The Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author Tiffany Michelle Brown @TiffeBrown @Sotet_Angyal #LoH #fiction

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!

03_img_janShape, Shift, Switch
by Tiffany Michelle Brown

She’d told him to meet her at the Ferris wheel, but Travis was having a hard time finding the ride in the dark. Sure, it was a metal behemoth, but it was usually lit up, colors undulating, beckoning folks to climb aboard and take flight. Travis stared up, hoping to spy an outline of the wheel etched upon the night sky, but all the squinting just gave him a headache.
He’d figured there would be safety lights strewn throughout the park, something to guide workers through the metal graveyard during off hours. Well, he’d figured wrong.
Travis activated the flashlight app on his phone and let the beam explore. A popcorn cart sat quiet nearby, smelling of fake butter and burnt kernels. Arcade games surrounded Travis, plush animals of all varieties and sizes staring down at him with black button eyes. The Scrambler with its giant spider-like arms was to his left and just beyond it…there it was, the Ferris wheel.
Travis reached into his pant pocket to make sure the note was still there. The note the cute red-headed girl with silver eyes had handed him earlier in the evening while he was waiting in the line to buy tickets. The note that invited him to the Ferris wheel at 4am and provided him with detailed instructions for sneaking into the venue. It was clear that this girl was an amusement park B&E expert, which made Travis instantly like her. That and the fact she’d approached him.
The redhead hadn’t stuck around to see how Travis would respond to her invitation. She simply disappeared into the crowd. Travis couldn’t wait to see her again.
As Travis began moving toward the Ferris wheel, a high-pitched whine reverberated through the air around him. He stumbled and his Converse kicked up dirt.
What the hell was that?
Travis turned around, swung his phone in front of him to illuminate the grounds, and tilted his head ever so slightly, listening hard for more sounds in the dark.
The sound came again, and Travis frowned. It was unmistakable this time, the sound of a horse whinnying. Was there an animal loose in the park?
Travis looked at the time on his phone: 3:52am. He was early. He cast his light toward the Ferris wheel once more. Travis couldn’t make out a figure near the ride, and no one called out to him. She wasn’t there yet.
Another whinny met his ears. It was a sound of distress.
Travis decided he had to investigate. He wouldn’t be able to live with himself if he didn’t.
And if this went right, he’d have a heroic story for the red-headed girl. Bonus.
Travis started in the general direction of the whinnying, throwing his light here and there to retain his bearings. He took a sharp right at a bank of restrooms, gasped, and dropped his phone.
The carousel itself was normal, painted in swirls of gold, blue, and red, lined with rows of fiberglass animals that rose and fell on gilded poles. But one of the horses, a tan steed with a carrot-colored mane, was very much alive. It whinnied and stomped and shook its head in frustration. To Travis’s horror, a golden bar impaled the horse right through its midsection, pinning the animal to the carousel.
Travis felt bile rise in his throat, but he swallowed it down and stepped forward.
How could something like this have happened? Could he free this poor animal? And would it survive if he did? There had to be a way.
If he investigated and couldn’t do anything, he decided he would call the police.
Travis approached the horse slowly, his hands raised in front of him in a sign of surrender. The horse’s eyes caught his, black as night, wild, and impatient.
“Easy,” Travis said. “Easy.”
He stepped up onto the carousel and reached forward. When Travis’s fingertips made contact with the tan flank, a violent energy pulled through his arms. He careened forward and was pushed flush against the steed. Wind screamed around him and he had the disconcerting feeling of being sucked through a straw. Travis cried out, but there was no sound. He tried to flail. He tried to move. But nothing worked.
Resigned, he screwed his eyes shut, grateful it was something he could do.
As quickly as it had started, the wind died out. The energy around him settled. He could hear his heartbeat in his ears.
But something was wrong. He felt strange. Heavy. Tangled up. Like his body didn’t quite fit anymore.
Travis opened his eyes and saw her then, the red-headed girl. She stood before him with a pained expression on her face.
“I’m so sorry about this,” she said. “It’s just been so long and…” She looked down and picked at a fingernail. “Honestly, living in an amusement park isn’t that terrible, as long as you follow the rules. Pro tip, though you’ll probably ignore it, don’t try to leave. It’ll hurt. Really bad.”
What was going on? This girl didn’t make any sense. Living in an amusement park?
Travis had so many questions. He tried to speak…and that’s when he noticed he wasn’t him anymore.
“You’ll catch on with the shapeshifting soon enough. It’s easier than you think because it’s just energy transfer. And you’re a carousel horse right now, but you could be a car on the rollercoaster or a toy at one of the arcade games or human you…as long as you do it here.”
The girl stepped up onto the carousel platform.
“The shapeshifting part is easy. You’ll get the hang of it.” Her silver eyes clouded over with sadness. “The hard part is luring someone here after hours to take your place. You see, someone always has to be here. The park, it’s just so damn hungry. I think it needs youth to sustain it.”
She paused and looked around. “It took me a year and four days. So many people just…didn’t show up.”
The girl leaned forward, and Travis — that was still his name, right? — attempted to back up, away from her touch. A grating noise poured from his now-animal throat. He couldn’t get away. That damned golden bar held him tight in place. It didn’t hurt him, thank God, but it didn’t give him many options either. Whinny. Stamp. Twist.
Despite Travis’s attempts at escape, the girl managed to place her hands on either side of his head. She smiled, leaned in, and kissed his nose.
“But you’re pretty cute. I’m sure you’ll manage a switch in no time.”
Fiction © Copyright Tiffany Michelle Brown
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

