The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
by Kim Richards
Jack’s eyes fluttered open. His head was down, chin resting on his chest. It took a moment for his vision to clear. The air smelled of sweat, dust, and heat. The sun shone weak daylight upon him.
Eventually he saw grey gravel filling in the space between horizontal wooden slats. On the left and right side, metal rails ran vertically. The whole think looked like a series of connected H shapes.
He lifted his chin and realized it was a set of train tracks parting yellow sun-dried grasses and weeds. The tracks disappeared in the distance within a copse of tall leafless oak and aspen trees.
A cold wind tussled his blonde hair and drew a line down his spine with an icy finger. Jack shivered.
He tried to remember where he last was. A hotel room? His thoughts were still disconnected and unclear.
He realized he sat on a metal chair. His arms, chest, and ankles were tightly secured to the chair with black nylon rope. This wouldn’t do.
He strained and pulled on them to no avail. He tried to rock the chair from side to side. If he could fall over, he might be able to at least roll off of the train tracks. In his struggles, he noticed the chair was also tied to the track railings. Rocking the chair side to side did nothing.
Where’s Maria? he wondered.
Ah, he was with a woman…probably last night. Bits and pieces came to his memory. Still, he had no idea how he got here or who tied him to the chair on the train tracks.
Ahead, a horn blasted twice from the area of the trees. Jack looked up, confirming his notion that he heard a train. It crawled along the track like a black viper with a plume of white steam puffing from the flu atop the engine. He couldn’t recall anywhere near where he lived where an old timey train ran. Nowdays they were all the sleek, speeding fast trains. This one headed straight towards him.
Frantic, Jack struggled to free his limbs, knock the chair loose, …anything. He screamed out when he remained securely in place.
The conductor must’ve seen him because suddenly a loud screech of metal upon metal filled the air, drowning out Jack’s screams. At its speed, the breaks weren’t effective enough. The iron beast barreled down upon him.
Blast. Scream. Clackety-clack. Pain. Screech. Darkness and peace.