Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author Sheri White @sheriw1965 @Sotet_Angyal #LoH #fiction

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!


Ritual
by Sheri White

Flames.
Chanting.
A man wearing a crimson robe in front of a table, knife blade gleaming in the flickering light.
Snow-white fur stained with red.
Faceless people in black hooded robes.
A cup trimmed with gold thrust in front of him.
“Drink this, Robby.“
“I don’t want to! It’s gross! It came out of the bunny!”
“Drink it!”
The cup is forced to his lips; he chokes on the blood and cries. It dribbles from his mouth, splashing his Mickey Mouse shirt.
SILENCE, BOY!
Rob shot up, drenched with sweat and breathing heavily. The clock showed 4:35am. He glanced over at Maddie, but she was still asleep. He slid out of the sheets and walked to the bathroom, making sure his feet were quiet on the hardwood floor. He tossed cold water on his face, his expression grim in the mirror.
“This has to stop. Maybe it’s time to go back to therapy. I can’t go through these dreams again.”
“Honey, what’s wrong?”
“I’m sorry, Maddie. I had another nightmare.” He rubbed her swollen belly. “You should go back to sleep.”
“I have to get used to not sleeping! Only a few more weeks.” She smiled, kissed and cheek, and went back to bed. He joined her, spooning her as they both drifted off.
***
“So tell me about the dreams, Rob. How long ago did they return?”
“Just the past few weeks.”
Dr. Maven scribbled on her steno pad. “Do you know why they came back? Did something trigger them?”
“I saw my mother at the mall when Maddie and I were shopping for a crib. I was shocked to see her there; I had no idea she lived nearby.”
“You’ve been estranged from her for a long time, haven’t you?”
“Yes, I broke off contact with her fifteen years ago. After my father died, she became crazy religious and started dragging me to weird gatherings in the middle of the night. The people did scary stuff there. I was just a kid, but I remember creepy singing, crying  babies, fire…”
“But your mother – Debra, right?—denied those things happened, didn’t she?”
“I was having horrible nightmares about what happened at those meetings. But she told me I was imagining things. Told me I watched too many horror movies that put crazy ideas in my head. I knew those things were real, though. I can still taste the blood in my mouth when I wake up from a nightmare.”
“I’m sure your previous therapist talked to you about false memories? Like the “Satanic Panic” in the 80s. Kids were certain they had been abused in cult rituals, but it was proven the children had been influenced and not abused.”
“And that is why I am estranged from my mother – she told me I was a victim of the “Satanic Panic,” and to get over it. But I know it happened.” Rob clenched his fists. “I couldn’t trust her nor forgive her for exposing me to such horrific sights. I never will.”
“Okay, Rob. I think it would be a good idea if we discussed this further, try to get to the root of your nightmares –“
He slapped Dr. Maven’s desk. “Weren’t you listening? I know why I have the nightmares! My mother was in some kind of freaky cult and put me through hell!”
“All right. So why exactly are you returning to therapy?”
“I need the nightmares to stop. My wife is due soon and if I don’t get some sleep, I won’t be able to support her.”
“Then for now, I will prescribe a sleep aide so you can get some rest before the baby is born. We can decide how to proceed in a month or two.”
Rob sighed. “Thank you.”
***
“I’m glad you went to therapy today. You actually seem a little more relaxed.” Maddie handed Rob a glass of Merlot, curling up next to him on the couch.
“I guess it helped a little. At least I know I’ll get some sleep tonight. Thanks for picking up the prescription today.”
“I had an OB/GYN appointment anyway. Oh, my midwife – Peggy – said I could go into labor any day now! My cervix is dilating.”
“TMI!” Rob laughed. “But that is great news. I can’t wait to finally meet Little Rob.” He downed his wine. “Are you nervous about giving birth?” Rob yawned. “Oh, sorry! I guess no sleep is finally catching up with me. Maybe I don’t even need the meds tonight.” His eyes fluttered and the glass fell from his hand.
“I’m not worried about giving birth at all. I’m looking forward to it, actually.” Maddie kissed Rob’s head, then nudged him with her shoulder. He rolled onto the floor, out cold from the mixture of wine and Ambien.
***
Heat on his face woke Rob up. He looked around with blurred vision and tried to move, but realized he was tied to a pillar. In front of him was a marble table, Maddie naked and spread eagle upon it, her belly huge and tight.
Rob struggled against the rope. “Maddie! Oh, my god! What’s happening? Are you okay?”
Maddie turned her head to face him. She smiled. “Our baby is coming, Rob.”
“Maddie?” A group of people dressed in black robes approached the altar, chanting in low voices. “Maddie? What is going on?” His wrists burned as the ropes slid against his skin.
A person dressed in a red robe stopped in front of Rob and removed the hood. She touched the tip of her knife to his throat.
“You were always a disappointment, Rob. I could have given you everything, but you wouldn’t embrace us.”
“Mother?” Rob whispered.
“You have done one thing right – you’ve provided me with a grandson. And I couldn’t have chosen a more beautiful woman to be his mother. Her sacrifice will be legendary.”
“No, please! Let her go. Leave my son alone!”
“Please, Robby. Have some dignity.” She turned to Maddie and plunged the knife into her chest. Maddie had no time to scream. Blood poured off the edge of the table and several black-robed members rushed to catch it in chalices.
Carefully, Debra cut the baby from his mother’s body, and cradled him in her arms. She turned to Rob. “Look at your son, Robby. He will be everything you never were.” The baby began to cry and Debra rocked him, hushing him in a quiet tone.
“I’m not going to kill you, Robby. How would you know the glory of your son’s future?” She nodded at two of the members. “Take him to the basement. That is his home now.”
“NO! NO!” Rob yanked and twisted against his restraints. One of the men cut the ropes with a knife. Together they forced Rob to the basement, ignoring his screams and resistance.
Debra held the newborn boy above her head.
“Behold! Our savior is finally here!”
The congregation got on their knees and crossed their arms across their chests. “We welcome you!”
Debra cuddled the baby to her body and smiled.
“We welcome you,” she whispered.
Fiction © Copyright Sheri White
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