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Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author Angela Yuriko Smith @AngelaYSmith @Sotet_Angyal #LoH

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!

02_img_january

Parade of the Raven Prince
by Angela Yuriko Smith

He stands at the head
of a carnivalistic parade…
hungry and bizarre with
hollowed, craven eyes.
His sharp beak pierces
the dark side of my heart.
His ebon feathers tickle
my fancy and I blush.
His misshapen troupe
watches from behind
licking cracked lips
waiting for reactions…
will I run or stay?
I stay, hypnotized
by his compelling dark
gaze laden with promises—
annihilation for adoration
seems a good exchange
in the woods at night
when face to face with
the Raven Prince and
his possessive posse.
His stance says enough.
I am already owned. He
is the scavenger of souls…
the claimer of carcasses.
Boneless, helpless
I drop to the leaves
adding my humanity
to the detritus there….
cast it off like a girl’s
outgrown, faded frock
and open my chest
inviting him to dip his
razor beak into my soul
and drain me to a husk.
Somewhere, a witch’s tears
mar her silver scry as she
witnesses wilted and sad
girlhood fall forgotten to
the forest floor and her
child prisoner rise to join
a different twisted family.
I see her eyes in the mist
watching me from shadows
cast from my new master.
With no love lost I wave
soft and secret for her
that watches, blinded
as her monkey joins
another circus.

 

Fiction © Copyright Angela Yuriko Smith
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

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More from Angela Yuriko Smith:

The Bitter Suites

Book a stay at the Bitter Suites, a hotel that specializes in renewable death experiences. Whether you schedule your demise as therapy, to bond with a loved one or for pure recreation, your death is sure to give you a new lease on life. Renewable death is always beneficial… at least to someone.

Available on Amazon!

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Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author Terrie Leigh Relf @TLRelf @Sotet_Angyal #LoH #fiction

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!

