The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
by Naching T. Kassa
My name is Maira Falak. I come from the poor village to the west of the Ganges. The village which still believes in the supernatural. The one that never moved into the computer age. We still believe in demons.
I can tell by your expression you are an unbeliever. That every word I’ve spoken is colored as a lie because of how I dress. Do not be so deceived. Just because I am clad in jewels and wear the crown of a rani, does not make me any less poor than the other girls of my village. Even though I was chosen, I am nothing special.
Unlike the people of my village, the demons have moved into the 21st century. Humans are nothing but vessels to them, and they have learned much from their hosts. They can work a cell phone, a tablet, a laptop. They are as enchanted by the screens as those whose bodies they ride. But they still need us. They still skulk through the jungle at night, looking to feed. Though they have forgotten the reason behind it, they have not forgotten the bargain they made.
The bargain. How many have died as a sacrifice, I do not know. But it keeps the peace between us. The sacrifice must always enter the jungle during the full summer moon. That is why I stand here now.
The gems glimmer in the moon’s soft glow, and a hush fills the air around me. The heat of the day has not yet fled the earth, and it warms my bare feet. A soft breeze, scented with jasmine, caresses my cheek. In the distance, a twig snaps.
The demon’s approach is rife with sound. There is no stealth in these footsteps. When a ragged cloud veils the moon and plunges the world into darkness, I shiver.
The moon reappears a second later, and in its light, the demon is revealed. It has taken the form of a pale tourist, a woman with shoulder-length blonde hair. She smiles and holds up her phone. “Damn GPS led me to the wrong clearing.”
“I am glad you found your way,” I reply.
Her eyes shine like a panther’s in the gloom. She licks her lips. “I certainly worked up an appetite.”
Every muscle in my body grows taut. She closes in on me, and in her demonic glee, begins to change. Fingernails become talons, blonde hair shimmers to black.
“Do you remember why we are here?” I ask. This question is required of me and has been spoken by many of my ancestors in days past.
“To keep the peace,” the demon replies. “A sacrifice must be given. It must become the feast.”
“And do you understand the words you’ve spoken?”
The demon cocks her head to one side and her brow furrows. This question is new, not part of the ritual. I am the one who added it.
“I understand,” the demon says.
“Have you forgotten the traditions?”
Saliva drips from her tongue and a long thread, like spider silk, drops to the jungle floor. If she hears my question, she has no answer. She rushes me, hands outstretched.
She freezes when I reveal my other set of arms. I think the moonlight obscured the fact that my skin has shifted from brown to blue. I grasp her with four hands and lift her into the air.
“Don’t you remember?” I whisper, just before I rend her apart. “Who the sacrifice is?”
Fiction © Copyright Naching T. Kassa
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from Naching T. Kassa:
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With a foreword by HWA Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient Linda D. Addison, you are invited to step inside and let the grim flowers wind themselves comfortably around your bones.