The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
Night in the City
by Sheri White
The gargoyles around the city never bothered Maggie. When the other kids in her apartment building would tell each other creepy stories about the gargoyles coming to life at night and flying around to look into their windows, Maggie would cover her ears like her friends did.
But Maggie loved the gargoyles perched above the city. She felt they watched over her, keeping her safe from the real monsters that prowled the dark alleys in her neighborhood. Maggie heard horrible things at night – screams, gunshots, sirens that seemed to go on until morning. Sometimes she’d look out her bedroom window, trying to see what was happening, even though her mother told her never to move her curtains at night.
“There are others out there who want to hurt you, Maggie. Who want to hurt us. Since Daddy isn’t here to protect us, we must do whatever we can to keep safe at night. Stay away from the windows and don’t turn your bedroom light on. You can keep the nightlight.”
“Who wants to hurt us, Mama? And why?”
“Never mind. You just do what I tell you.”
Maggie liked to look out her window before it got dark because of the building across the street. Several gargoyles sat hunched over, observing the city. Maggie liked the one right across from her bedroom. She would whisper good night as the sun went down, knowing it would protect her from harm.
Maggie bolted upright in her bed, her heart beating wildly in her chest.
She clutched her doll tightly, listening to the silence in the apartment. Screams suddenly rang out in the living room.
“Maggie, lock your door! Now!”
Maggie scrambled out of bed and ran to her door. Before she could reach it, the door busted open. She could see her mother on the floor in the living room, crumpled in a bloody heap. Her eyes met Maggie’s, then closed for the last time.
Something ran through the shadows into the room, and shoved Maggie hard enough to slam her into the window. She pressed her palms against the glass as sharp claws slowly slid down her back, easily slicing through her nightgown, drawing beads of blood along her spine.
Maggie looked at her gargoyle through tear-filled eyes. Help me, she whispered. She desperately gasped for air as a tentacle squeezed around her body. Another claw sliced her throat. She closed her eyes as life left her young body.
Come, child. You will be safe now.
Maggie smiled as she flew through the night on the back of her gargoyle, the flapping of its wings matching the last beats of Maggie’s heart.
Fiction © Copyright Sheri White
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from Author Selah Janel:
This is a superb collection of horror art, poetry, flash fiction and short stories.