I have been seizing upon every writing challenge I find just recently, because I feel that writing to a set word count, and to a set theme or picture, really helps with the creativity and discipline. The latest challenge I have chosen to accept is the Horror Bites Challenge, hosted by Laura Jamez. Below you will find the photographic inspiration for the current challenge, which really got my gears grinding (in a good way, of course!). I call this 300-word story…
The Last Journey
The train juddered unhealthily over the tracks, a growling din smothering all other sounds. I’d never been on a train before in my life, but I had been assured that they were usually a smooth ride. It didn’t bother me though, certainly not as much as the girl who sat opposite me.
So as not to draw attention to myself, I stared with interest at her reflection in the window. Her angelic features were soft and pretty, but they slowly contorted into a picture of terror, her mouth and eyes agape with raw fear. At first, I was mildly amused, but looking past her transparent image at the world beyond, I realised that something was wrong.
Angry clouds swarmed overhead like a cluster of enraged bees, and the buildings we were passing became derelict – brick cadavers left to decay. As the rumbling of the train grew louder and more unsteady, I was suddenly aware of a terrible stench – a burning aroma that reminded me of the chemistry lessons we used to take at school.
As the train barked along, the sky grew darker. At 12:30 in the afternoon, I couldn’t see anything outside…except…
A spire? A church? It was some sort of tower, it’s windows glowing with fierce red light. Even though the train was clearly still moving, that strange tower never seemed to shift.
I tried to swallow, but my throat was dry. Tearing myself away from the window, I shrieked when I saw the girl.
She was leering at me, the most awful smile etched messily onto her now almost demonic features. The train ground to halt, and the little girl rose, her eyes as red as the lights in that tower outside.
“Come along,” she said to me, her voice impossibly deep, “We’ve arrived…”