The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
The cinderblocks were plain, smudged with
daily grime. A blank canvas
for thoughts and imaginings. A slate
to bounce reveries like rubber balls that might
shoot off into space, seldom caught.
I would trudge past without seeing the wall —
or the wall seeing me.
Allowed to go by in a walking coma,
tuned out of the world and its dramas.
The old wall never demanded attention.
Now it’s gone. Painted overnight by
a faceless anonymous tagger.
None of the sidewalk or passing regulars saw who,
which was a singular feat.
A sleight of brush or spraycan. Street magic.
Not the type of grandstand illusion staged
for cameras and crowd. A subtle shocking
whammy-esque stunt we were left to deal with
out of the blue . . . or wherever it came from.
This isn’t the usual clandestine graffiti.
The mystery mural stares at us, full of itself,
an arcane unblinking work of art.
A cold rapt scrutiny that holds a viper’s fascination,
yet the hypnotized victim sways instead of
the serpent. Appraising; a vision of scorn.
Watching us with microscopic interest.
A camera lens peering with purpose.
Inspecting, dissecting. A creepy auteur.
The kind of eye that follows you.
I’m not the only one to notice, in discreet
peripheral glances because you can’t
meet it dead-on.
You can’t stare back.
An aura, almost a stench of wickedness
exudes. Blatant and bold.
Stark and detached. Emotionless.
Belligerent. Silent. Unholy or psychotic.
Mainly we avoid it, scurrying heads down
with hasty strides. Feeling foolish. Hysterical.
Aware of the danger: a vile unspoken threat.
But it cannot be ignored however hard we try!
Paranoid, I’ve begun to feel it is able to view us
from a distance. Voyeuristic. Telepathic.
An omniscient observer . . .
I cannot get rid of this eerie sensation.
At night the Evil Eye glowers through a veil
when my lids are closed.
It hovers, shining, prominent, otherworldly.
Turning fantasies to nightmares.
My dreams are becoming devious —
unreasonably treacherous and fraught with perils.
No longer can I trust the twilight in my skull.
Hating whoever defiled that
commonplace nondescript surface,
I plot in secrecy to remove its stain.
Planning in my head furtive acts of rebellion
against the Dark Forces. Armed with
cans of Turpentine, a rag, marching to war,
I will confront the menace.
Keeping a hat tipped low to block
that intrusive penetrating gaze;
darting in a crouch, gallons sloshing,
I covertly approached from the side.
Taking it by surprise, the way it took us.
I spilled and splashed the reeking fluid
then rubbed and scrubbed to no effect . . .
That miserable orb beamed triumphant!
Unaltered. Not even a streak.
The next day I showed up with cans
of thick paint. The good stuff.
Durable. Waterproof. I wasn’t taking chances.
Predictably it fought back, weeping,
washing off the wet white coats
faster than I could brush them on.
The paint bubbled and ran. It wouldn’t stick.
Drops ran down like tears. At least
I made it cry.
Next I brought a flask of Holy Water
and blessed the wall. Hoping
to remove the curse. It glared, possessed,
malicious. A chilling condemnation.
So I must ask you for a favor,
to bear witness. I will grant this Eye
exactly what it seeks!
In case I turn to stone . . .
if my own eyes are burned to coal
or vacant sockets . . .
please spread the word.
Warn the cops, my family and friends.
I can’t or they would try to keep me
from the desperation I must attempt
while knowing there is no hope,
as surely as there is no choice.
At least the badges will be forced
to investigate —
once I am the first to blink.
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.