The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
by Mary Ann Peden-Coviello
“This place is loaded with potential.” The realtor blathers some happy thoughts at the couple she’s lured into my living room.
Really? We’ll see about that. No one’ll buy me. I won’t let them.
“It’s kind of a wreck, isn’t it?” Husband looks around, checking out the damage from the fire.
“Look at the lovely proportions, honey.”
Wife’s a little gusher, isn’t she?
I breathe out a whiff of smoke. The realtor and Husband cough. Wife, though, lights up with an inner glow.
Uh oh. She sees me.
Crap, a psychic.
Wife steps to the fireplace, lays a gentle hand on my mantle, murmurs, “You poor thing. What happened to you?”
Spitefully, I show her. Show my little girl burning on that very hearth, screaming. Show her parents dying in their attempt to save our darling girl.
Wife gasps and clutches her throat.
“What’s wrong, babe?” Husband puts his arm around Wife’s shoulders. She presses her face against his chest.
All righty, then, done. Out you go.
“A tragedy occurred here.” Wife stares at the realtor from the safety of Husband’s arms.
“Yes, a family died in a fire.” The realtor flushes. “The house is supposed to be haunted. Isn’t that silly? I mean, really, haunted? Who could believe that?”
Wife looks around. Looks at me – right at me – and says to Husband, “Honey, would you go outside and get Dianna from the sitter?”
Husband leaves, muttering something under his breath. I don’t care what he says. I’m focused on Wife.
“No, this isn’t a haunted house. It’s a sad one. It couldn’t protect the family it loved from the fire. It’s a grieving house.”
The realtor gives Wife such a look. So skeptical. I consider dropping a rafter on the realtor. Husband returns with the Girl. I fall in love in an instant.
Both Mother and Girl look up at me and truly see me. They smile.
Husband and the realtor don’t matter anymore. Mother and Girl do. They see me.
Fiction © Copyright Mary Ann Peden-Coviello
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from Mary Ann Peden-Coviello:
Women write horror and have written it since before Mary Shelley wrote FRANKENSTEIN. This anthology is to highlight the fact women write great horror and to kill the fallacy that they aren’t in some way up to standard. They are. Read here stories by Elizabeth Massie, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Lucy Taylor, and a plethora of other great writers as they work on your nerves, get inside your head, and bang out some of the scariest tales written today. I’m proud to present these women for your consideration, as Rod Serling might say, as I ask you to step into FRIGHT MARE. Lock the door and windows, put on a light, and remember, it’s not real. It’s not real. Midnight awaits, monsters scheme to take you away, the strange and weird wait in the shadows, but it’s not real. Is it?
Edited by Billie Sue Mosiman, the author who brought you the SINISTER-TALES OF DREAD collections and her latest suspense novel, THE GREY MATTER.