The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
Lily woke up from her nap, disoriented and groggy. Her room was dark, but she had fallen asleep at 2pm, while the sun was still strong in the sky.
Crap, how long did I sleep? I’ll be late!
She glanced at the clock on her nightstand, but it was only 4:30pm. She got up and approached the window, pulling the curtain aside. Dark clouds filled the sky; whitecaps topped the choppy lake.
Great, a storms coming. That will make getting to work lots of fun.
She grabbed her purse and keys and headed outside to her car. “Damn, it got cold!” She got a jacket out of the trunk, then noticed her neighbor standing on the lake shore, staring at the horizon. She pulled her jacket tightly against herself and crossed the street.
“Jim? Are you okay?”
He turned to Lily, his eyes wide and haunted.
“Did you see? Did you see what happened?”
Lily stepped back, sweating now despite the coldness. She looked at the water, but didn’t see anything unusual for an approaching storm. “No – tell me. What’s going on? It’s just a storm coming, you know that isn’t a big deal.”
The man dropped to his knees and pushed his fists into his eyes. “It was horrible! I can’t… Oh, god!” He sobbed, cramming handfuls of wet sand into his mouth.
Lily screamed, trying to stop the man, but he broke away from her and ran into the lake. Jim turned to look at her, sand spilling from his screaming mouth, falling backwards into the churning water.
He didn’t come back up.
She ran back to her car, sighing in relief when it started up without its usual coaxing. With shaking hands, she dialed 911 on her phone, but nothing happened. She tossed it on the passenger seat and tore out of the neighborhood breaking the boom gate at the security booth. She saw more bodies on the street, as well as a few people who looked as panicked as Lily felt. She slammed on her brakes and rolled down her window.
“What’s happening? What’s going on?” she screamed. But nobody even looked at her. As she watched, a woman ran head-first into a storefront window. Blood spurted onto the glass; the woman’s body twitched and spasmed.
There was nothing on the radio to let Lily know what was happening, only static and hissing. She pushed the car as fast as it could go, occasionally passing another driver doing the same. She didn’t even slow down while driving through the small lake towns along the way, but she was still able to see that whatever was going on, it was happening everywhere. She could see people jumping off buildings, people ramming their heads into brick walls. She thought she saw someone on fire next to a gas pump as she passed a Wawa, but didn’t want to know for sure.
Occasionally she tried her phone, but it didn’t work. She noticed all the traffic lights were dark, and that there were no lights on anywhere. Only an occasional car’s headlights were visible, and a tiny bit of light from the moon illuminated the tree tops.
“Where do I go? Where is it safe? WHAT IS HAPPENING?” she screamed, beating her palm on the steering wheel. She yanked the wheel to the right to avoid an oncoming car, causing it to careen into a tree on the side of the road. The air bag deployed, but she still cracked her head on the driver’s side window.
Lily forced the car door open, sliding through the small opening onto the grass. She crawled onto the bridge ahead of her, the road to the mountains beckoning her as her blood and tears dripped onto the pavement.
Please let me make it to the other side. It must be safe over there. It has to be.
Waves in the water below thrashed and foamed, and cold air penetrated Lily’s jacket, making her shiver. The moon peeked out from the dark clouds, shining down upon the water. She pulled herself up against the bridge rails and watched the water capsize the few sailboats anchored.
It’s beautiful, Lily thought. I wonder if I could… What would happen if I…
Then she screamed and dug her fingernails into her eyes, ripping them from their sockets. She flung herself over the bridge into the churning water.
The clouds covered the sliver of moon, and the world went dark.
Fiction © Copyright Sheri White
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from Author Sheri White:
O little town of Deathlehem,
Within you death doth lie!
Beneath thy deep and rutted streets
Tormented souls do cry.
Yet in your dark streets shineth
A cold and ghostly light.
The fears and tears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight.
Well, here we are again, folks — Deathlehem …
… where Krampus isn’t the only creature to fear
when the holiday draws near…
… where holiday treats aren’t safe to eat …
… where not even the apocalypse will keep
people from celebrating the holiday …
… where even Chanukah isn’t safe to celebrate …
Twenty-five more tales of holiday horror to benefit
The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation