The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
If the barn could talk…
by Alex Grehy
Before the developers came to demolish, burn and build,
a local reporter asked, “If the barn could talk, what stories
might it tell?”
Conservationists picked up the theme, “What if,” they said,
“Our past has seeped into the red cedar walls, greying shingles
and hard dirt floor?”
The archaeologists came up with a plan, “If it has to come down,
let us take it apart nail by nail, learning with love and respect
over the next ten years.
The realtors replied, “The past is not held in this heap of junk,
reminisce with the farmer, but let us get on, the people need
our new homes.”
But the farmer was dead, his city children moved on with the
cash from the sale; the interested parties came up with a plan,
called in a spirit guide.
The shaman arrived under glowering skies, told everyone to go
back to town, “Most spirits are shy and will not talk when there
are strangers around.”
He pulled open the door and coughed as chaff flew in the breeze,
the spirit of corn, reaped over the years, overwhelmed him with
dreams of the sun.
He stumbled out to the fields and listened, appalled, as the
barn told its tales to the sky, which roiled and churned with
its evil intent.
“I am made of dead trees; do you think they were pleased
to be felled? Do you think the clay of my shingles asked to
be torn from the earth?”
“Do you think that the animals slaughtered here gave their
lives voluntarily? Do you think that the farmer was ignorant
of his wife’s infidelity?”
“Do you think that this story, as old as mankind, of lust and
betrayal and cold, hard revenge, was not enacted within
The shaman convulsed on the ground, clapped his hands
on his ears, not wanting to hear more malevolent tales, but
the pitiless barn talked on.
“She brought her lover here to roll in the hay, their sin was
delicious but I wanted more; the ploughshare that fell put
an end to his fun.”
“She screamed so loud her husband came by, saw the scene
and imagined the rest, I put the pitchfork within reach of his
“With blood seeping into my floor, my spirit grew bold; I
offered a beam and a coil of rough rope, and so
the farmer hung.”
“There have been many more, this jinx springs from
deep in the earth. Demolish, destroy me and build on my
roots – it will not banish the bane.”
The shaman crawled towards town, but lightning ignited the
stubble, burned the barn then his body to ash, and his warnings
The last I heard, they’d built a road, mall and houses, though
construction fatalities were high, they named this cute modern
village “The Old Barn.”
Fiction © Copyright Alex Grehy
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from author Alex Grehy:
After a lifetime of writing technical non-fiction, Alex Grey is fulfilling her dream of writing poems and stories that engage the reader’s emotions. Her work has been featured by a wide range of publications including Siren’s Call, Raconteur, Bookends Review, and Toasted Cheese. One of her comic poems is also available via a worldwide network of public fiction dispensers managed by French publisher, Short Edition. Her ingredients for contentment are narrow boating, greyhounds, singing and chocolate. It is a sweet life, yet Alex’ original view of the world has led to her best friend to say ‘For someone so lovely, you’re very twisted!
Please click here to discover more!