The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
by Kim Richards
Bennie loved the attic of her grandmother’s cabin in the mountains. She spent many years up there, wrapped in its warmth and surrounded by scents of cedar and pine. The slanted walls had latch access windows she could prop open. Then she had light enough to read her books or sing to herself.
Her friend always loved it when she sang. He would skitter down the support beams and settle beside her. He lover her and so kept his claws hidden beneath his torso fur. Although his spiked tail swished gently back and forth in the air, he made sure it never touched her tender skin.
That was many years ago. Now, Bennie stood in the doorway of the cabin. Its dust covered floors were a shame because Grammy always kept them spotless. The place was lonely without her; bare without the furniture; lifeless without the warm scent of baking bread. Bennie’s stomach growled at the memory of the fresh bread, covered in melted butter.
Walking farther in the cabin, Bennie noticed the ladder to the attic was down. She swiftly climbed it. Here the attic was dust covered darkness because the access windows were shut tight and bolted.
Something scratched on the wood to her left.
“Is that you?” She smiled
The scrabbling sounds drew near.
She moved to open one of the windows but stopped when a clawed paw rested atop her hand. The claws flexed gently as if to say, “I am here.”
“I’m so sorry I didn’t say ‘good-bye’,” she whispered to it. “They wouldn’t let me come back.”
A low growl rumbled from the shadows.
“I wanted to though.”
Her friend drew its paw back, leaving four thin lines gouged in the flesh of her hand. The little channels quickly flooded with blood and stung. Bennie grit her teeth to help herself not to flinch.
She settled on the floor and began to sing. It was a new song she learned in hopes of seeing her friend once again.
At the end of her second time through, she felt a bristly tail brush her thigh. She reached out and gingerly pet it. The barbs pricked her palms.
Leaning over, she whispered, “It was you, wasn’t it? You killed Grammy.”
“It’s okay. You can kill me too…when the time comes.”
The thrumming purr answered her, though louder and more intense than before.