The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
They put the children in boxes
so they wouldn’t grow.
That’s how it felt. Confined by
edges of plastic, metal, glass.
Sealed inside; held by invisible bars.
Prisoners convicted of no crime,
locked in rooms like a punishment,
as if we did something wrong.
It wasn’t our fault
the world transformed overnight.
We were more concerned
than adults in protecting it.
Preventing tragedy, an epic global
disaster. Too late.
They did it this time.
Families divided, segregated by
numbers. Only age fifteen and older
counted. If you had no digits
you were rounded up,
hunted and chased down,
shoved in a box.
We called ourselves The Zeros.
Defined by a mocking label.
Not coolness, or clothing, or culture.
A lost generation, we inhabit
Broken radios and televisions.
Clocks. Computers. Gumball machines.
Video-games in silent arcades.
The washers, fridges, freezers, ovens
that no longer work since
All of it. The whole shebang
went kablooey, you might say.
If you’re a Fogy.
Our name for the others.
We didn’t know it then
but we died.
There was a blast, a huge jolt.
It shook the planet
and ground Technology to a halt.
Society changed to a charred state
of suspension. It wasn’t full-scale
annihilation. Just us kids.
Animals, birds and fish.
The Apocalypse came without warning.
I was eating a bowl of cereal
and peach slices, almond milk.
My last memory till I de-materialized
or whatever. Shed my skin,
turned into a Forever Young.
Our spirits ran free
and they didn’t care for it —
because it reminded them
of how much they once had,
how much they sacrificed,
and how trapped they were
in the belief
that they still mattered . . .
The rules are different.
In a way they’re as caged as
we are, forced to obey,
bow and toil.
The human herd.
That thing that happened,
the surge of force caused by
a monstrous error,
was pretty catastrophic to us
and destroyed most species.
Yet it made the Bug World evolve.
Smarter. Stronger. Larger.
Beetles and flies and worms,
moths and fleas, bees and wasps
control the brains of those
who live and breathe,
manipulating people like puppets on strings.
Directing them like drones to construct
Dig their tunnels, build their nests,
guard their eggs.
Raise their Larva, Nymph, or Naiad stages.
Collect their food, provide blood and tissue.
Train as soldiers and fight their wars.
Mankind is enslaved to their Queens,
I watch through the screen of an old T.V.
In a way I serve them too,
as entertainment. We ghosts are
easily dazzled by insect frequencies,
drawn to hums and chirps, their buzz.
We were put here by our parents.
We are kept here by less-intelligent legions
who make us dance, sing, chant,
wail or weep for their pleasure.
Our souls are not at liberty to resist.
So thanks a lot.
You never listened, Mom and Dad.
Big Brother and Sis.
You never thought this could happen,
did you? Seldom pausing
to consider the future . . .
how chains of actions and reactions
shape history, the universe.
Refusing to accept a ration of blame.
Now I witness your dinosaur tears,
your worries and frights and despairs
from a dead child’s perspective.
And still we missed you.
We ached and sobbed,
willing to forgive, willing to go back
to how things were with
your kind in charge.
Awaiting our chances to lead
and decide. Hoping to do better;
at least some of us.
The rest, carbon copies,
were exactly like many of you.
One-sided marchers, caught up
in your own Doomsday Parades —
when what truly mattered
was under your noses and feet
Fiction © Copyright Lori R. Lopez
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from Lori R. Lopez:
A rich gathering of poetry with a dismal twilight atmosphere, a brooding nature, an eerie tone . . . DARKVERSE: THE SHADOW HOURS encompasses such pieces written by Lori R. Lopez between 2009 and 2017, collected in three of her Poetic Reflections volumes along with humorous and serious verse. This ample compendium allows a more focused reading experience and mood — presenting poems that share speculative themes, flashes of horror, glimpses of madness.
Lori is the author of THE DARK MISTER SNARK, LEERY LANE, MONSTROSITIES, AN ILL WIND BLOWS, THE FAIRY FLY, CHOCOLATE-COVERED EYES, JAR BABY, SAMHAIN, 3-Z, and SPIDER SOUP, among other tales. She has been called a storyteller, whether composing verse or prose.
The aim of her DARKVERSE series is to offer a chilling trek through unlit stretches where all manner of creeps and kooks may lurk; where graveyards and bogs and full-moons abound. The pages of THE SHADOW HOURS illuminate those morbid uncanny perils and dreads that inhabit drab corners, the known and unknown terrors of the night. Vivid and distinct, her voice echoes our worst fears then delves beyond, exposing hitherto unimaginable frights.
Prepare to confront a motley array of ghouls and menaces that might just move under your bed.
Look for an Illustrated Print Edition with quirky art by the author.