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

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!

Hollow
by Sonora Taylor

Mrs. Sassafras was Lindsay’s favorite doll. Lindsay spotted Mrs. Sassafras at the church rummage sale, her porcelain cheeks dull and her linen dress yellowed. But it was her eyes that drew Lindsay in. Their irises were gone, perhaps faded with time. Wherever they’d gone, Lindsay didn’t care. She wanted the doll, and once her mother bought it, it became her favorite.
Lindsay liked that Mrs. Sassafras couldn’t look at her. Her mother often looked at her with a sigh, her teachers with frustration as she answered questions wrong, her classmates with mocking and laughter as they asked why she was so quiet. Her cousin Bethany, who was her age and also in her class, was the worst. She always picked on her, both at home and at school. She pretended she wasn’t Lindsay’s cousin when she was around her friends, but it was their being related that gave Bethany so much more to tease her about.
The teasing and laughter were too much to bear, but Mrs. Sassafras made it better. Lindsay would hug her close when things got bad, when Lindsay’s sadness was overcome with darkness that clouded her mind. Mrs. Sassafras didn’t care if Lindsay emanated darkness. Mrs. Sassafras couldn’t see her.
Bethany saw her every Sunday, when Aunt Noelle and Uncle Howard would all come over for dinner. Bethany would be sent upstairs to play with Lindsay, and Bethany would spend that time taking her toys, bragging about how many more friends she had or how her grades were better, or making fun of whatever Lindsay was wearing that day.
One Sunday, her teasing went to Mrs. Sassafras. “What an ugly doll,” Bethany said with a sneer as she picked her up.
“Put her down,” Lindsay said as she sped towards Bethany. She wouldn’t let Bethany ruin Mrs. Sassafras.
“Of course you’d love a doll as ugly as you are.”
“Give her to me!”
Bethany threw Mrs. Sassafras on the ground. Her face cracked and her arm broke off. The arm lay on the floor, its end in jagged shards. Lindsay dropped to her knees and picked up the arm, blinking back tears.
“You’re crying over an ugly doll?” Bethany laughed. It was the ugliest sound Lindsay had ever heard. She wanted it to end. She knew how to end it.
Lindsay stood up and smacked Bethany across the face with the arm. Bethany fell, her eyes wide in both shock and pain. Lindsay felt ignited by how good Bethany’s fear made her feel. She struck Bethany again, then again. Bethany’s cheek began to bleed, and her cries grew less with every blow. Lindsay dealt her one final, deep blow to the neck. Blood trickled from Bethany’s neck, and she lay still.
Lindsay dropped the arm and picked up Mrs. Sassafras. Blood smattered her cracked cheeks, and she stared at her with hollow eyes. For the first time, Lindsay thought she saw something swimming in their depths. She held Mrs. Sassafras’ cheek. The hollow stared back at her. Lindsay smiled at its emptiness. She closed her eyes and brought Mrs. Sassafras’ cheek to hers, whispering, “I love you.”
Fiction © Copyright Sonora Taylor
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com 

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More from Sonora Taylor:

WITHER and Other Stories

Should we or shouldn’t we? It’s a question many ask themselves each day. Should we or shouldn’t we wither in a wooded paradise instead of a broken city? Leave our home when the news warns us of what’s outside? Join in a circle of nighttime delights? Be with someone who awakens our sins?

“Wither and Other Stories” tells four tales of the choice to partake. In the end, the choice may not need to be made. For when we ask ourselves, “Should we or shouldn’t we,” the answer is always yes.

Available on Amazon!

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Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author A.F. Stewart @scribe77 @Sotet_Angyal #LoH #fiction #poem #poet #poetry

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!