01_img_jan_rsWhat the Light Finally Revealed
by Terrie Leigh Relf

Inside the dilapidated cottage, Luisa huddled beneath an old quilt. She hoped for a few hours of sleep before exploring the surrounding forest in the morning.  It had been years, she believed, since she’d had the courage to return to her old home. 
how memories 
still guided her steps 
a photograph thick with dust
Standing in front of the window, Luisa shivered within the cold light of morning. A fractured mirror cast eerie images along the worn, wooden walls.
hands
around her neck
a prayer almost uttered
She reached for the brass doorknob, slowly turned it to the left. It must be broken, she realized, then padded toward the kitchen’s back door.  It wouldn’t open, either. With a sigh, she looked for a tool to remove the knob. Or perhaps she should just break the window further, climb through. 
melodic bridge
followed by a defiant cadenza
her screams  in counterpoint
Luisa sank down onto the living room carpet. It had been soft once. Luxurious. As the sun rose higher over the trees, she could almost feel the hot sting of tears as they flowed down her cheeks. 
how blood pooled
beneath her
someone laughing
Her memories continued to rise, then dissipate like shadows in the room. That night, that horrendous night, when she had returned home from vacation early, her husband, Carlo, at work in the basement.
shelves overflowing
with memento mori
scent of embalming fluid
That night, he had strangled then stabbed her over and over and over again.  How could she not have known he was the local serial killer?
how the light swirled
around her . . . beckoning
her to take that last step 
Fiction © Copyright Terrie Leigh Relf
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

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More from author Terrie Leigh Relf:

The Sisterhood of the Blood Moon

For thousands of Earth years, the Transgalactic Consortium has had a quiet interest in this planet and its inhabitants, the Haurans. While the Sisterhood of the Blood Moon works together with the Consortium and Haurans to maintain balance in the universe, the Blood Moon is fast approaching. The power of this moon reveals untold secrets . . . including a sacred covenant with the Mora Spiders. There is an ancient pact that needs to be honored—but at what cost and for whose purpose? The world may come to an end. But will there be a chance for a new beginning?

Available for purchase from the Alban Lake Store!

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Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author Ela Lourenco @ElaLourenco @Sotet_Angyal #LoH #fiction

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!

04_img_jan_rsIn God’s Name
by Ela Lourenco

Where I come from, I know not. Left, mere days old, on the Church’s steps. The good, kind nuns did take me in. Women of all ages, mothers to me all, treating me as the daughter they would never have.
I played hide and seek in the cloisters, spent many a happy day helping with the herb garden. Cook always snuck me fresh cookies from the oven and I never went to bed without a night-time story. I was loved, I was safe, surrounded by love in the house of our Father. 
I wish it could have stayed thus forever. I wish curiosity had not reared its serpentine head. I wish I had never strayed into the forbidden underground crypt. I did not want to cause them harm, these kind loving mothers of mine but something entered me in that cavern… something dark and hideous. One minute I was there and then the next… I stood in the Church hall, dazed, confused, the kitchen knife in my hand dripping with red.
Fiction © Copyright Ela Lourenco
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

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More from Ela Lourenco:

awakeningDragon Born: Book Three
Awakening

The Royal tournament, the Karnac, is fully underway. But there is deception and betrayal at every turn. Unseen dark forces are at play, both within the school grounds and out with. Even the Gods are unable to help when a new threat looms over them all.The very existence of Azmantium depends on Lara fully becoming the Child of Fire and casting aside the Shadows lurking in every corner of her beloved planet.Can she overcome the challenges that await? Will the Shadows cover the world in darkness? Only Lara and her friends can change the fate of Azmantium.

Available on Amazon!

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Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author Sonora Taylor @sonorawrites @Sotet_Angyal #LoH #fiction

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!

03_img_jan

Slate
by Sonora Taylor

All around Matilda, the carnival was slate. She remembered the merry-go-round as a world full of color and light. Now though, she walked through the abandoned fairgrounds and only saw steel and shadow. A forgotten wooden horse stared at her with beady eyes of black. What had happened?
She only remembered walking through a tent with faded red and yellow stripes. The one with the clown that beckoned her from the entrance. Matilda had never been afraid of clowns. She had no reason to fear this colorful figure’s invitation, no reason to anticipate the sharp blade that pierced her shoulders the minute the tent flap closed behind her.
When the pain receded, Matilda wandered back outside and saw the carnival abandoned. She looked for her mother, and then for anyone. No one was there. When she reached the merry-go-round, its horses still and grey, she stood on the platform and began to cry.
A whirring noise stopped her tears. She opened her eyes and saw bright lights surround her. The platform beneath her feet began to turn. The horse began to move up and down.
Matilda reached for its saddle of slate and hoisted herself up. She held the pole and felt its chill beneath her fingers. The carnival stayed awash in grey, and no music sounded from the merry-go-round. Even so, she felt a wave of calm roll upon her as the horse with its eyes of black moved up and down, up and down, lulling her into a sleep filled with shadowed dreams.
Fiction © Copyright Sonora Taylor
Image courtesy of  Pixabay.com

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More from Sonora Taylor:

74533110_1104998099694619_4901851685367840768_nLittle Paranoias: Stories

Is it a knock on the door, or a gust of wind? A trick of the light, or someone who’ll see what you’ve done?

