Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author Nikki Blakely @darc_nina #LoH #fiction

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!

When Jacob Comes Calling
by Nikki Blakely

The knock on the door came at a quarter past six.

Fathers arm jerked in surprise, and the spoonful of soup that had been enroute to his mouth splashed a crimson shade of tomato onto the stark white of his Sunday best. His thick brow furrowed and he cast mother a begrudging look. He hadn’t wanted to wear it, but she’d insisted. Twasn’t often we have dinner guests, she’d told him, and certainly none the stature of Father McDormand. Then there was Samuel Witkins, his younger brother Henry, and their mother and father to take into account. 

“We need to put our best foot forward if we want to impress our future inlaws” She’d said as she’d straightened his tie and brushed a hair from his shoulder. In her mind I was already as good as married to Samuel Witkins, though as of yet he hadn’t even asked, and even if he had I couldn’t have said yes. I was already promised to another, as you well know. 

The knock came again.

It was a heavy handed knock, a tightly closed fist that landed on the wooden door with the force of a well-muscled arm — such an arm as might be made from pitching bales of hay, or from chopping thick cords of wood. It wasn’t the light tap-tap-tap of Mrs. Corrigan, our neighbor, who came often to borrow a cup of sugar or a pint of milk. Nor was it the sharp, furtive raps of children playing knock, knock, run. Nay, it was the knock of man who had business with those on the other side, and it would not be deterred. 

All eyes turned toward the door, which could only partially be seen from the curve of the dining room, and a hushed silence fell over the room. It wasn’t until Mary, the housemaid, set down the tureen of soup she had been holding and took a step toward that foyer that Mother finally spoke.

“Mary, no,” she said, raising her hand. Then, softening her face, she smiled slightly, and continued. ”I don’t know any personages of ill upbringing who would come calling during the dinner hour, and I certainly will not reward bad manners.”

The knock came again, loud and insistent.

Mothers eyelids fluttered, and she reached over and placed a slender hand on Samuel Witkins sleeve. “Samuel, your father tells us that you will be following in his footsteps at the bank next Spring?” The hand protruding from Samuels cuff looked very much like Mothers;. long, fine-boned, well-manicured. Doubtful those hands had ever touched a bale of hay, or even a single splint of wood. And equally doubtful they would ever touch me. 

I reached into my pocket, and felt the small circular ring of braided daisy stems that you’d slipped on my finger the day you’d asked for my hand. We’d spread a blanket down in the tall grass behind the stables, and spent the afternoon picking animal shapes from the clouds. You’d pressed your lips against mine, one hand slipping the daisy ring on my finger, and the other slipping up under my skirt, and I’d breathed yes, oh yes into your ear. You told me you’d go to Father that very night for his blessing. But that was over a fortnight ago, and the daisy ring was now dry and brittle.

Knock. Knock. Knock. 

Little Henry slipped from his seat, ran to the front window, pulled the heavy woolen drapery to the side, and peered out. When he turned back towards us, his face was ashen white, his eyes as big as saucers. 

“‘Tis Jacob Hill at the door,” he said, his voice trembling. 

At once Samuel was at his side, parting the drapes and looking out, his face equally as ashen when he turned.

“He’s right,” he whispered. “It is Jacob Hill.”

“Impossible,” Father said, rising from the table but Mother pulled him back. “I watched him die. We all went to his funeral.”

Father McDormand stood abruptly, his fingers gesturing the sign of the cross before clutching his crucifix. “Behold the cross of the lord! Begone unholy spirit!”

They’d told me you’d been kicked in the head by one of the horses, but Father was none too saddened by your death, and I’d doubted that was the way of it. I reached into my pocket and slipped the daisy ring onto my finger and went to open the door. 

Dead or no, we had a wedding to plan.



This entry was posted in Authors, Dark Fiction, flash fiction, FREE, Horror, Ladies of Horror, Writing Project and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author Nikki Blakely @darc_nina #LoH #fiction

  1. Marge Simon says:

    A fine little tale, illustrating how Love will find a Way!

  2. afstewart says:

    A terrific story.

  3. That ending! This is a great piece. Highly enjoyed!

  4. Such an enjoyable read – the detail of the daisy ring was great

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