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More from Author Sheri White:

Sacrificial Lambs and Others

Sacrificial Lambs and Others is Sheri White’s first collection. From quiet horror to bloody violence, these flash fiction pieces and short stories are chilling and emotionally visceral. You will find people teetering on the brink of sanity, dark farms, creepy carnivals, weird kids, and Armageddon. These stories will stay with you long after you’ve closed the book.

Available on Amazon!

 

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Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author E.A. Black @ElizabethABlack @Sotet_Angyal #LoH #fiction

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!

The Witchfinder General
by E.A. Black

Agnes Morrell stood on the platform and watched the horde as more and more people stuffed the town square, eager to see the latest witch hanging. These hypocrites sought her services for love potions, curses, and tinctures to enhance youth and good luck. These same people shoved their way through the massive crowd to see her twitch at the end of a noose.
When she was asked if she had any last words, she fumed at her captive audience and ranted.
“I was good enough to use my powers to heal your livestock and to bring forth a bountiful harvest. I also was good enough for several married men in this audience who wanted me to give them a lust potion – for their mistresses. I kept your secrets. I cured your children when cholera passed through town. And now you turn on me? Heed my words – your lives will never be the same once I’m gone. The Witchfinder General must place my skull in a glass cabinet for all to see.”
“I cast my curse upon this entire town. Your crops will wither and die. Your children shall succumb to smallpox. Your livestock will refuse to eat until all the creatures are dead. And finally, if my skull is removed from its place in the glass cabinet I shall scream bloody hell until it is put back into its proper place. My skull shall remind all of you of the travesty you are committing today.”
Once she was burned and her ashes dumped into a canister, the people went back to their daily lives. The Witchfinder General laughed and tossed Morrell’s skull into a trash heap. That night, the most bone-chilling shouts and cries echoed through the mansion. His horse went lame. Townspeople complained about a noxious smell permeating the town that originated from the Witchfinder General’s home. He sent a servant to fetch the skull and then he placed it in the glass cabinet outside his bedroom. The shrieks and assaults came to an end.
Each day, the Witchfinder General feared for his life. As long as the skull sat in his cabinet, the more paranoid he became. He could not avoid the skull. It seemed to glare at him as he walked past it. Terror visited him daily for ten years and then he succumbed to the Black Plague. The moment he died, the shrieking stopped. No one dared remove the skull from the cabinet so they wouldn’t hear the screaming coming from his house. In the end Agnes Morrell won the battle with her superstitious neighbors.
Fiction © Copyright E. A. Black
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

