The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
by Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi
Death thinks it owns me,
but it only comes for me.
In the nights under the giant
oak tree when I sit in the quiet,
chill air pondering life.
Or when I’m walking in
the early mornings,
soaking in the sunrise
and writing poetry in my mind.
Sometimes as I run from the
ticking bomb of stress,
driving my car with the windows
down, wind rustling my long
hair into knots.
It harasses me when I’m reading late
and need to flip the pages backward
to read passages again,
because thoughts of inadequacy
creep inside and won’t leave me.
At the lake, walking on the pier,
it lingers at times so that my
stomach’s queasiness at the depth
of water wafts over like waves
crashing against my soul.
In the forest, when branches
and leaves crunch under my feet,
the solitude lifts the dirt of trauma
from the earth and exposes weakness
If I go to the bustling noise of the city,
it watches from hillsides,
knowing its fingers and hands
can reach into any nook and cranny
and stifle momentum with one breath
to the nape of my neck.
Its shadow hovers and waits,
taps my shoulder, gives me anxiety,
and is an obsessive stalker lining up
to the rhythm of my footsteps.
Incessant whispers come
like tendrils of smoke and
weave stealthily among the
memories flashing like slides in
I can feel Death’s gray cloak
grace my feet even though I
can’t see it, and in so many places,
in times of dark and light,
it mirrors me.
And yet, its presence inspires me to live
fuller, faster, and without limits,
and I laugh as it loiters by my gravesite,
sitting under the canopy
of an even larger oak tree,
picking petals off the roses it brings me.
Fiction © Copyright Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi:
Breathe. Breathe. is a collection of dark poetry and short fiction exploring the surreal depths of humanity. It’s a representation of how life breaks us apart and words put us back together. Purged onto the pages, dark emotions flow, urging readers into murky seas and grim forests, to the fine line between breathing and death.In Act One, readers are presented with a serial killer in Victorian London, a lighthouse keeper with an eerie legacy, a murderous spouse that seems to have walked right out of a mystery novel, and a treacherous Japanese lady who wants to stay immortal. The heightened fears in the twilight of your minds will seep into the blackest of your nights, where you have to breathe in rhythm to stay alive.
In Act Two, the poetry turns more internal and pierces through the wall of denial and pain, bringing visceral emotions to the surface unleashing traumas such as domestic abuse, violence, and illness.
In the short stories, you’ll meet residents of Valhalla Lane whose lives are on a violent parallel track to collision, a man who is driven mad by the sound of a woodpecker, a teenage girl who wakes up on the beach and can’t find another soul in sight, a woman caught in a time shift pitting her against the Egyptian goddess Anuket, and a little girl whose whole world changes when her favorite dandelion yellow crayon is discontinued.
Amid these pages the haunting themes of oppression, isolation, revenge, and madness unfold through folklore, nightmares, and often times, raw, impulsive passion crafted to sear from the inside out.
With a touching foreword by the Bram Stoker nominated author Brian Kirk, Breathe. Breathe. will at times unsettle you, and at times embrace you. Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi, a veteran writer and editor of the written word, offers up a mixed set of pieces, identifying her as a strong, new voice in dark fiction that will tear the heart from your chest, all the while reminding you to breathe.