The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
Daisies and Flames
by Kim Richards
Daisy strolled along the beach, enjoying the soft exfoliation of the sand upon her toes and heels. An unwanted memory assailed her: how she came to the name ‘Daisy’. It was her very first job. At sixteen, she was excited and ready to take on the world. She was unprepared for the brute of a man who would become her boss. His ideas of what women should be were rude, in a way quaint, and extremely hurtful.
That day, she wore a dress she borrowed from her mother for her first day of work. It was a cute shirt dress of white with bright yellow daisies in a tossed design all over the fabric. She normally preferred darker colors with less “in your face” prints but her mother insisted it would give her a good first day impression so she gave in and wore it.
When she walked into the door, her new boss undressed her from head to toe with his gaze. Then taking note of her dress, he said, “Well, Daisy. Let’s get you to work.”
No amount of hinting or out right declaring that her name was Eilene helped. He always referred to her, introduced her as, and called her “Daisy”. As sometimes happens with nicknames, it stuck and people forgot her real name.
Later, she threw the dress into the trash barrel and lit it on fire. No man was going to relegate her to that…but yet he continued to and she let him.
She shook her head to rid herself of the memory. Why did I have to think about that right now? She turned her attention to the open water and continued to stroll along the sandy beach.
The ocean waves lapped gently upon the sands. Off toward the horizon, bruised clouds of navy, purple, and barely black indicated a brewing storm. At the topmost crown of the clouds, the setting sun lit them red, yellow, and orange. They reminded her of the fire which consumed the damned dress.
The clouds let out a deep, horrifying roar. Daisy gaped as she realized it was the ‘boof’ sound of a fire blast. This wasn’t sunlight. It was actual hellfire and a buffeting of blast radius shoved the other clouds aside like a giant invisible hand. It reached her to a lesser extent but still lay down the palm trees near her and sent her face down into the sand.
She held her breath as long as she could but eventually lifted her head ever so slightly to take in air between sand encrusted lips. As expected, it burned and the stench of smoke assaulted her nose and lungs.
When she looked up, the fiery clouds fanned out like the yellow petals of a flower. She pursed her lips and, with great effort, drew herself to stand upright fully. The heat was unbearable on her bare, trembling legs. She made a decision to not be like that burning daisy dress and walked into the ocean. Yes, Eilene chose water over fire. She swam until her limbs gave out and then sank beneath the waves.
A terrific story.