her car and drained of her blood, Sunny’s fear of the hungry beast within her is rivaled only by the fear of exposure.
Her lonely struggle to survive on the edge of the human world leads Sunny to the mountain peaks of Colorado where she meets Nicolas, the enigmatic leader of a hidden society.
Their passion, tainted by betrayal, violence, and murder, reveals a shocking truth behind Sunny’s savage nature and drives her toward an agonizing Choice between her heart and the last remnant of her human soul.