The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
The Woman in Yellow
by Naching T. Kassa
You’ve stayed in the house too long. There are footsteps at the end of the hall, and you are alone.
They have many names for the spirit residing here. Most call her “Soul Collector.” You call her, “The Woman in Yellow.”
The footsteps have stopped. She’s standing in the doorway, watching you.
Her wedding dress has yellowed with age. As has the veil draped over her head. They say the sight of her face will drive you mad. She has no eyes, only smooth, pale skin. Her smile is slashed across her face. The lips are ragged. She has too many teeth.
You shouldn’t have entered the hall, but you had to see the books. These tomes from a bygone age lie behind the glass, beckoning you. You have come here to destroy them. To rid the earth once and for all of their lies. The knowledge they hold is an abomination.
And now you are trapped here. The door behind you is locked. She guards the one ahead.
Her voice is like nothing you have ever heard. It grates on every nerve.
“Read to me,” she cries.
You weep with relief when the words die away. You cannot stand to hear another.
Her veil moves, and fearing she might speak again, you approach the cabinet and open the first glass door. You pull a slim volume down and open it.
She is beside you in an instant. Her breath smells of the grave. It comes in ragged gasps. You feel you might die if she touches you.
“Read to me.”
Crimson oozes from your ears and drips on the sleeve of your white shirt. Words swirl into being before your eyes. They are thoughts of a mind undone, and they unlock the worst part of yours, the place where all the nightmares hide.
She nods as you speak, savoring every word.
The lies burrow like worms into your head, but you can’t stop reading. For hours, yours is the only voice in the hall. When the book ends, your voice is nothing but a whisper.
You glance around. The Woman in Yellow has vanished.
Both doors are open.
You collect books from the shelf, as many as you can carry, and take them to the next room. There is a fireplace. You sit before it and pull the lighter from your pocket.
Under its glow, you open the next book.
And begin to read.
Fiction © Copyright Naching T. Kassa
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from Naching T. Kassa:
Crystal Lake Publishing proudly presents Arterial Bloom, an artful juxtaposition of the magnificence and macabre that exist within mankind. Each tale in this collection is resplendent with beauty, teeth, and heart.
Edited by the Bram Stoker Award-winning writer Mercedes M. Yardley, Arterial Bloom is a literary experience featuring sixteen stories from some of the most compelling dark authors writing today.
With a foreword by HWA Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient Linda D. Addison, you are invited to step inside and let the grim flowers wind themselves comfortably around your bones.