“Little Paranoias: Stories” features twenty tales of the little things that drive our deepest fears. It tells the stories of terror and sorrow, lust at the end of the world and death as an unwanted second chance. It dives into the darkest corners of the minds of men, women, and children. It wanders into the forest and touches every corner of the capital. Everyone has something to fear — but after all, it’s those little paranoias that drive our day-to-day.

Available on Amazon!

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The Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author Naching T. Kassa @NachingKassa @Sotet_Angyal #LoH #fiction

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!

02_img_january

Crow
by Naching T. Kassa

The story races through my mind. I must tell it before it’s too late.
My sister has always been afraid of crows. That’s why I used them to drive her insane.
Clara had to go, you see. Both of us were to receive an inheritance upon the death of our father. And, when he finally breathed his last, it was she who stood between me and the $100,000 which lay moldering in the bank. She was younger than me, and though I could not bring myself to kill her, I could not wait another year for her to leave the earth. Driving her insane would work just as well. When they made me her guardian, I could spend her $50,000 just as easily.
The feathers came first. Lustrous and black, I laid them on her pillow before slumber and smiled as her shrieks filled the hall. When I rushed to her room and she motioned to them, I pretended not to see them, sowing seeds of doubt in that oh so fertile mind.
The sounds came next. I slipped into her room without notice and hid the player under her bed. During the darkest hours of the night, the raucous cries filled her room. They propelled her from deepest sleep to fear-gripped wakefulness. She would scream my name, but I would not answer until all the cries had ceased. I would peer at her in puzzlement as she described the fearful cacophony, telling her I had heard nothing. Then, I would return to my bedroom, cover my head with a pillow, and laugh with delight.
The last thing, the one which drove her over the edge, was the bird I set upon her while she slept. A particularly vicious and hungry creature, it pecked at her hands and fingers until I pulled it away. Her mind had gone by the time I switched the lamp on. 
A new month found her in a new residence. Her inward stare now encompassed the wide, lush lawn of the institution to which I had committed her. My long days of penury had ended. The money now filled my bank account.
I returned to my home and removed all trace of her and our father. The house was a fresh page and I would fill it with what I craved.
After dinner, I took a stroll in the woods behind my home. I pretended a new childhood, one without my family and my sister. One in which I played alone. I took a path I’d avoided since girlhood, intent on creating my new past.
And, there I saw him.
He stood alone at the end of the trail, dressed in the black uniform of a chauffeur, the brass buttons glinting in the dying sunlight. The overlarge and denuded skull of a crow covered his face, long feathers grew upward.
I stood frozen as his vacant eyes gazed upon me. And, then he spoke a single word.
“Rita.”
The sound of my own name sent me scrambling in the opposite direction. I had forgotten this monster, this creature which had haunted my childhood. He who had turned even the sweetest dream into a sanctum for nightmares.
I cast a fearful glance over my shoulder as I ran, but he had not pursued me. I burst from the wood, dashed up the drive, and into the house.
The lock clicked and I leaned against the door, my heart in my throat. Memories flowed in like water over a broken dam. I now remembered how Clara and I had wandered down the path. How we had found him and how he had haunted us. Every time we came near the wood, he had followed us, stalking us from the brambles, watching from behind the trees. One night, he’d even come to the window and gazed in upon us. We had screamed for our parents, and though he stood but inches from the glass, they did not see him. Only when he crept away did we grow quiet.
We knew we could not escape him. 
The next day, Clara had come to me and taking my hand, said, “There is only one way to get rid of him, Rita. We must turn our backs on him and forget. More than that, we must never go down that path again.”
I squeezed her hand and as one; we forced him from our minds. 
The trick worked. We never saw him again.
But Clara still feared the crows. 
It was she who always kept me on the right path and away from the one he inhabited.
I trembled as I mounted the stairs and hurried through the empty hall. When I reached my room, I fell upon the bed and closed my eyes against the darkness which filled it.
I tried to push him from my mind, tried to erase him as I had before.
I must’ve fallen asleep because when next I opened my eyes, moonlight streamed through the window blinds and the digital clock read twelve. I rose and realizing I had not yet eaten, made my way toward the door.
Movement caught my eye. 
I didn’t want to turn my head. I didn’t want to see the figure, which had been crouching in the corner, rise to his feet. I didn’t want to see the pale bone headdress in the silver slivers of moonglow. I shut my eyes against him, even as I stood rooted to the floor and his soft footsteps crossed the carpet.
I tried to forget him. But his cold fingers, like claws, closed around my arm…
Now, I sit in the same room as my sister. Dressed in a similar robe, seated in a similar chair. Someone thought it would be kinder to keep us together, that somehow, it would bring us out of the spell which binds us. From dawn til dusk, I stare into her face. 
Clara just blinked. She sees me for the first time. Her eyes are sad. She speaks but I can’t respond.
Perhaps, she’ll make a full recovery.
I will forget Clara in the days which come, but I will not forget him, and he will not forget me.
Even now, he waits in the shadows of this room.
Waiting for darkness to come.
Fiction © Copyright Naching T. Kassa
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
 

