This is for Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo prompt. The standing stone looked eerily familiar to me. There has to be a link somewhere.
The house has gone now, burned, pulled down, the stones scattered, the park reverted to wilderness and the gate walled up. There is nothing left of the people who once lived and died there, and no living memories of their persecutor. But there is a strange stone on the hill that casts a shadow even when there is no sun, where no grass grows and where frost glitters even in August. And in the local museum there is a painting with no name and no date that is fixed to the wall and cannot be moved.
Strange cries are sometimes heard in the park at night, cries that no bird ever made, and the room where the painting hangs is locked now, the other exhibits removed and displayed elsewhere.
In the big house that stands alone beyond the last bend in the lane, the electricity has become erratic, doors and windows stick and locked doors open. There was a guard dog, but after a couple of weeks of howling, the dog has fallen silent. Its kennel is empty. The owners pass, fleeting and white-faced as ghosts. In the village, we watch and wait, and wonder how long before it happens again.
I wasn’t sure I was going to be inspired by this picture, but it came in the end. Thanks Sonya 🙂
The old house had been a boarding school for girls for a time in the nineteenth century until it was closed down, a fire, or an epidemic, the curator had not been very clear.
She picked up the pen compulsively after a quick glance to make sure the curator was occupied with the wandering school party, dipped it in the inkwell, and words, in careful copperplate, ran across the pale paper of the notebook.
Her eyes opened wide in terror and she tried to let go of the pen, but something held her hand tight, her mind too, and as the full horror of the boarding school’s closure was revealed, the small room was suddenly crowded with the thin, pale, hate-filled faces of the victims.
I had a feeling this painting would get the horror juices flowing, and it did! Great stories this week, very much in keeping with the season. I enjoyed reading these stories very much and hope you did too.
The world of the Abomination is a freezing, decaying jungle run by brutish young men with a completely unhinged leader. If you want a peep inside, here is a short excerpt from Abomination, a story within a story, of teenage boys behaving (very) badly. Just click on the image to read or download.
If you’re still on board when you’ve read it, the purchase links for the whole story are below.
Buy Abomination here at the amazingly low price of 99c/p
My flash fiction seems to have veered off on a vaguely nasty tangent lately. For those who like that kind of thing, I’ve collected a dozen or so short pieces that you can download here (click on the cover for the pdf). If you like it, don’t hesitate to visit my website for larger-sized dollops of fiction.
He came for her later when she had no more tears left to cry, their trails frozen with the cold, and she could no longer feel anything but pain. She knew he was there because the air thickened and surged like a sickly sea. The vile words poured into her ear from lips that brushed her skin. Her frozen, awkward body was hauled upright and propelled forward. There was a click as a latch was lifted and a heavy shutter swung open on shrieking hinges. An old moon hung in the sky, and its light fell palely on the face beside her.