The Hour of Death

by A.F. Stewart

Between the Tarot
and the hourglass
the shifting shadows dance
in the everlastingly music
of the reaper’s final blade
The cards on velvet never lie
Oh, they divulge your sordid tale
Of the blood and the misery,
of your secrets unrevealed,
and corruption in your soul
I hear the pale screams
in the echo of the sand
Across the telling cards
the ghosts convey their pleas
Yet, you smile at their pain
Whispers from the Tarot,
see, written on the cards
The hourglass has run its course
and your time, it has come
Your fate is in the shadows
The reaper waits for you
I smile at your leaving,
and watch the shadows move
Between the Tarot
and the hourglass
Death will take its due
Fiction © Copyright A.F. Stewart
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

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More from A.F. Stewart:

Abandoned: 13 Tales of Impulse, Betrayal, Surrender, & Withdrawal

To act with abandon, in any sense of the word, is human. Whether it’s the sudden, strong urge to do something, either good or bad, or the act of betraying someone you love, we make choices that forever change our lives. Do you give into something or someone completely, or withdraw wholly into yourself? These thirteen stories run the gamut of emotions and express horror as you’ve never imagined it.

The story of a woman alone at the end of the world and the small lifeline she hopes will prove humanity still exists challenges the search for anything left behind after the death of a child. What if you hid a secret you’d thought no one else knew? Would its revelation spark the monster hiding within? A downward spiral into madness juxtaposes the ultimate, but impossible, (re)birth. Would you choose the frigid winds of winter over the warmth and safety of your lover’s arms?

Abandon hope, all who enter here…

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!


Drink
by Rie Sheridan Rose

She held the crystal chalice out to me like a benediction. The liquid in the glass was a red so dark it looked nearly black.
I hesitated. The girl was gorgeous, and I really wanted to get up in there…but there was something surreal about her ebony velvet gown, and that deep red liquid in the clear crystal.
“Drink,” she murmured, her voice molten sex, her eyes smoldering with promise.
Gulping down my reservations, I reached for the glass.
Her lips curled into a smile, batting her lashes coquettishly.
Licking my top lip anxiously, I brought the glass to my mouth. A heady aroma blending spices and fruit rose from the chalice. Taking a moment, I savored that bouquet. I could feel all my cares and inhibitions fading away before I even took the first sip.
“Drink,” she whispered urgently.
Taking a deep breath, I downed the contents of the chalice in one long gulp.
Fire exploded in my throat, and I dropped the crystal with a gasp, barely registering the tinkle of its breaking. I fell to my knees, hands clutching at the pain.
She threw back her head and laughed, the sound sharp and jarring. As her eyes once more met mine, I saw that their green was now streaked with black, and her hair was no longer red but a snowy-white. Her features had become those of a crone.
“W-what…?” I croaked.
She shrugged. “I run low of essence. You will refill my store.” She picked up a dagger from the table behind her. “Didn’t your mother ever tell you not to accept drinks from strangers?”
As my sight faded, I felt the slash of her dagger across my palm. Blood flowed into a basin she set beneath.
“Mine taught me never to drink anything I didn’t bottle myself.”
The world slipped away.
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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Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author Ashley Davis @Sotet_Angyal #LoH #fiction

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!



They’ve All Come Home

by Ashley Davis

They look like old bones, but they’re so much more. The Earth belongs to us in this brief spark in the darkness that is human life, but it reclaims us all in the end.

1959
He was only twelve, and surely he would be safe with eight other boys and two troop leaders. One weekend away from the safety of home. But one of those men wasn’t a man inside; he was a monster. A blow with a flashlight and a violent struggle, and then he went out with a shoestring, ironically, from his beloved boots. The monster did what monsters do, and he dumped the mutilated body here. But the boy remains. Maybe not in his former state, but here nonetheless. Now the boy is a stained ulna, accompanied by a clump of fire-red hair. Caught amongst the detritus is the decaying leather cord of the friendship bracelet they’d made that day. It had lasted for the rest of his life, just like he promised.

1964
The cello was her greatest love, her greatest master, at least until Sheila. She threw it all away. At fifteen. She’d been a prodigy, but she turned away easily. For her. For love. Breathless nights of planning, throwing the essentials in a bag; it was a betrayal to them, but she wasn’t planning to be gone forever. Just one trip through the woods, so her parents couldn’t track her, and Sheila—the only one who understood her internal turmoil—would meet her at the pier with forget-me-nots—her favorite—on the other side of the mountain. But that moment will hang in time forever. Tree roots are treacherous in the dark, especially when you’re a scared young girl. Sheila eventually went home, believing her love had abandoned her courage. Her family moved on, assuming she had cut them out of her life, never realizing that her love for both them and her partner was her truth. After the head wound against the base of the oak tree, she’d felt all right for a few hours. Then came the dizziness, the nausea, the lightheaded shortness of breath. She lay down to sleep a while, and sleeping she will always remain. An earthquake-triggered rockfall brought her here, where she is a humerus among the bracken, a small brown box, sparkling promise ring still inside, an eternal symbol of her love, only revealed to the universe.

