The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
by Marge Simon
We left the city to live near the sea. It is a comfort, for it seems so much mightier than the long black ships. Not of our earth, they hang in the sky over Tokyo, over all the major cities everywhere. Their politics we don’t understand. Things are not going well. Our President has gone into hiding.
The afternoon seems so peaceful. Gulls with their long white wings weave patterns in the sky. We stitch our fingers together, walk along the beach. You are my sparrow, small and delicately boned. “Artist’s hands,” I touch them and you smile. Just before sunset, the skies explode. Was it theirs or ours? We run toward the beach house.
I don’t see the blood until we’re inside. It covers your blouse, but you don’t notice until you hear me gasp. I cradle your head in my lap. For the past two centuries, the great countries of the world have been at peace. These soldiers from the stars – their war is not ours. Why did they bring it to us?
And now, the sea’s afire. It swells to scrape the skies. The moon holds the face of a child with monstrous eyes.
Fiction © Copyright Marge Simon
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from Marge Simon:
The title of this collection sets you up for the surprise of lyrical stories of victimizations with unexpected endings for the villains. Be ready to have your heart opened and cheer for perceived victims, human (made and unmade) and other life forms, victorious in the hands of these two award-winning poets. —Linda D. Addison, award-winning author, HWA Lifetime Achievement Award recipient and SFPA Grand Master.
Across histories and cultures and from Auschwitz to Babylon this book leaves you questioning who are the victims, and regardless of your conclusion you’re likely to get throat-punched. This is horror where everyone has a knife, and is ready to deliver this message: “Remember, you are always guilty. —Herb Kauderer, author of Fragments from the Book of the After-Dead.
Simon and Turzillo have only gone and startled me again. What a collection! Brutal. Beautiful. This quiver of poems strikes with the unflinching truth of persecution and oppression as seen through the lens of feminism. Prepare to come away bruised and yet strangely bolstered by Victims, a symphony of sadness orchestrated by two masters of dark poetry. —Lee Murray, Bram Stoker and Shirley Jackson Award-winner.
This is one of the braver dark poetry collections I’ve seen in a while. Horror poets generally employ victims in their work, but the focus is generally on the Evil. Turning the camera the other way is unusual, unsettling, emotionally risky, and surprisingly effective. From their stark opening take on Pygmalion, to the ending poem about the wasted life of Stateira of Persia, this powerful collection teases apart an impressive number of the threads of victimhood. Some are the usual cases, but quite a few are surprises, or reversals, or cases with unexpected layers. There is nothing repetitive about this collection. —Timons Esaias, winner of the Asimov’s Readers’ Award and the Winter Anthology Contest