Able

 

It wasn’t hard to walk away.  She simply placed one foot in front of the other and did not look back.

Of course she knew that for some, it would have been impossible.  The guilt would destroy them:  they’d slit their wrists or hang themselves.  Others would go mad:  the carnage and the screaming would lead them to gauge out their eyes and rip off their ears.

But not her.  She had the one thing that would help her perservere:  a souvenir.  It was tattered and bloody, but as long as she held it, she wouldn’t look back.

She would move forward, step by step.

Until it was time to look for a new one.

 

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  © ELIZABETH MICHAUD JOHN

Light for the Damned

Light for the damned

 

“Will you be good?”

She nodded, whimpering.

He squinted his eyes, unconvinced.

He leaned closer.  “Will…you…be…good?”  He spat each word, his rank breathe filling her tiny space with dread.

“Yes, yes, a million times, yes!”  She trembled, sending tremors through the chains.

He straightened himself and nodded.  He turned the key in the lock, releasing the cuffs. “Alright then.  Go.”

She scrambled up the stairs, and then pushed up the cellar door.  As she curled her fingers around the edges of the opening, light touched them, and she sucked in her breath.  She boosted herself up through the door and rushed to the window.  Her shoulder scraped the teeth of the rake, drawing blood, but she didn’t notice.  Instead, she hurried to the window frame, and pushed her face against the glass. The brightness on the other side made her eyes water and burn, but she soaked it in.

She basked in it.

She pressed her palms onto the pane.  Oh, the light, she thought, the wonderful light

“It’s time.”

What?!” His voice cut through her reverie like a jagged, serrated knife.

He walked to her with a slow but deliberate steps.  “There’s blood on my window.”

“What?  No, I didn’t, I was good—“  she protested, but then she saw it.  Blood had dripped down from her shoulder and stained the glass.  Her eyes widened in horror.  “No, please, no!  I was good!  I was being  goo—“

His lips curled upward, revealing yellow, jagged teeth.  He moved in, bringing his face inches from hers.  “You know I don’t like mess, little girl,” he snarled.

Her skin puckered in goose-flesh at his dark declaration, and tears welled in her eyes. “But I just got here!” she shrieked.  “I just got some light!  Please—“

“It’s time.”

“Oh, god, please! Not yet, not again—“

He yanked her by the hair and the chains, and dragged her screaming back into the darkness.

 

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  © ELIZABETH MICHAUD JOHN

Coven

girl with red hair

 

“Go and get the girl.”

At the sight of her, the women shouted their cries and catcalls.

“She makes men fall to their feet!” cried one.

“She sings the songs of the wicked!” shrieked another.

“She does the black magic!” still another persisted.

“It’s true because she has the red hair of the devil’s wife!”  This from someone on the girl’s left.

“Yes, the devil’s wife!”  This echoed from someone on the girl’s right.

“His filthy bride—a red-haired demon she is!”

They dragged her to the chair and then flocked around.  The flames from the torches lurched and pitched, their crackling lights lengthening the shadows of the gathered into grotesque shapes. The oldest among them, Prudence, separated herself from the group.  “We are all in agreement then?”

The women nodded, and then kneeled.

“Our red-haired sister, we are at your service.”

Behind the drape of her long red hair, the girl looked up and smiled.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  © ELIZABETH MICHAUD JOHN

Dead Man’s Alley

                “Okay,” he began.  “Here’s the street.  Dead Man’s Alley.”

                She hugged herself, rubbing her hands up and down arms.  “Oh, yea, it’s creepy, alright.”

                He nodded and extended an arm, pointing.  “The gallows were over there, but the victims walked this street last before their executions.”  He looked up, gesturing to the darkened windows above.  “People shouted down at them, cursing, throwing food…or worse.”

                She shuddered, but her eyes shone.  “Jeez.  I couldn’t imagine.”  Her fingers grazed the old stone walls of the buildings.  “But is it really haunted?”

                He shrugged.  “Who knows?  But at night, they say you can still hear the victims screaming as they take their final walk.”  He leaned closer to her, flashing a wicked grin.  “I’ve heard them, anyway.”

                She arched an eyebrow, and her breath quickened.  “Oh  yea?  How so?”

                She wasn’t prepared when he slammed her against the wall and squeezed his hands around her throat.  “Because frequently, I’m the cause.”

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  © ELIZABETH MICHAUD JOHN

The Monster and the Ghost

 

“So, what do you think’s waiting on the other side of the door?” Tommy asked.

“I’m sure it’s scary, whatever it is!”  Jason’s voice quivered with fear and excitement.

The older boy looked down at the younger one.  “Think so?  Monsters, maybe?”

“No, no monsters.  Ghosts.”

Tommy squinted.  “Ghosts?”

“Yea, of those boys that went missing a few months ago.  No one ever found them.”

“Could be.” Tommy cocked an eyebrow at Jason.  “You sure you want to open it?  See what’s on the other side? You brave enough?”

Jason hopped from foot to foot.  Hesitating only for a moment, he nodded.

Tommy curled his fingers around the handle. He pulled it up, then down, but it didn’t yield.

Jason sagged his shoulders, and kicked at the door. “Damn it! We’re locked out!”

Tommy shook his head and shrugged.  Releasing the handle, he turned slowly to Jason.  “Doesn’t really matter, though.”

“Why not?”

“Because the monster isn’t on the other side of the door.” From his jacket, he pulled out a long, serrated knife.  “He’s right here.”  Even in the semi-darkness, the blade gleamed.  “And you’re gonna be the ghost.”

 

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  © ELIZABETH MICHAUD JOHN.

True Face

Give it to me!” she hissed.

He trembled.  “B-but, it’s for…for the…”

Tooth Fairy?”  Her eyes flashed in fury.  “Who the hell do you think I am?”

His eyes widened in shock.  “You?

She bared her teeth, grotesque, jagged, misshapen.  She snatched the tooth from his shaking fingers.

“No one ever said I was pretty.”

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  © ELIZABETH MICHAUD JOHN.

Like what you’ve read? Then visit Austin Briggs Flash Fiction Contest and give this story a “thumbs-up”!

Thanks for reading!

The Naming of Her

The night begins with darkest spell

She calls forth demons from deepest hell

She sends them out to do her will

They venture off into night’s chill

 

They set about in secret search

Upon the shadows they hunch, they lurch

But their mistress’s wish they do fulfill

And bring to her much treasured ills:

 

A pint of blood, a pound of flesh

A heart ripped from a tender chest;

Screams of innocents bottled tight

And eyes bereft of all their sight…

 

With incantation now complete

While black cat purrs at her feet

The evil bidding stirs her soul

Intent as dark and black as coal

 

She chants her words for all to hear

And one by one, they fall in fear

Her whispered words consume them all

She stands, she laughs, she lets them fall

 

With her curse her victims writhe

Her spell a scourge by which they’ll die

The night is pierced by screams and pleas

But their wretched souls are hers to seize

 

And with her bounty of skin and bone

With withered souls that moan and groan

She steals her way into the night

And cackles oft with all her might—

 

To her dark prince of down below

These bloody gifts she does bestow;

For evil’s trouble he grants a wish:

He calls her hag, trickster and

Witch.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. © ELIZABETH MICHAUD JOHN