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More from E.A. Black:

Teeming Terrors

Nature. Filled with wonder, beauty, majesty and mystery. Also filled with things that want to kill us. Normal things, little ordinary things. Things that creep and crawl. Things that fly, swim, scuttle and slither. Things that you might expect and be rightfully phobic about … as well as things you may have never imagined as a threat. Individually, maybe they wouldn’t be. But that’s just it. They aren’t coming for you individually. They’re coming for you in swarms, in flocks and hordes, in masses and multitudes. They’re coming for you by the thousands. They are … TEEMING TERRORS.

Available on Amazon!

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Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author Kim Richards @Kim_Richards @Sotet_Angyal #LoH #fiction

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!


Ivory Porcelain
by Kim Richards

Mellie stood with her hands upon her broad hips, watching as her husband pried up the ruined floorboards of their new home. The boards resisted his efforts but eventually came apart with sharp cracks and the groan of nails being bent and  pulled by Mack’s hammer. They were anxious to get the rotted wood ripped out and replaced with the gorgeous redwood they purchased just for this project. After the fires last October, redwood was a steal; something they took happy advantage of.
Mack paused, then leaned his head down below the floor level. When he came back up, he balanced on the balls of his feet and said, “Huh.”
“What?”
“There’s something down there. I have to climb down to get it,” he commented.
“Be careful.” She wiped rogue curls from her face with the back of her gloved hand.
“Yeah, yeah.” He lowered his body into the hole, feet first.
After a long moment, he poked his head up. “It’s a doll. It was embedded in the dirt pretty good so I had to work it out with my fingers.”
He flung the grimy thing up and to one side. The dusky scent of mold and dirt filled the air.
Mellie looked closely. It was a doll for sure. It had a head and hands of ivory porcelain. Someone scratched out the pupils and iris’, leaving creepy white blanks in their place. It still had most of its brown curly hair but the calico dress was in tatters. There were red spots all over it, as if someone flung a paint brush its direction. Mellie thought it looked like blood and then laughed at the thought.
Calling out, she wiped the dirt from the face as best she could. “I wonder who this belonged to. The previous owners didn’t have kids.”
From beneath the house, Mack said something but his words were muffled.
Mellie didn’t  understand him so she leaned over the hole. “Say that again.”
He knocked her over as he suddenly scrambled out of the hole in a huge hurry. His eyes were wide and his mouth turned down in a deep frown.
“Call the police,” he growled.
* * * 
Mellie held the doll in her hands as she and Mack watched the police rip up the rest of the flooring. A detective stood beside them scribbling notes about what they told him and the scene unfolding.
Eventually they brought her up. The dead child. She had the palest skin, like ivory porcelain. Dirt fell from her brown curls and torn calico dress. Her head lolled to the side, facing Mellie who gasped. There was  blood spatter from her head to her toes, though it had turned brown over time. The girl’s eyes were open…milky white from death.
Then the eyes blinked.
Telling herself that was silly; the corpse couldn’t have blinked, Mellie looked down at the doll in her hands. It’s head was turned the same direction as the girl’s. It rotated until the white scratched out eyes stared at the woman. Then the eyes blinked.
Mellie’s eyes fluttered and then she crumpled to the floor, still holding the ivory porcelain doll cradled in her hands. Her skin paled until it looked like ivory porcelain too.
Mack dropped to the floor and took her in his arms.
“Are you okay?” He moved his head closer to hers. “Mellie? Mellie?”
Her eyes flew open, white as if her pupils and iris’ were erased.  She coughed, showering the both of them in bloody spittle.
Max screamed.
Fiction © Copyright Kim Richards
Image courtesy of Pixabay.

