The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
So Small a Fire
by Mary Ann Peden-Coviello
Such a small fire, really. How could this tiny fragment of flame consume my whole world? Because it was burning the body of my husband, my lord, my love, my fated and destined mate. Killed by Iron-bearing humans from the village below the ridge where I was putting his soul to rest.
I watched as the smoke rose, as my beloved’s body turned to ash, and I plotted. The Iron-bearers would pay, though I didn’t know how or when. I came from a long-lived family of a long-lived species, and I would bring vengeance. No matter how many generations of short-lived Iron-bearers passed first.
Though my planning took seasons upon seasons, I observed the Iron-bearers’ ways and rituals, always thinking, always gathering scraps of information. It mattered not a single flicker of a mayfly’s wing to me whether I survived my act of vengeance or not – just so long as the Iron-bearers suffered as I did. Suffered the loss of their dearest, of their loved ones, of their futures.
In the darkest and coldest time of the year, when the Iron-bearers stayed indoors and drank their grog and burned their Yule logs and thought themselves safe behind their walls, I slipped down from my hiding place on the ridge. Braving the illness and horror of the Iron that sickened both my soul and body, I set a small fire near the heart of their village and delighted as it grew, devouring all around it.
Little rivulets of flame flowed swiftly, becoming rivers of destruction, flowing up wooden buildings and across thatched roofs.
The intense heat threatened to singe my wings.
I retreated from the flames, up to the ridge, and awaited the fruition of my long-delayed vengeance. The screams and wails of the females and brats soothed my soul. The curses and shouts of the males as they failed to staunch the flames eased the anguish in my heart.
So small a flame to start such a vast conflagration. I watched the smoke rise and smiled for the first time since my lord, my fated and destined mate, my husband, my love had been struck down by those Iron-wielding butchers who had seen his wings and known him for Fae.
Fiction © Copyright Mary Ann Peden-Coviello
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from Mary Ann Peden-Coviello:
Fright Mare-Women Write Horror
Short Story: One Hour Before the Dark
Women write horror and have written it since before Mary Shelley wrote FRANKENSTEIN. This anthology is to highlight the fact women write great horror and to kill the fallacy that they aren’t in some way up to standard. They are. Read here stories by Elizabeth Massie, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Lucy Taylor, and a plethora of other great writers as they work on your nerves, get inside your head, and bang out some of the scariest tales written today. I’m proud to present these women for your consideration, as Rod Serling might say, as I ask you to step into FRIGHT MARE. Lock the door and windows, put on a light, and remember, it’s not real. It’s not real. Midnight awaits, monsters scheme to take you away, the strange and weird wait in the shadows, but it’s not real. Is it?
Edited by Billie Sue Mosiman, the author who brought you the SINISTER-TALES OF DREAD collections and her latest suspense novel, THE GREY MATTER.
Don’t mess with the fae – loved your interpretation of this beautiful prompt.