February Blog Chain

Time once again for the Absolute Write Blog Chain. This month was an interesting challenge. Each link in the chain was given a different prompt, provided by the person who posted before them. My prompt was Visitor.

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Visitation Rites

The wind was rattling the shutters of the stone cottage as Celeste awoke and she thought she heard thunder. She was groggy; it took her a few minutes to remember where she was.

She was a story-teller, here in search of a story for the upcoming festival. This year she was determined to beat out Ethan for the Alice Kane Award, she just had to find the right material.

There wasn't one library in the city she hadn't scoured, looking for something fresh, something new, a legend that hadn't been used ad nauseum. Almost ready to give up, she stopped for a cup of tea in dark, cosy tearoom and overheard a couple talking about the creepy stories they remembered hearing from this woman who lived near the family cottage.

Celeste knew this was her big chance. She could feel it in her bones. After she paid for their tea and biscuits, the couple were quite happy to tell Celeste all they knew about the woman and what they could remember of her chilling tales. The old woman insisted her stories were true, certainly they were based on local legends. They were made all the more creepy by the number of people who disappeared in that area.

It was just what she needed, Celeste knew. The thousand dollar prize was as good as hers.

There were no GPS coordinates for the old woman's house, but the woman from the tea room had drawn Celeste a map on a napkin. Highway gave way to county road, county road to gravel road, gravel to dirt, and at last the woman's stone cottage was in front of her. The wind picked up and clouds were just beginning to roll in as she got out of her car.

The old woman seemed happy to see her, she probably didn't get much company. She insisted on making Celeste a cup of rose hip tea - the roses had come from her very own garden. Celeste explained why she was there.

"They're not just some foolish stories," the old woman said firmly. "They're true. Each and every one of them."

"All right," Celeste said, ready to humour her to get what she wanted. "Why don't you let me hear them and I can judge for myself."

"I think I can do better than that, dear. Have another cup of tea."

Celeste sighed, and drank another cup of tea. And that was the last she knew . . . until now. Shaking her head to clear the fuzziness, she tried to rise and realized she was tied to the chair.

"What's going on? Why am I tied up?"

"Thought you could just humour an old woman, did you? I'm going to prove to you my stories are real."

"I haven't even heard any of your stories. Look, let me go and I'll just leave and never bother you again. No harm, no foul." Celeste struggled against her bonds, but she was held fast.

"The world has changed so much . . . no one but me left to see to the unseen, no one but me to remember the old ways."

"What old ways?" Celeste asked, in spite of herself.

The old woman looked at her. "Suck the marrow from the bones, smash them flat with ragged stones."

"What?" Celeste asked, thoroughly confused.

"The fairies used to visit me, you know," the old woman said. She shook her head sadly. "But no one believes in fairies any more and they've been pushed aside by the dark fae. They're so much more demanding."

There was a crack of thunder and lightning flashed.

"They come with the storm, don't you know," the old woman whispered.

"Who does?"

"Why my Visitors, of course."

"Visitors?" Celeste felt hope rise in her. "You're expecting visitors?" Surely the old woman couldn't keep her tied up in front of other people. Human decency would have them demand her release.

"By the dark of the moon, at the end of the day, the Visitors come, to look for their prey." The rhyme was made all the more creepy by the woman's sing song voice.

Celeste saw the knife in the old woman's hand and the blood drained from her face. "Wha-- what are you doing?"

"I have to have something for my Visitors to eat, dear," the old woman said.

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Hope you enjoyed my little offering. Be sure and check the rest of the links in the chain - there's some awesome story-tellers out there. ;-)

orion_mk3 ~ Yuppies Who Hate the Family Business
ConnieBDowell ~ Unexpected Library Encounter
bmadsen ~ Cupcake Disaster
MsLaylaCakes ~ Unfortunate Sports
HistorySleuth ~ Less Than Fortunate Foods
writingismypassion ~ Blind Date with a Ventriloquist
katci13 ~ Evil Cupid
KitCat ~ Hunting with Hounds
Angyl78 ~ A Ghost's Bad Day
randi.lee ~ The Wrong Bar
Lady Cat ~ (you are here) - Visitors
pyrosama - http://matrix-hole.blogspot.com/ (link to post) Topic
Ralph Pines - http://ralfast.wordpress.com/ (link to post) Topic
dclary - http://www.hardhobbittobreak.com/ (link to post) Topic
meowzbark - http://www.lizzylessard.com/ (link to post) Topic
SRHowen - http://srhowen1.blogspot.com/ (link to post) Topic
Amanda R. - http://www.twoamericansinchina.com/ (link to post) Topic
Briony-zisaya - http://fantasywriterwannabe.wordpress.com/ (link to post) Topic
CatherineHall - http://theelephantinthetemple.blogspot.com/ (link to post) Topic


Anonymous said...

oh wow! That is a little dark. What a way not to chase a story down!! Oh that could be a very bad day. Great read!

Unknown said...

That is a great post. Love the creepy sing song rhymes o the old lady. I see a novel in the making with this one.

randi lee said...

What a great take on the prompt! I love it. And I especially love the tone of this one. It fits the story perfectly. Nice job!

Anonymous said...

Very creepy. I love the end.

~Charity~ said...

An offering indeed! I like it! Very creepy. :)

C R Ward said...

Thanks everyone! My short stuff does tend to be a little creepy - this is the first time I was deliberately trying to be that way. :-)

krystal jane said...

I love the creep factor! Great job with the prompt.

Lizzy said...

Oh, I loved it! Great build up and suspense. I kind of knew where it was heading, but it didn't make it any less disturbing.

David W. Clary said...

So creepy and awesome. I loved it!

Anonymous said...

And the trend to take those prompts and darken them right the heck up continues! I especially like the ambiguity here--is the old lady insane or merely evil? Perhaps both? Who knows!