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Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author Elizabeth H. Smith @bethsmithwrites @Sotet_Angyal #LoH #fiction

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!

Everlasting Portrayal
by Elizabeth H. Smith

With time stretched thin, she savored tastes of things material; silk and strawberries, the warmth of touch, delicate skies and pale late nights. She walked on soles of fading leather, only so many steps before old flesh would fall apart. Never tread lightly. The words of Father sang in her thoughts.
Though not a prophet, she knew what approached, hid in shadow, unknown to most. Not an end, but a second beginning; a gift for those deserving, curse to those not. Mother and Father prepared her. Long before her time. They lived with truth, hourglass in the open. Their surrogate secret was never withheld.
When the day came, no regrets were spoken.
The dark, furred beast rose, extended its hand.
She stepped forward, took it with grace.
Endless darkness opened its door. She went without restraint, only took one last breath, one last taste, of life above ground.
Fiction © Copyright Elizabeth H. Smith
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com 

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More About Elizabeth H. Smith:

Elizabeth H. Smith is a storyteller who writes while trying to keep her cat, Luna off the keyboard. The musical group, Rasputina is her muse. She was born in the state of New York and would never feel at home anywhere else.

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Through Clouded Eyes: A Zombie’s Point of View

Through Clouded Eyes: A Zombie’s Point of View: a collection of twelve stories told from the Zombie’s perspective.

They’re shambling toward you, feet dragging on the broken roadway. Arms outstretched, faces slack, they move as if they’re tracking your scent on the wind. You want to run, but you know there’s nowhere to hide.

Aware of their insatiable hunger, fear paralyzes you. These things were once human, people someone loved. Is there anything left inside them – some sliver of humanity that may save you from this nightmare? Your mind doesn’t want to accept the inevitable, a single thought consumes you: what are they thinking?

With your chance of escape dwindling, you snap out of it and run like hell knowing there is little to no hope; fate is coming for you. Soon you will see what they see Through Clouded Eyes…

Featuring stories from Maynard Blackoak, Calvin Demmer, Paul M. Feeney, Stacy Fileccia, Trevor Firetog, DH Hanni, Shannon Lawrence, Josh MacLeod, Zachary O’Shea, Neal Privett, Mark Steinwachs, and Alex Woolf

Available on Amazon!

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Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author Loren Rhoads @MorbidLoren @Sotet_Angyal #LoH #fiction

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!

Letter from New Orleans
by Loren Rhoads

Dearest Simon,
I took your advice and went out to St. Vincent de Paul to visit your friend Don Jose’s grave. I worried at first because my cab driver refused to let me out of the car alone at the cemetery’s gates. He told me he had a gun and we’d be safe. New Orleans is truly different than I’m used to.
I’d hoped the cemetery would have a map and I could use a pendulum to find your friend’s grave, but no such luck. We wandered until we came across the right mausoleum.
My driver, whose name is Jackson, opened the claret you suggested. He accepted a glass, then moved off to stand guard.
The other world seemed very close, as if the veil had thinned from repeated crossings. I put the bouquet of violets in the mausoleum’s vase, then sat on the step to read Don Jose your letter.
A gunshot interrupted me. Apparently, Jackson had drawn his handgun to protect me. Someone shot him in the arm.
Several men came out from behind the mausoleums. One told me that they only wanted my jewelry and bag. When I handed over my messenger bag, they immediately started going through it. Each item in my bag occasioned whispered comments. It would have been funny, if Jackson hadn’t been hurt.
I was taking off my necklaces when the thieves unwrapped the crystal bell I’d just bought on Royal Street.
The scent of Jackson’s blood hung heavily in the humid air, and the perfume from the violets, and the aroma of the wine. Still, things probably would have gone differently without the peal of the bell. The sound echoed all around us.
Don Jose stepped free of his mausoleum, sword drawn. Other men and women, children and old folk, materialized around us.
I stepped forward to take the bell back. The men returned my bag and all they’d taken from it. Don Jose and his associates chased them off into the maze of graves. Ghosts can be so sensitive about how people behave in their graveyards.
I helped Jackson back to his car and called for help. His lovely wife and daughter met us at the hospital. I couldn’t help but feel responsible for what had happened, but they wouldn’t hear of it. Marie invited me back to their home afterward. I think I am going to study with her. She is truly amazing.
As you promised, New Orleans is turning out to be an adventure. I wish you were here to share it with me.
All my love,
Alondra
Fiction © Copyright Loren Rhoads
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

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More from Author Loren Rhoads:


Alondra’s Investigations
(The Alondra Stories Book Two)

Alondra handles a book that causes earthquakes, faces down the things that ghosts fear, and makes an enormous sacrifice to end a reign of terror in New Orleans.

