The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
The Storyteller’s Chair
by K.R. Morrison
Delson’s eyes darted around as he took in the oversized nursery-rhyme characters that seemed to poke out from every turning in the path.
“This place gives me the creeps. What possessed you to stop here?”
His sister, Denee, was just as uneasy as her brother. “I dunno. It just kinda…drew me in.”
“Well, let’s draw ourselves to the exit. We have to get to the wedding reception at the winery.”
Denee shrugged. “Yeah, I guess you’re right. I don’t know why I turned off here. I wonder…”
She stopped short, as did Delson. They stared at a huge concrete shoe that almost blocked the path ahead of them.
“…where the exit is…”
Delson shook his head and walked around the toe. He was about to turn to say something to his sister, but found himself alone on the path.
With a sigh of frustration, he retraced his steps.
He stopped at the door that was built into the shoe. “Looking for the old lady and her kids?” he asked with a smirk.
“Ha! If I was the old lady, I would have moved to Montana and changed my name. Just to get away from all those kids!” Her voice sounded muffled.
A moment of silence, then “Hey! I found something!”
Delson peered in from his spot by the door. “Better not be one of her kids. That would be one weird wedding present for Jim and Jennifer.”
“Hmmm. Losing my audience.” Delson shook his head. “Might as well go in and find her. We are going to be really late otherwise.”
He found her staring at a closed door, her eyes wide.
Delson looked from her stricken face to the door, and back. “What? So it’s a door. We have those at home.”
When she didn’t answer, he rolled his eyes and grasped the handle. “Probably the exit. I hope so anyway.”
He yanked the door open, and was highly disappointed to find himself in a dark, dusty room.
“Well, this isn’t going well,” he muttered to himself.
Denee finally spoke. “We gotta go!” There was a tremor in her voice.
“Well, I’m glad we’re in agreement.”
A dim light suddenly appeared in a corner, and the twins beheld a sight that looked completely out of place in this environment.
Huddled there was a recliner—one that had seen many years of backsides. Beside it was a dust-covered table, and on that table was a book.
Delson, who could never pass up anything readable, was immediately interested; thoughts of leaving disappeared as he picked it up. Dust fell from its cover, revealing letters wrought in gold:
A COMPENDIUM OF NURSERY RHYMES
READ AT YOUR OWN RISK
“Wow—bet this book is worth a bundle.” Delson examined it from all sides. “Wonder why it’s here, where just anyone could take off with it? And why the warning? Sheesh—they’re just nursery rhymes.”
A feeling of dread overcame his sister, and she edged toward the door. “I don’t know, and I really think we must be going.” She could barely keep from running out.
Delson ignored her. He had opened the book, and as he did so he lowered himself into the recliner.
“Not a good idea…”
Delson waved her away. “Hush. I just want a look…Hey! I found it!” He pointed at the page he had turned to. “Jack and Jill—my favorite!”
His eyes scanned the verses, and as he did so, a faraway look came into his eyes.
Then, in a poof of dust, he was gone.
Delson opened his eyes to a very strange scene. He was lying in a bed, his eyes covered with some brown substance, and the smell of vinegar was so strong as to make him gag.
He heard a voice above him.
“Jack! What happened? And where is Jill?”
“Say what?” He sat up and pulled the brown – paper – off his head.
In front of him were several odd-looking people, all wearing cone-shaped hats and what looked like elfin costumes.
He had barely taken this in when someone else burst into the room.
“I found her!” He gave Delson an ugly glare. “She’s at the bottom of the hill, and I think she’s dead!”
There was a collective gasp from everyone in the room, and all eyes turned toward Delson.
“Jack?” An older man approached Delson. “What did you do?”
Delson was about to explain things when he saw what the man had in his hands.
“We won’t hear your excuses, Jack. First you burn the town’s one barn up with your candlestick exploits, then you eat all the plum pies. We won’t have it!”
The old guy turned to the townsfolk. “String him up!”
As he was being manhandled out the door, Delson suddenly found himself back in the dusty room, sitting in the recliner.
“Wow!” He sniffed the book. “Wonder if they packed some LSD into these pages?”
Denee would never answer him again.
To his horror, she was splayed out at his feet, her neck broken.
At her feet was an upended pail.
Fiction © Copyright K.R. Morrison
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com.
More from Author Loren Rhoads:
Enoch’s Return (Pride’s Downfall book 4)
All hell broke loose, as demon fought saint, and undead fought mortal. Fangs and swords, fire and light, mingled in a cacophony of noise that would have awakened the dead — if they hadn’t already been in the pitch of battle.
Toby was looking forward to celebrating his 21st birthday with family and friends. However, the day is shattered by the arrival of his sister, Erica, fresh out of the juvenile detention center, where she has lived in isolation most of her life. There is something very wrong with her still; witness her biting the ear of her taxi driver and licking the blood from her lips, and the way she antagonizes everyone around her. The other thing that is very off-putting about the day is a gift he receives – a musty tent and a few iron spikes that have been lying in the ground for years. Toby faints at the sight of the “treasure,” while Erica reacts violently and runs off to who-knows-where.
While he is unconscious, Toby learns who he truly is, and of his mission.