The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
Maybe, The Skies Should Fall
by Melissa R. Mendelson
I stepped outside and scanned the skies. So far, nothing. It was quiet, and I didn’t like the quiet. I glanced down at my hands. They were raw and bloody, but it wasn’t my blood. It was hers, and I could hear her whimpering behind me, begging to go home. But there was no escape. Not from me, and not from them.
“Please,” she cried. “Just let me go. I didn’t do anything to you.”
“Bullshit.” I stepped back and approached her, but I stopped, looking over at the workbench. I picked up a hammer. It had a good weight to it, and I slammed it down on her foot. But no matter how much pain I caused her, it still hurt me more.
“Stop it! Please, just stop it.” She watched me drop the hammer back onto the workbench. Her eyes widened as I touched a rusty saw near a bunch of nails. “I didn’t mean to be a bitch to you. I’m sorry!”
“Jesus, stop yelling,” I said. “All I did was walk into the store, and you… You decided since you were having a bad day that you… You would just take it out on me. A complete stranger, but you underestimated me. When you walked out of that store, I was waiting, and here we are.”
I kicked at the ground, and my foot moved a shard of glass from the dirt surrounding it. That would do, and I picked up the shard. I moved quickly, slicing one cheek and then the other. Still, it gave me no satisfaction. Her pain, her blood refused to silence my growing fear.
“They’re not going to do it.” It was like she was trying to read my mind, but she was wrong. “They aren’t coming back.”
“Yes, they are.” I tossed the shard back into the dirt and covered it with my foot. “Can’t you feel it? It’s going to happen. Any moment now, and then it’s all over. And this… This is how you are going to spend the last moments of your life.” The look on her face made me laugh, and that felt good. Finally, I felt something other than that damn fear.
“Then, just kill me. Stop torturing me, and just kill me.”
“I guess it’s time.” I lifted the hammer back up. The weight felt good, but my hand shook. I took a few breaths, steadied myself as if I was getting ready to bat for a baseball game, and I swung. But the hammer froze an inch from her face.
She had her eyes squeezed shut but then opened them, looking at the hammer and then at my face, and she laughed. “You can’t do it. You can’t kill me.”
“No, but I bet that you could kill me.” The look in her eyes was enough proof of that, but she was right. I was not a killer. Hell, I never tortured anyone until today, and I didn’t even own this barn. But I knew that it was abandoned just like all the surrounding homes. The people here had gone underground, thinking that was going to save them, but they were wrong. “Can you at least apologize to me for what you did?”
“Let me go, and I will.” Her voice was as fake as her smile, and she never had any intention of apologizing for torturing me in the store for absolutely nothing except for being there.
I knelt down in front of her, still holding the hammer, and that made her nervous. “Do you know why they are coming back to destroy us?” I watched her shake her head. “Because of people like you. People that will attack others for no reason.”
“You’re one to talk.”
“You attacked me first, and people like you have damned the rest of us. Sure, they took a few, a rare few, but the rest of us like me are stuck here to suffer the same fate as you. And no one is going to save us.”
“They’re not coming back! They got what they wanted. It’s just an empty threat. They’re not coming back,” but the sounds in the sky proved her wrong.
“Sounds like they are back.”
She pulled at the chains on her wrists. “I have to go. Let me go. We have to get out of here.” She didn’t like that I smiled. “Why are you smiling?”
“Because I know what your punishment is,” I said.
“What?” The color drained from her face. “What are you going to do to me?”
“Nothing.” I moved away from her, placing the hammer back on the workbench. “I’m not going to do anything to you.” She looked hopeful, happy even until she watched me step outside. “I’m going to leave you alone.” I slammed the barn door shut, and she screamed. But her screams no longer mattered.
I stepped away from the barn and sat down in the soft earth. If it was under different circumstances, the sky would have been beautiful with the falling stars shooting across it, but they were not stars. And I could hear the explosions as they landed, destroying everything in their path, and the blasts were coming closer. The wind was picking up, but as I closed my eyes, I did not see the end. Instead, I saw a little girl laughing and playing in the sun, blowing on a dandelion, and making a wish. Yes, if only I could wish that people like her did not exist. Then, maybe, just maybe, they would never have come back.
Fiction © Copyright Melissa R. Mendelson
Image courtesy of Rie Sheridan Rose.
About Author Melissa R. Mendelson:
Melissa R. Mendelson is the self-published author of the short story collections, Better Off Here and Stories Written Along COVID Walls, which can be found on Amazon/Amazon Kindle. She also recently had a short collection of poetry, This Will Remain With Us, published by Wild Ink Publishing. More about Melissa can be found here: https://linktr.ee/melissarmendelson
Chilling story of retribution…! Very nice!
Thank you, Angela. 🙂
A wonderfully unsettling story.
Thank You! 🙂
Such a savage tale with morality twisted all out of shape – I was almost relieved that the aliens were coming to end it all.