The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
Blood in the Water
by Naching T. Kassa
“Was that a scream?” I cried.
Linda and Mary stood, the wind whipping at their hair and clothes. It smelled of the ocean and sand baked by the sun. The scream came again, louder than before.
“Somebody’s just having fun,” Linda said. “There’s a boat out there.”
“It didn’t sound like fun to me,” I said. “Sounded like somebody in pain.”
I shielded my eyes against the glare of the sun. The boat’s engine came to life, and it sped away and out of sight. I watched it go and then, my eyes caught something out on the sea’s mirrored surface. A few yards away, blood bloomed from beneath the water.
“Oh my god!” I breathed. I turned to my friends. “There’s blood in the water!”
Linda and Mary followed my gaze.
“It’s algae,” Linda said. “I swear, Emma, I think you’ve had too much sun. Maybe, we’d better go to the car.”
The scream I’d heard before, came again, louder than before.
This time, both girls flinched. They’d heard it, just like I had.
We all gazed out into the sea. A hand rose from the center of the crimson slick and grasped at the air. From the way Linda’s face grew pale, I knew she’d seen it too.
I kicked off my flip-flops and threw my hat down onto the sand.
“Emma, what are you doing?” Mary cried.
“I’m going to help them,” I replied. I waded out into the water and dived in.
A woman bobbed amidst the blood. “Help me!” she cried.
I swam out to get her, but the farther I swam, the farther she seemed to be. At last, I reached her.
“I’ve got you!” I cried. “Are you hurt bad? I can get you back.”
She turned toward me and at first, I couldn’t register what I saw. Her face was white, like that of the moon, and her left eye hung from its socket by a pale string. I wanted to scream but it died in my throat. I tried to kick away from her, but she caught me by the arm and held me fast.
“Listen to me! Listen to me!” she shouted over my screams.
Her cold hand dug into my flesh. She raised her other arm, but no hand appeared with it, only ragged flesh.
I didn’t know what to do,” she cried. “I didn’t know how else to save you.”
“Save me?” the words came out as little more than a whisper.
She nodded toward the beach.
I followed her gaze.
The boat I’d seen earlier lay anchored in a cove nearby and just out of sight of our beach. I have to assume that’s where he came from. I couldn’t make out his face. I could only see the gleam of sun on his machete as he crept up on my friends.
I screamed to them, tried to warn them, but I guess they couldn’t hear me. Why else would they have turned away and walked right into him?
Fiction © Copyright Naching T. Kassa
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from Naching T. Kassa:
Crystal Lake Publishing proudly presents Arterial Bloom, an artful juxtaposition of the magnificence and macabre that exist within mankind. Each tale in this collection is resplendent with beauty, teeth, and heart.
Edited by the Bram Stoker Award-winning writer Mercedes M. Yardley, Arterial Bloom is a literary experience featuring sixteen stories from some of the most compelling dark authors writing today.
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.