The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
“Twelve degrees starboard, Larakin,” ordered Captain Stilskin. “There’s a hovel on the hill looks promising.”
“Aye, aye, Cap’n.” The mate turned a brass crank, and the complex system of gears powering the steerage of the island meshed to start the whole of it into a ponderous turn.
Stilskin stepped to the edge of the island, looking out over the sea of clouds that billowed around them. The sun was beginning its dying arc, and the clouds were gold and bronze.
This was his favorite time to pounce, at the dying of the day when distances got hazy and children grew careless trying to squeeze out one more round of tag or one more game of hide and seek.
The bright sound of laughter rose through the air to the island from the hovel on the hill. Yes! A pack of laughing children spilled out of the shack and danced down the sides of the hill.
A pretty little red-haired girl in a torn smock caught the captain’s eye.
“That one, Larakin. I’ll have that one.”
The goblin strapped on his steam apparatus and jumped off the side of the island. The whirligig attached to the top of the device began to spin, and he maneuvered until he was right over the girl’s head. With a swooping dive, he snatched her up and was back into the clouds again before she had time to scream.
“Excellent work, Larakin!” the captain cried. “Put her with the others for now.”
Larakin nodded and shoved the struggling child before him until they reached the crumbling ruin that was the island’s only structure. He took a huge brass key from his shirt and unlocked the door to the cellar.
“In you go, dearie,” he ordered, giving the girl a push.
That made a dozen in the cell. The goblin horde would eat well this month.
“Let’s go home, Larakin,” called the captain.
“Aye, aye, sir.”
With another ponderous turn, the island headed for its mooring. The hunt was done for now.
Fiction © Copyright Rie Sheridan Rose
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from Author Rie Sheridan Rose:
“I have always preferred the supernatural in tales of horror, the knot between life and death. Rie Sheridan Rose’s Skellyman is cool and creepy. Her first horror novel is a chilling read.” — Charlee Jacob – Stoker winner, Best novel, “Dread in the Beast”
Brenda Barnett is trying to cope with raising her four-year-old daughter all alone after an accident tore her family in half. As she and Daisy go for a much-needed treat, the little girl spots a Skellyman on the corner.
This pivotal encounter leads to a wave of mounting terror as Brenda’s life begins to come undone around her. Who is the Skellyman? Why does he keep appearing? Can the sympathetic policeman Brenda turns to stop the madness before it is too late?
And why does Daisy insist that her dead brother is trying to tell them something important?