The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
She was to be sent to the outside world. There was no escaping it, no argument to be listened to. Many had gone before her and now it was her time.
Still, she couldn’t help but ask “Mightn’t I stay with you, Mother? After all, I am small-“
“Better to sow fear, little nightmare,” She replied. There was no title, no proper name. Human terror of her had long ago stripped her of such pleasantries, and the million paranoias she birthed to petrify them with only knew her as mother. She allowed herself a quiet smile that hid razor teeth, just as gentle eyes hid black intentions and horrific thoughts. “Better to lure the unsuspecting in their dreams and pummel their souls until they are ripe for the feasting.”
“You’ve had your lessons. You’ve sat at my side and listened to the old stories of how mankind cowered before the shadows until they went mad.” The Mother’s voice was sharp, allowing for no argument. “You are little, but that means they will foolishly let you in, thinking you the stuff of sweet dreams and memories. You are ruthless and sharp. I’ve seen you murder your litter mates and laugh as you played in their blood, eat them from the inside out and laugh. It is your time, my darling. Make the humans fear what they don’t know is out there again, and you shall be back at my side soon enough.”
“Yes, mother,” she sighed, and held herself up to her full height. Shaking out her flame hair that was pleasing to so many eyes, running a self-conscious hand over her face. In a blurred haze, she was gone, off to the mortal realm to fight the never-ending war as the eldest terror fluttered her wings and smiled.
Fiction © Copyright Selah Janel
Image courtesy of Marge Simon
More from Author Selah Janel:
Kingdom City has moved into the modern era. Run by a lord mayor and city council (though still under the influence of the High King of The Land), it proudly embraces a blend of progress and tradition. Trolls, ogres, and other Folk walk the streets with humans, but are more likely to be entrepreneurs and own start-up companies than they are to cause trouble. Maidens gather to flirt with charming shepherds, but also buy up merchandise about their favorite famous princesses. Despite progress, the old ideals linger. Princesses still want to be rescued, but they now frequent online dating services to encourage lords, royals, and politicians to win their favor. Crones still sell herbs to guarantee good childbirths or true love, but now they have to cross toll bridges to get to the meadows and forests they favor. The old stories are around, but everyone knows they’re just for fun and act as fodder for the next movie franchise. No one really takes them seriously. Everyone knows those tales aren’t true, just like everyone knows that there’s no such thing as magic. It’s all old superstition and harmless tradition. Guarding a bridge is a pretty traditional way for a troll to make a living, but Paddlelump Stonemonger is far from a traditional troll. Bookish, timid, and more likely to carry a laptop than a weapon, Padd is quickly coming to wish he’d never put a toll bridge over Crescent Ravine. While his success has brought him lots of gold, it’s also brought him a lot of unwanted attention, especially from the Lord Mayor. To make matters worse, good help is hard to find, as the maids and serving wenches now have unions. It’s enough to overwhelm any businesstroll. Even Padd’s oldest friends give him a hard time when his new maid seems inept at best and conniving at worst. So when a shepherd warns Paddlelump of strange noises coming from Thadd Forest at night, the troll doesn’t think much of it. The land has been in his family for generations, and as the first troll to do much with it, he has bigger things to worry about. Unfortunately for him, the history of his land goes back further than anyone can imagine. Before long he’ll realize that he should have paid attention to the old tales and carried a club. Darkness threatens to overwhelm not only Paddlelump, but the entire realm. With a little luck, a strange bird, a feisty waitress, and some sturdy friends, maybe, just maybe, Padd will survive to eat another meal at Trip Trap’s diner, or at least avoid being dinner for something else. It’s enough to make the well-intentioned troll want to crawl under his bridge, if he can manage to keep it out of the clutches of greedy politicians. Olde School is Book One of The Kingdom City Chronicles.
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.