Available on Amazon! 

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Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author Christina Sng @christinasng @Sotet_Angyal #LoH #fiction #poetry

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!


The Old Bones

by Christina Sng

Humans have been here before, we conclude, after the discovery of their skulls and bones beside an ancient tree on the forest moon of Everso.
The land is lush like it is on Earth, its foliage sweet and rich and full of nourishment. We’ve yet to encounter any fauna but if the ecosystem is similar to Earth’s, it is simply a matter of time.
Sudden high-pitched shrieks confirm our theory. We draw our weapons, bracing for what comes next.
Humans on an enormous mantis-like winged creature descend from the sky. They leap off the monster and race back into the depths of the forest. We follow. One by one, we take them down with fire till we reach their community.
There, we burn everything to the ground.
One dying half-scorched human grabs my pincer as I pass, eyes full of sorrow as it asks, “Why?”
I slash it in half, tired of their typical death bed remorse. Goodness knows, they did not spare our families when they invaded our moon and slaughtered us, calling us “bugs”.
It took us weeks to grow another sustainable community from my eggs hidden in the Vault, and another century before we found their home planet and annihilated them all. A handful escaped to Everso and we followed.
As we leave this moon in flames, we celebrate on our spaceship en route home with a cocoon full of its foliage.
“They ate each other, you know,” I tell the crew. “Those bones had human teeth marks on them.”
“Monsters!” the hive mind chimes.
Fiction © Copyright Christins Sng
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

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More from Christina Sng:

A Collection of Nightmares

Hold your screams and enter a world of seasonal creatures, dreams of bones, and confessions modeled from open eyes and endless insomnia. Christina Sng’s A Collection of Nightmares is a poetic feast of sleeplessness and shadows, an exquisite exhibition of fear and things better left unsaid. Here are ramblings at the end of the world and a path that leads to a thousand paper cuts at the hands of a skin carver. There are crawlspace whispers, and fresh sheets gently washed with sacrifice and poison, and if you’re careful in this ghost month, these poems will call upon the succubus to tend to your flesh wounds and scars.
These nightmares are sweeping fantasies that electrocute the senses as much as they dull the ache of loneliness by showing you what’s hiding under your bed, in the back of your closet, and inside your head. Sng’s poems dissect and flower, her autopsies are delicate blooms dressed with blood and syntax. Her words are charcoal and cotton, safe yet dressed in an executioner’s garb.
Dream carefully.
You’ve already made your bed.
The nightmares you have now will not be kind.
And you have no one to blame but yourself.

Available on Amazon!

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Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author Bailey Hunter @DarkRecesses @Sotet_Angyal #LoH #fiction

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!


Annalisa
by Bailey Hunter

Annalisa Annalisa
With your skin so fair
Your crimson lips
And auburn hair
Oh beloved Annalisa
Daddy’s little girl
Mommy’s angel
You left this world
My sweet darkling, Annalisa
With your empty eyes
Your smile hung wrong
By the gadflies
Why have you come, Annalisa
Full of rot and death
To touch each life
And steal each breath
Annalisa, Annalisa
Cloying through the mud
She comes for us
For familial blood
Fiction © Copyright Bailey Hunter
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

NUADA

War, madness, and mythology combine in this tale of Nuada…

As demi god, champion and great leader of his home islands, Nuada leads his people, the Tuatha Dé Danann, from their home after they are destroyed by violent natural events.

He settles his people on the island that will eventually become the great Ireland. Now mortal, he must negotiate the path of leadership in a new land where enemies wish them dead and allies lose their minds.

Available from Dark Recesses Press

 
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