The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
Keeping You Close
by Linda Lee Rice
You had me from the moment our eyes met on the crowded road. I had wrenched to a stop because of the street urchin grasping the brindle of the horse. My horse sidestepped, snorting and stamping. You rushed to my assistance, shouting to the urchin to move along.
You were so handsome that day in your bellowing duster and hat slouched over your eyes. My heart fluttered as well as my eyelashes. You asked me if I was alright, and I replied that I felt a bit faint. But it wasn’t from the incident but from your piercing gaze from beneath your brim.
You asked me if I’d like a sarsaparilla to quiet my nerves. Of course, I accepted because I knew we were meant to be together. After all, it was fate, was it not? From that day on, we were inseparable even though the town was gossiping. You were seen leaving my home after spending the night, but I didn’t care about my reputation, only you.
Then came the day when you didn’t arrive at our appointed time. I waited and waited, counting the hours and the days. I rode my stallion into town to see if you were sick or if something had befallen you. But instead, I saw HER.
She was laughing and touching your arm in that all too familiar way. You glanced over my way and looked right through me. She looked over, giggled, and pointed, remarking how some women have no class. How they don’t realize when something is over and done with.
My hate burned with a white-hot rage that desired to destroy everything in its path. I turned away and galloped back to my home, seeing nothing in my path, feeling only pain.
I heard from the town gossip that SHE had disappeared. I was cooking a delicious meaty stew at the time; the gossip had remarked how good it smelled. I remarked I was making it for a special person, you of course.
You were surprised to see me, especially after our abrupt breakup. I explained that I heard you were grief stricken after the disappearance of HER. You looked gaunt and sick, so I spooned the broth to your lips which whetted your appetite for the thick meat. I left the rest for you to finish and went on my way after assuring you that I had no hard feelings toward you.
I arrived home and went down into the root cellar when HER gruesome toothy grin greeted me. I always remember what my mama taught me as I looked around at the wall of bone and skulls.
“Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer!”
Fiction © Copyright Linda Lee Rice
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More about Linda Lee Rice:
Linda Lee Rice aka Ruzicka has poetry published in Twilight Times, Dark Krypt, Fables, Descending Darkness, Writing Village, Spine, and Page, Muses Gallery, Bloodbond, Lycan Valley Press Publishers, Alban Lake, Highland Park Poetry, Rosette Maleficarum, The Siren’s Call, Edify Fiction and the June Cotner anthology, “House Blessings” and “Garden Blessings
She has short stories published in The Grit, and Reminisce, Haunted Encounters: Friends and Family, FrostFire Worlds. Plus, a personal essay at Mamalode. She also has various articles and blogs published online as a freelance writer.