The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
by Elizabeth H. Smith
Although John felt some apprehension about allowing Caroline’s corpse to lie about the house after her passing, he was glad he did so. He kept her cold enough to slow decay, and pleasant flowers had been arranged in every room just in case there was an odor. He cracked open the door every so often to view her. She likely would have scoffed at the job he did of applying her makeup, but he thought maybe she would have appreciated the effort nonetheless.
A knock came at the door as John paced the house in anticipation. He’d been waiting for this night with great fear, but also shining hope. When he opened the door to greet his visitor, the man simply walked in, stamped his cane on the floor and spoke, “Where is she?”
John pointed to the parlor. “She’s in there, resting.”
The small man muttered as he walked to the door and let himself in. John followed, his nerves rattled beyond measure. He looked over Caroline’s body as he placed his leather satchel on the floor. From it he removed an old leather-bound book. As he opened its cover, John felt a chill in the air and wrapped his arms around himself.
The man read from the book in a booming voice John didn’t expect from someone of his stature. It was a language he didn’t recognize—unlike anything he’d heard before. As the words flowed from the visitor’s mouth, Caroline’s skin began to glow beneath the veil placed over her naked flesh. The ghostly illumination brightened, her skin began to smooth and look fresh. A cold breeze traveled the room around them, followed by a sharp breath through Caroline’s lips.
Her eyes opened to gaze upon her husband, cold, hard, and without recognition.
The visitor quickly shooed John out of the room. “We must go! Hurry!”
Once they crossed the threshold, the visitor slammed the door shut. “It is done. You’ve got what you wanted. But be warned, it takes time for everything to come back, if it ever does at all… I strongly advise you not to go in there until you’re sure.” The man looked back at the door as inhuman screeching came from the parlor. “It would not be safe.”
John watched the man leave, then went and put his ear to the parlor door. He gripped the handle with a sweaty palm, unsure how long he’d be able to hold back from opening it and joining his wife, no matter how it would end.
Fiction © Copyright Elizabeth H. Smith
Image courtesy of Pixabay
More About Elizabeth H. Smith:
Elizabeth H. Smith is a storyteller who writes while trying to keep her cat, Luna off the keyboard. The musical group, Rasputina is her muse. She was born in the state of New York and would never feel at home anywhere else.
Through Clouded Eyes: A Zombie’s Point of View
Through Clouded Eyes: A Zombie’s Point of View: a collection of twelve stories told from the Zombie’s perspective.
They’re shambling toward you, feet dragging on the broken roadway. Arms outstretched, faces slack, they move as if they’re tracking your scent on the wind. You want to run, but you know there’s nowhere to hide.
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Featuring stories from Maynard Blackoak, Calvin Demmer, Paul M. Feeney, Stacy Fileccia, Trevor Firetog, DH Hanni, Shannon Lawrence, Josh MacLeod, Zachary O’Shea, Neal Privett, Mark Steinwachs, and Alex Woolf