1978
He thought the world was his for the taking. Getting his Eagle Scout badge cemented that. Sharp blue eyes and hair like soft wheat, a crooked smile that charmed all the girls. He was headed to university in the fall—a soccer scholarship. But his true passion was sculpture. His parents were so proud. One last hike, he’d said. One last view of home before I conquer the world. That evening he sat down on a cliff edge to watch the setting sun. Without warning, it gave way, trees falling with it, and—mercifully quick—that was the end, a sharp branch puncturing one eye socket and penetrating into soft brain tissue. He’s here now, a prominent, strong femur, an engraved hunting knife—a gift from his father—rusting in the loam inches away. He thought the world belonged to him, but he, like all of us in the end, finally found that he belongs to it.

1985
She was a being at the edge of water and light. A ballerina who loved poetry, romantic comedies, and strawberry wine. A blossoming career before her, but blurred by pain. She wanted to rediscover the universe through the great, wide green. After he left her, she wanted to show that she was strong enough alone, but humans are breakable on the outside. One misstep on a rock, a small splash in a rocky brook, and time went on. All that’s left is a scrap of white denim on a water-smoothed tibia, resting softly on the leaves. As soft as her her hands used to move as a swan in white lace.

1993
She would like where she is now. A fitting ending. A wildlife ecologist, a proponent of the beautiful, wild spaces of this incredible, dying planet, she was here to save what was here and rebuild what was possible. She always wore her lucky hairband in the field—had since grad school. It had been lucky since she successfully defended her PhD in front of an all-male committee, standing tall instead of crouching down, for once. By chance, while observing a family of foxes, she’d espied some rare purple flowers on a slope beneath a limestone overhanging. It was steep, but she knew how to anchor herself. Specimens bagged perfectly, labeled just so, logged in her red leather field journal. She was a perfectionist, if nothing else. But she had a soul that appreciated what lay beneath it all. She turned around to look out over the woods, taking a breath of fresh air, and knew nothing but joy when the stone overhanging crashed down, crushing her instantly. Pieces will lay there, perhaps forever, but the dark-haired woman who laughed at raccoons and tried so hard to find meaning in the tittering of the night owls is now fragments of a scapula and clavicle, the only parts that escaped the boulder, a lens from one of her beloved instruments her last mark upon the Earth she loved so much.

2002
Life and death were his only thoughts, his only options. An abusive childhood in poverty led to a brief high when he put himself through college, but he never found his passion. At least he made money, but not enough to buy true happiness. At fifty, single and balding, he hated his tedious office cubicle, his micromanaging boss, his lonely apartment on the edge of town, and the expectations of his aging mother, a woman who had abused and neglected him, but demanded his every spare moment in her gloomy, ugly nursing home. Not one of the nice ones, with smiling nurses and flowers and field trips, but one of the cheap ones, with broken ceiling tiles, mountains of dirty laundry, and empty-eyed staff who forgot everything from birthdays to essential medication. His only happiness was his dog, Lee, which he had given to a lonely neighbor before his “trip.” He couldn’t walk into that office to be yelled at and accomplish nothing one more time. He couldn’t pick up the phone and hear the screeching of his drug-addicted sister, begging for money, any longer. He couldn’t pretend to not know his mother for the monster she was every time he looked into her hateful eyes. All that was left was endless nights of TV dinners while watching Law & Order, wishing for a different life. One that had probably been unobtainable from the beginning. He parked his car on the side of the highway on a cold September afternoon. He climbed over the barrier, backpack in hand, and entered the woods still wearing a suit, tie, and dress shoes. He walked until it got dark, then he slept near the base of a laurel tree. He found the perfect tree the next day. An oak with strong branches, stronger than he’d ever been. It deserved the life he had been given. The oak would have flourished, despite the hardships. He pulled out the stepladder and looped the rope around the sturdiest of the lower branches, not too close to the trunk. He followed the directions he’d read online and copied down to make the noose. The knot was perfect—the best thing he’d ever made. He felt pride and a stunned sadness as he climbed the ladder. He had no final words to say, no final things to do. He was empty, as he was always meant to be. One step, and it was over. He hung there for seasons—no one was looking for him—but eventually the rope rotted through and animals scattered the remains. Now he is part of a cervical spine, broken but real, just as he was in life, inches from a small, silver cufflink shining in the dust.

