Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author Alex Grehy @indigodreamers @darc_nina #LoH #fiction

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!

Soul Searcher  
by Alex Grehy

There was nothing odd in the studio when the police broke in.

The neighbours had called about the foetid smell. The cloying stench of dead, rotting flesh, they assumed, yet it invaded the building like a living entity. They expected a corpse, putrid, obscene – the air was so hot in the glare of the lights, but the studio was bright and pristine.

If the Searcher had known his final experiment would fail, would he have even tried?

He was a clever man with eclectic interests, a small obituary in the local paper later reported. His photography was acclaimed for its attention to detail and outstanding clarity. Many found his fascination with taxidermy repellent, but he always maintained that the death of his subjects was nothing to do with him. 

He’d lied, of course – trapping them, alive, torturing them ever more inventively, drawing out the moment of their death, taking the time to get his cameras aligned.

He never found what he searched for – just one image of a soul – a form, a tinge, a shimmer, anything.

He was an erudite man, as you might expect, an expert in old philosophies and new ideologies. But his knowledge was unleavened by compassion. He concluded, right or wrong, that animals had no souls. So he moved on to humans, choosing subjects among the dispossessed, the lonely. Still no souls appeared. He concluded they had been unworthy.

He preyed on the virtuous.

He preyed on the innocent.

He preyed on the holy.

Nothing. Nothing. NOTHING!

His apparent wisdom led him to the obvious conclusion – driven by the nobility of his life’s work, the only soul on earth must be his.

There was nothing odd in the studio when the police broke in. They expected a body, putrid, obscene – the air was so hot in the glare of the lights, but the studio was bright and pristine.

Which would have disappointed him, having taken such pains to set up the lighting – shadowless, pure, a heaven of sorts to suspend his soul. He’d angled the cameras accurately; the precision of the channels that would siphon his blood was a work of genius; dissolving the salt that would trip the shutter release at the predicted moment of his death, given his heart rate and length of incision. If only the world had witnessed the elegance of his scheme as he took a knife to his wrists. How he’d hoped that the beauty of his departing soul would reflect on his gracefully posed body.

How could he have known that souls were elusive and cunning? They were never going to be captured on film. How could he have known of their patience, those tortured souls just waiting for vengeance? How could he have known the tunnel vision that presaged his death was caused by their shadows? The animals, the children, the vagrants, the clergy, all crowded in for redress. They took him apart, limbs, organs, cells – probing and tearing until not one atom remained. Fogged film and the malodour of their mortification was all they left behind as they floated away, unavenged, for the searcher had no soul to atone for his crimes.

There was nothing odd in the studio when the police broke in. They expected a body, putrid, obscene – the air was so hot in the glare of the lights, but the studio was bright and pristine.

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Fiction © Copyright Alex Grehy
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

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More from author Alex Grehy:

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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!   

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This entry was posted in Authors, Dark Fiction, flash fiction, FREE, Horror, Ladies of Horror, Writing Project and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author Alex Grehy @indigodreamers @darc_nina #LoH #fiction

  1. afstewart says:

    Very twisted and creepy, loved it.

  2. Pingback: Publication News: Ladies of Horror Flash Project: Soul Searcher (Horror) – Alex Grehy Fiction

  3. Marge Simon says:

    You have remarkable story-telling powers, Alex! Hat’s off to you for yet another one so memorably done!

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