Spurred by the fantastic piece of flash by Charles Gramlich, and his idea to keep the short bursts of horror going for the entire month of October, I humbly offer a bit of fluff I wrote a few years ago after purchasing my first (and only, to date) grotesque. I did post this story in 2006, but I had somewhere close to zero readers at the time, so I’m treating it as new-to-you. Enjoy, and be sure to think twice before that next lawn ornament impulse buy.
The Empress of the Fescue
This is how a snake feels, awaiting the first rays of light to banish the insidious chill. This is how it will always feel, cold and alone. This is why my desperation grows–as hers must have-wild.
I purchased her at an estate sale to stand sentry against the hordes of sticky-mouthed candy-grabbers trampling my front lawn. My beautiful, winged, snarling chimera, the Empress of the Fescue.
With a childish thrill I ventured under the harvest moon to admire her fearsome grimace. Only a flattened patch of turf remained to belie her post. There was no time to gape, or wonder. She came with full fury, a winged wrecking ball to the back. I toppled forward against the dew-dampened grass, gasping for air.
Masonry talons clicked against the sidewalk. I heaved onto my back. She was there under the halo of light, waiting for my gaze to register her carven jaws stretched wide with hunger. Panic jolted my bones and I scrabbled away, clawed hands and bare feet churning the earth in desperation.
The grass was slick. I was slow.
Her terrible weight prematurely expelled the last of my breaths. That gaping mouth sucked deep into my own. I struggled to stay inside, but there was nothing to hold onto, no anchor to cast.
I pushed myself up with shaking arms.
She, wearing me.
I fit her like a well-made suit, and she smiled. She did a small dance of joy, cavorting out of view as she tried her new legs. My head could not turn to follow. Cast in a haze of gray, my world contracted to a narrow strip of grass, a patch of siding, and my living room window.
It aches, sitting here with my knees hunched around my chin. A spider has built a web in the crevice of my right ear. The grass is cold against my immovable hide and I spend the long dark wishing for the following day to come without rain or clouds so I might briefly remember warmth.
I catch snippets of her through the window, clips from a movie I will never see. She seems happy. And why shouldn’t she be? She has it all: my life, my husband, my flesh. And she has me, her Empress of the Fescue.
April 9th, 2009 at 5:30 am
October 31st, 2008 at 4:52 pm
Vesper — Thanks for stopping by and for the very generous compliments!I suppose the old saying is true; every story has been told before. It’s what we do within their constraints that make them our own.
October 30th, 2008 at 4:00 pm
Wow! Many horrific images in here, with perfect words to convey them. Very well done.What an interesting coincidence. I wrote a somehow similar story in June of this year…
October 16th, 2008 at 3:38 am
L.A. — Thanks for the visit. I could just imagine the sound, that clacking death-knell.Barbara — Thank you, and thanks so much for stopping by.
October 16th, 2008 at 3:20 am
Very well done! 😉
October 15th, 2008 at 9:56 pm
Masonry talons clicked against the sidewalk.My favorite line 🙂
October 14th, 2008 at 8:05 pm
Stewart — Sadness and melancholy, it all goes along with that eyeliner I was offering you. As far as the rest, um, yeah, that’s exactly what I was trying to convey. Actually, if any of that depth happened, it did so without my knowledge.
October 14th, 2008 at 12:23 am
Even though Rick praised you, I’ll still have to give you your due. I’m not sure why, but by the end the feeling this evoked in me was a sense of sadness and melancholy. Forgive me for waxing thematic..you can tell I’m teaching…I got the impression that the situation was metaphoric, that she was at once the Empress and the happy mother..the idea that we often become stonelike and in such to settled. We take for granted our life and loved ones. The horror here is the idea that having lost something so precious that she no longer has the ability to experience and appreciate it.
October 13th, 2008 at 3:30 pm
Laughingwolf — Trickling, eh? I guess I’ll pay for your re-upholstery job.Sid — Thanks.Lana — That was my general intent. Mwahahahaha!Miladysa — The cobweb in the ear is the point that spurred this story to begin with; I was looking at my statue (who did, in fact, have a resident spider at the time), thinking how awful it would be to have a spider living in my ear and be able to do nothing about it. I now clean her ears regularly, just in case.Crazycath — Thanks so much for stopping by. Glad you liked it.
October 13th, 2008 at 3:13 pm
Over from Charles’. Spine chilling.
October 13th, 2008 at 9:28 am
*shiver*The spider’s web in the ear sent me hurtling over the edge!
October 11th, 2008 at 9:18 pm
Awesome! You’ve officially made me afraid of the statue of Demeter that stands outside our front door. *L*
October 11th, 2008 at 8:23 pm
October 11th, 2008 at 6:55 pm
very well wrought, av… left some gooseflesh trickling down my spine 🙂
October 10th, 2008 at 3:44 pm
Rick — Good of you to stop by. Thanks much on the compliment.Steve — Now, come on. If I can scrape out something passable, so can you. I’m Captain Hyperverbosity, here.Charles — Well, it’s nowhere near as nice as yours, but at least it’s in the spirit of things.
October 10th, 2008 at 3:31 pm
Very cool. I like this a lot. I’ll post this link on my blog tomorrow. Thanks for playing along.
October 10th, 2008 at 5:48 am
Good work, DeBow. Damn good work! >:-)You make me wish I could do the short-fiction thing…
October 10th, 2008 at 2:51 am
First time I’ve read anything by you, but I’m impressed. Keep up the good work.