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More from Naching T. Kassa:

image (10)Kill Switch

As technology takes over more of our lives, what will it mean to be human, and will we fear what we’ve created? What horrors will our technological hubris bring us in the future? Join us as we walk the line between progressive convenience and the nightmares these advancements can breed. From faulty medical nanos and AI gone berserk to ghost-attracting audio-tech and one very ambitious Mow-Bot, we bring you tech horror that will keep you up at night. Will you reach the Kill Switch in time? Edited by Dan Shaurette and Emerian Rich, with authors Chantal Boudreau, Garth von Buchholz, Bill Davidson, Jerry J. Davis, Dana Hammer, Laurel Anne Hill, Naching T. Kassa, Tim O’Neal, H.E. Roulo, Garrett Rowlan, Phillip T. Stephens, and Daphne Strasert.

Available on Amazon!

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Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author Rie Sheridan Rose @RieSheridanRose @Sotet_Angyal #LoH #fiction

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!

01_img_jan_rs
More Than Cats…

by Rie Sheridan Rose
You know what they say about curiosity…but the old house beckoned in the fading light. The windows were barred, and that should have been a sign—STAY AWAY—in big block letters. But the panes were also ajar…open to the crisp air. Inviting exploration. 
So Sojourner slipped inside, her wings fluttering in the sunlight. Just a few inches before she realized her mistake. Not abandoned. A trap! 
Sticky flypaper hung in strips before the window, and she had flit right into it. She fought to free herself, but the delicate membranes of her wings shredded….
She screamed—shattering the glass of the windows as the sun abandoned her.
You know what they say about curiosity…but it kills more than cats.
Fiction © Copyright Rie Sheridan Rose
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

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More from Author Rie Sheridan Rose:

Skellyman

“I have always preferred the supernatural in tales of horror, the knot between life and death. Rie Sheridan Rose’s Skellyman is cool and creepy. Her first horror novel is a chilling read.” — Charlee Jacob – Stoker winner, Best novel, “Dread in the Beast”

Brenda Barnett is trying to cope with raising her four-year-old daughter all alone after an accident tore her family in half. As she and Daisy go for a much-needed treat, the little girl spots a Skellyman on the corner.

This pivotal encounter leads to a wave of mounting terror as Brenda’s life begins to come undone around her. Who is the Skellyman? Why does he keep appearing? Can the sympathetic policeman Brenda turns to stop the madness before it is too late?

And why does Daisy insist that her dead brother is trying to tell them something important?

Available on Amazon!

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