J.M. Blackman’s Picture Choice: 1
Title: X Marks the Spot
It was silent, save for the fire’s grumbling, the clink of dishes and glasses. That was until the growling. I looked at our hostess to ask if she had dogs, but when I looked up, she was already looking at me. Her eyes had changed colors, seemed larger. She asked if I’d like a drink with her in another room. I didn’t know what else I could say besides, “yes.”
Saying “yes” then would change my life beyond recognition.
It had set my path. And it was unalterable.
…in the other room, my head filled with a fog that had developed from the seething marsh between my ears; I swayed as if there was music on. And she was a lighthouse in that fog, shining in the firelight that glimmered off her lipstick. When she pressed her mouth to mine, I thought I was caught on an electric fence–no, wrapped in it. Until what felt like a dozen pinpricks stabbed me around my spine.
I jerked away and the pain seared up my back, sucking the air out of my lungs (or what air was left). I fell to my knees and the drink went tumbling. The glass didn’t shatter but rolled across the rug, a pool of dark whiskey under my hand. I tried to feel for the pain in my back, but my arm wasn’t long enough. I felt her behind me, and flopped over so I could meet her face. As if in slow motion, she drew a lean finger across my diagonally one way, then the other.
“X marks the spot,” she whispered. And it was like she’d broken the spell.
Now, the firelight was hell-light, for she was no longer an angel but a demon, with fingers too long, a mouth too wide and full of sharp teeth.
But the real thing that made her a demon was the fact that despite her appearance, she was still lovely to me.
And so I ran. As fast as I could, as hard as I’d ever, and as I stumbled through the dark halls, they filled with cracking bays and reverberating howls.
I was in the company of wolves.
I had known they weren’t quite right, but this? And what else could be the excuse? I was drunk, but no liquor made a hot girl’s face turn into a monster mask. But real.
I fell down the stone steps and when I got to my car, my keys weren’t in my pocket anymore. When the hell had that happened? I took a quick look at the door still open and decided the main road wasn’t too far back. I could make it running.
It may have been the stupidest thing I’ve ever thought.
My dress shoes didn’t make running in the wet grass easy. The floodlights from the house started to fade behind me as the woods began to close in. I’d barely made it 800 yards before I heard the howl that announced they’d broken free of the house.
I’d been marked. They would find me.
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J.M. Blackman is a Language Arts teacheri and a feminist. She endeavors to review nearly everything she reads and is a happy wife. She's a SFF enthusiast, loves dark humor, and has an unhealthy need to protect the image of Batman.