The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
Say Hi to the Man
by Lori Safranek
“Mommy, mommy!” her son called from far away.
Nancy was changing a flat on her old clunker, a gray 1995 Ford Taurus that was the only thing she could afford when her last piece of junk car died.
“Mom!” Tanner shouted again.
Finally it dawned on his mother just how far away he sounded. She stood up quickly and looked around. Of course she’d get stranded right in the middle of the damn swamp, with Tanner along. He moved like a dragonfly, flitting from place to place, nearly impossible to catch up with. The swamp smell, green and rotten and earthy and wet, always scared Nancy, and with the heat, the scent was intense.
And there was her six-year-old, standing on the old, crumbling bridge looking down on the fetid water below.
“Tanner, get off that bridge right now!” she screamed, already running toward him. How had he wandered so far away? The spare was still inside the trunk; she was still working on getting the lug nuts loose. Tanner was waving her on, a big smile on his face.
“C’mon, Mom, someone’s waving at me!” he said with all the delight of any kid making a new friend. Nancy groaned. Damn, Tanner, stranger danger! Didn’t you listen to me when I warned you?
She finally reached her boy and tugged him away from the edge of the bridge. She gave him a quick hug when she saw his crestfallen look.
“Head on back and keep an eye on the car, Tanner. I’ll say hi to this man, okay?”
The smile was back and Tanner the dragonfly flitted back toward the car, intent on another adventure.
Nancy peered over the edge of the bridge.
The water under the bridge was nearly covered with green algae. The smell hit her first and she wrinkled her nose. Then she saw the waving hand.
It was sticking out of the water. Just that one hand, waving gently, like a bit of reed, swaying with the breeze and the movement of the quiet waves. The hand was black and dark green, decayed. Even from this distance, Nancy could see a dull metallic ring around the third finger of the hand.
Nancy sighed and her shoulders drooped.
Damn, he’s back.
Fiction © Copyright Lori Safranek
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from Lori Safrenek:
Freak Show is a collection of short stories based on the adventures of performers from Steiners Freak Show, a traveling circus side show. Steiner carefully selects his freaks so that they are genuinely blessed with real talents, none of his performers are fakes! From the lovely young Snake Charmer to the Tattooed Man whose tattoos fade away and relocate themselves on his body, every single one is the real thing! And Steiner’s family of freaks run into some frightening adventures that bring them near death! This isn’t some barker’s come on, folks, this is the real thing. Come to the freak show and see what happens after the sideshow closes!