2010
A new life for a new woman. Once a hard-hitting Wall Street trader, this powerhouse had powered down to retire early just shy of sixty. A simple cottage, a loving husband, and freedom. She would drink chamomile tea every morning with fresh-baked bread, eggs from her own chickens—a novelty for a city girl. Her soul was always a battle between Emily Bronte and a Hallmark greeting card. Even now, she was still finding who she was. Each morning, after her sunrise tea, she would dress in her running clothes, grab her iPod, and hit the mountain trails. The trails were level, short, and easy to navigate. She never considered that predators might lurk outside the urban areas she was trying to escape. He was a young man, in his thirties, addicted to methamphetamine. Desperate for more while walking blindly through neighborhoods, he followed the affluent-looking woman into the woods. He waited until she reached a lake with a waterfall, then shot her twice in the back of the head. She never knew he was there. A life exchanged for fifteen dollars in cash and a credit card he only got a few hundred out of. He was never caught, and he blended into the rest of addicted society, living his unremarkable life. After being thrown into the lake, her body washed downstream, through some rapids from a recent storm, and into a pool that soon froze over and was covered with snow. A fallen tree dislodged her many seasons later, her long, delicate radius ending up here, the ribbon from her hair caught among some lichen.

2015
He owned these woods for eighty years. Knew them and the wildlife like the back of his hand. He’d sit outside his makeshift cabin and whittle, breathing in the scent of life that was the blue planet itself. He played a wooden flute his father had carved. “Claire de la Lune” was his favorite, sometimes “Syrinx”, though sometimes he would play Bach’s “Partita in A Minor” for his late wife, Agathe. The grizzly had been stalking him for days, and the old man’s senses weren’t what they had been. He never heard the great beast move behind him, didn’t see the shadow on the ground or feel the rough, ragged breath on the back of his neck. Only felt the pain when claws met flesh, when jaws rent tendons and muscle and bone. The bear dragged him to a den. When all the scraps were gone, his skull, mandible still intact, now set upon by birds and small animals of the forest, rolled down a hill and rested here. The flute he played, in his pocket that day, lies there too. And so the man becomes the mountain. Jagged and broken, but home.

Fiction © Copyright Ashley Davis
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

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Poetry by Ashley Davis can be found featured in the fall 2017 issue of
The Horror Zine

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Milk and Moonshine, by Mercedes M. Yardley @MercedesMY @PenoftheDamned #flash #fiction #pain #horror @Sotet_Angyal

A beautifully horrific piece of prose from Mercedes M. Yardly, member of PenoftheDamned.com

Milk and Moonshine
Mercedes M. Yardley

She was cursed with a fairness that strangled her. Expectations woven into her dark hair, an openness and roundness to her eyes that filled her with horror. They were too pale, too pure, too winsome to protect her. Terrors poured in while tears poured out. Hate and bile ran through her veins, but when her white skin tore prettily, nothing oozed out but healthy scarlet.

“What is your name?” they asked. Townspeople. Sweet old women. Starry-eyed men, lads whose bones were made of milk and oatmeal.

Pestilence. Famine. Hatred. Murder, she answered, but the words changed inside of her mouth, left her soft, dewy lips like starlight.

“My name is Orva. It means ‘golden one’,” she said aloud, and blushed demurely.

She grew up with a boy name Jorge. His last name meant ‘meadow’, and he was just like a meadow himself, with soft and gentle hands. He caught animals in his traps, whispering sweetly in their ears as he twisted their necks or slit their throats. He skinned them, his beautiful hands slick and red, and this is how he helped feed their village.

“This is for you,” he told her once, as tender as new teens, and handed her a stole of rabbit fur. He wrapped it carefully around her shoulders.

“Thank you,” she said, and smiled charmingly, then tried to slash her wrists on the knife at his belt.  Her eyes merely flicked toward it, instead.

