The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
by Stacey Turner
Adelaide lifted the lantern higher, hoping to see farther ahead. The night was pitch black and the forest dark. Misty fog hung low, further obscuring the path. She clutched her cloak tightly, trying to stave off the chill autumn breeze that blew the leaves from the trees. They crunched under her feet, echoing loudly in the otherwise silent night. She cursed herself for a fool. Why had she tarried so long at Millicent’s house? She knew why, of course. Millicent’s brother, Benjamin, had recently returned from the war, and she’d basked in his company. How she’d missed him! There was sure to be a proposal soon. But first, she must get home. She stilled, holding her breath. Up ahead, the leaves crunched under footsteps, and she knew she wasn’t alone on the path. She pressed a hand to her mouth, trying not to cry out. There could be nothing to fear, could there? She knew this path like the back of her hand, even in the dark. And there were few predators of the animal variety around here. She squared her shoulders, and continued down the path. She must get home. She hurried her pace. The crunching ahead stopped, and she could hear a boy’s voice speaking, but couldn’t understand his words. As she drew closer, she realized it was a boy and a girl, dressed as a boy, standing, staring at her, mouths agape. The boy held a strange square object awkwardly in his hand. She felt a shiver of fear race down her spine and she began to run. She was still looking back when she crashed into the solid bulk of a man who’d stepped from the trees.
“Ohmigod! There it is!” Jessie grabbed Eli’s arm in fear.
“Hey!” he whispered harshly. “Let go! Damn, if I’d known you were going to be such a girl about this, I’d have never invited you.”
Jessie punched him, hard, on the arm. “I am a girl, jerk wad.” She crossed her arms. “Anyhow, I’m not scared, just excited. I didn’t think the stories were true. Did you?”
Eli was still rubbing his arm; Jessie hit hard. “No, not really. I thought it was just folklore. But this is awesome footage.” He indicated the handheld digital recorder he had pointed at the light shining up ahead. Flipping the camera around, he peered seriously at the lens. “What you’ve just seen is the fabled ‘Lantern Light’ of Ghost Hollow Road. The glowing orb is said to come from a lantern held high by Miss Adelaide Schaeffer, who was murdered on this spot in 1865 while returning from a friend’s house in town. Miss Adelaide was the only daughter of Heinrich Schaeffer, who owned a farm about two miles down the road. Since that time, the ghost of Adelaide, as evidenced by the radiance you’ve just witnessed, is supposed to re-enact her unfinished walk home every year on the anniversary of her death.” He flipped the camera back around to show the beam drawing ever closer.
Jessie and Eli froze as the light came abreast of them. Illuminated softly by the spill of lantern’s glow, they saw a woman, dressed in the fashion of a long ago era, turn her head to stare at them as she passed. Whatever she saw made her quicken her pace. She ran about five feet before the light winked out suddenly, as though someone had hit an “off” switch.
Fiction © Copyright Stacey Turner
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from author Stacey Turner:
Morbid Metamorphosis: Terrifying Tales of Transformation
Metamorphosis occurs every day as caterpillars become sweet fluttering butterflies, tadpoles become gorgeous frog princes and chameleons become one with the beauty of nature – but you won’t find any of that here.
The transformations you’re about to witness are unnatural, sometimes gruesome and deeply psychological. They will make you question reality and take your mind places it was never meant to go.
Terrifying Tales of Transformation from Greg Chapman * Roy C. Booth & R. Thomas Riley * Terri DelCampo * Dave Gammon * Nancy Kilpatrick * Rod Marsden * Jo-Anne Russell * M.J. Preston * Stacey Turner * Tina Piney * Suzanne Robb * Franklin E. Wales * Donna Marie West * Suzie Lockhart * Cameron Trost * Daniel I. Russell * Simon Dewar * Amanda J. Spedding * Ken MacGregor * Erin Shaw * Gregory L. Norris * Nickolas Furr
Issue #40 of The Sirens Call – As Summer Leaves, Autumn Falls
Stories of disaster influenced by horrific intent.
Whether it be Mother Nature’s wrath or a devilish ghoul, a sprite most wicked or a stumbling fool, tell us a tale of disaster that happens as summer ends and autumn begins.
We are looking for stories, flash fiction and poetry of horrific happenings that take place in the summer months that lead into fall. As long as the piece is primarily horror/dark fiction, we’d love to see it!
Your piece can be creepy, sullen, emotive, freaky, elegant, bizarre, have a dark-humor edge to it, or simply be flat out scary as hell!
REPRINTS ARE WELCOME
Submission Deadline: August 10, 2018
Circulation: Approximately 35,000
Full page/single book cover ads for individual authors are available at $10 per ad. Please contact Nina@SirensCallPublications.com for advertising information.
All short story, flash, and poem submissions MUST be submitted to: Submissions@SirensCallPublications.com for consideration.
Visit our web site for more details: SirensCallPub.com