The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
A Lion in Spring
by Mary Ann Peden-Coviello
In the dappled shade thrown by an acacia tree, a mighty lion lies patiently waiting. He yawns, displaying his sharp, yellow fangs, his tongue curling. He appears, to the unwary, to be lazing away this spring afternoon with nothing on his mind but the sensuous, sensual curve of his favorite lioness’ left hip.
As the sun sets, the scent of zebra tickles the lion’s nostrils. He opens his mouth and tastes the tantalizing fragrance on the air. Hunger, asleep in his belly for hours, awakens and nudges him with its sharp elbows.
Silent as death in the moonlight, the lion leads his pride onto the Serengeti plain, tawny flanks invisible against the yellowed grasses. He leaps and pulls down a zebra mare. His jaws clamp onto her throat and suffocate her while his claws rip apart her striped body, red blood flowing onto the black and white.
High above, like the cry of an eagle, a call pierces the night. The lion shakes his head, blood and bits of zebra flying in all directions. He’s the Lord of the Serengeti and yields to no one. The call floats across the sky again. Mouth full of zebra flesh, the lion growls a warning.
“There you are, Fluffy! Playing with your toy zebra again?” The woman snatches up the ginger tabby and drags the tattered plush zebra out of the cat’s mouth. Ignoring the swish of his unhappy tail, the woman snuggles her pet against her throat.
Echoes of the play dream linger in his mind. For a moment, he sees himself tearing out the pulse at the side of her neck and gnawing through to her spine.
“Would my Fluffy like a treat?”
At the T-word, the magnificent lion sighs and pads away into the silence.
Until next time.
Fiction © Copyright Mary Ann Peden-Coviello
Image courtesy of Marge Simon
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.
About the Artist, Marge Simon:
A writer-artist since the mid-1980’s, Marge Simon has illustrated numerous poetry collections for Sam’s Dot Publications/Alban Lake; as well as multiple print magazines. She illustrated covers and interiors of every issue of Niteblade (Rhonda Parrish, editor). Currently she illustrates for Lorelei Signal, Carol Hightshoe, editor. Check out her art galleries at www.margesimon.com
Marge is also one of the Ladies of Horror who writes for this challenge.