“I’m sorry that I have to use such a thing,” Jorge said. “I hope it doesn’t disgust you.”

She looked him in the eyes and took his hand. For the first and last time in her life, her lips said exactly what was in her heart.

“Jorge, some things need to be. And you’re so tender with them while you do it. I’ve never seen such kindness.”

She saw the light in his eyes, and knew what it meant. Over the years, she never saw it go out.

Orva tried to shriek for help, to scream in rage, but her voice was so dulcet. So small. It tinkled like bells. Charming. Merry. She ran to the elder in town. Told him what she thought of him, of the oppressive ideals and the spin-and-twirl roll that she played. She told him that his mother was a hag and he himself a goat, and she wished he was dead. That they’d die. That the entire village would burn and be pillaged and everybody, including herself, raped and murdered and scattered about in pieces.

The words escaped her cupid bow lips and turned to honey. She heard herself laughing with pure joy. Praising his robe. Musing about the darling shape of the clouds. He patted her cheek and told her to go gather wildflowers in her skirt. To plait them in her hair, like the good girl her Mama had always wished for.

“Wishes sometimes come true,” the elder said knowingly, and something passed across his eyes like clouds. Stardust and magic.

Orva obediently skipped off, and cried the entire way.

Her tears were pearls, and made the town rich. They were sewn into bridal veils and fine dresses that she refused to wear, except that her sweet mouth could make no such refusal.

… read the rest on PenoftheDamned.com

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

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!


Doll
by Asena Lourenco

Trapped inside a mirror with shattered bits of glass

Knowing no one remembers my wicked, evil past

As dark as night, and as evil as Hell

Betrayed and banished from all Earth

And sent to the Demon realm

As I fall even further into the never-ending ditch

I eye many creatures, Wizard, Demon, Witch

They float by as I am chained up and put against a wall

And here I am still to this day, frozen like a doll.

Fiction © Copyright Asena Lourenco
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

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More about Asena Lourenco:

Asena Lourenco is 11 years old. She loves reading, playing Scottish traditional fiddle music on her violin, dancing, and martial arts as well as writing her own stories.

She would like to be a teacher and writer when she grows up. She also loves cats and babies!

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The Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author Elizabeth Massie @ElizabethMassie @Sotet_Angyal #LoH #fiction

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!

Smiles
by Elizabeth Massie

Charming, cheerful, lovely, sweet,
Radiant smiles for all to see,
Arms that gather yellow blooms,
Mother, housewife, lover, me.
Fluff your pillows, make you laugh,
Mend your clothes and bake your bread
Tie your shoelace, run your bath,
Wash the windows, make your bed.
Did you know her? now they ask,
Blue lights flashing, piercing, bright,
As I stand and smile my smile
In the heavy, blood-stained night.
Pretty up the living room,
Dust your dresser, press your shirt,
Don my lacy scarf and shawl,
Bind your bodies, make you hurt.
Did you know her? Is she mad?
As the neighbors stare at me.
‘Neath my perfect, lovely skin,
If they had the eyes to see,
Oh, the skull that lives within,
Made me kill them, made me sin.
Fiction © Copyright Elizabeth Massie
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com 

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More from Elizabeth Massie:

It, Watching

Turn, and you see nothing.
But it is surely there.
Watching…

Enter a dark, terrifying world where it’s best to watch where you’re going, to keep a sharp look out, to be very careful. A world where a cheap, traveling circus keeps its darkest secret in the rear of a trailer. Where garden gnomes and ventriloquist dummies plan revenge. Where ignorance is hardly bliss. Where a visit to Grandmother’s house takes a horrifying turn. Where a doctor plays with the sanity of his underling. Where toothed creatures live and follow in the shadows. Where kids who ignore their mamas find trouble in an old oak tree. Where curiosity kills more than the cat.

It, Watching is Bram Stoker Award-winning author Elizabeth Massie’s long-awaited seventh collection of horror short stories. It offers tales of dread, suspense, terror, mystery, and an occasional touch of humor. The stories span Massie’s thirty-three year writing career, with goodies her readers may have missed as well as some brand new tales.

Cover art by Cortney Skinner

Available on Amazon!

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