by Lynda Collins

There’s a statue on the other side of the small room from me, slightly larger than life, carved from a tar-black stone. It’s some sort of half-woman, half-monstrous creature that looks as though the sculptor who carved it was mad. I hated it the second I saw it, more when I realised that I was locked in here with it. Even more ten minutes ago when it started to move.

The façade is crumbling away from her face. Another hairline fracture forms and spiderwebs up her cheek bones and across the bridge of her nose. Dust bleeds from the cracks; crumbling like biscuit crumbs to the ground below.

My heart hammers in my chest. I search the room again, but the door is heavy and locked, there are no windows, no other way out and absolutely nothing I could use as a weapon.

A section of the mask drops away to reveal her lips, blood red on paper white skin. For a moment nothing, and then the lips curl in what is unmistakably a smile, vicious and mocking. I begin to hammer at the door with my fists, my eyes still firmly fixed on the statue on the other side of the room.

“Let me out,” I scream, my voice sounding dull and flat, swallowed by the thick walls of the room.

Another fragment falls from her face and an eye is revealed, dark, the entire eye is black and glistening like a beetle’s back. It locks onto me, the gaze intense and burning. Everything about it radiates hatred, hunger and evil.

More fractures, more lines spread up and down the statue, radiating out in fault lines, fissures. On the left side the stone crumbles to reveal a hand with nails as sharp as daggers, on the right side, near the ground, the dust and fragments scatter to reveal her feet, which move slightly as though eager to come for me.

“Oh God, Oh God,” I moan, slumping against the door. There’s nowhere I can go, nothing I can do. My hands are bloody now. I’ve hammered on the door so hard with my fists that they’re bloody and I’m sure I’ve broken a bone. “Let me out, Anna, please.”

I hear a noise outside the door. I know that she’s there, I know she’s listening. “Please.”

In front of me, fully half of the statue lies on the floor; a casing for whatever creature is emerging from inside it like some sort of hideous butterfly emerging from a carved cocoon.

“I can’t.” The voice is quiet and full of dread, full of guilt. She speaks hesitantly.

 I force myself upwards again. “Anna, let me out. Why are you doing this? I thought you loved me.” We’d lived together for years, were engaged to be married, but she was going put all of that aside and just leave me in here with that thing?

“I did love you. I do love you...But it’s you or me,” she says. “And it won’t be me.” Her footsteps recede down the hall. I wonder how far she has to go until she can’t hear me anymore. I scream until my throat feels ragged.

With a ‘thunk’ half of the remaining mask falls away, and I can see the thing’s face properly now. Black eyes sunk in the middle of a maggot-white face, pointed ears pricked forwards like a dog on point. As the mask falls away entirely she speaks.

“Soon.” It’s little more than a hiss, but it turns my blood to ice.

I close my eyes and curl into a ball by the door. When it comes for me I don’t want to have to watch it.

Behind me I hear the sound of more stone falling.


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Writers Bio

Lynda Collins was born in 1986. She has been writing since the tender age of five and even has the school reports to prove it, though she would like to hope that she has improved a little since then.

 In 2012 she decided that her writing wasn’t too terrible and starting submitting some short stories to various publishers. Since then she has a number of her short stories published in various anthologies, including ‘Undead Tales 2’ and ‘Grimm and Grimmer,’ where her story was selected as the lead story. Lynda has also contributed to and edited an anthology of supernatural stories with the Belfast Writers' Group, called ‘The Ghosts in the Glass’ to raise money for the charity, Action Cancer. Recently, she was commissioned to write for an anthology entitled ‘Her Dark Voice,’which includes two of her works that start and finish the book.  

Whilst she had until recently focused on writing short stories, she has now decided to knuckle down and write something longer. She is currently working on the first of a series of four fantasy books, each inspired by one of the four classical elements; Earth, Water, Air and Fire.   You can contact her at her website: (, which she really needs to start using properly.

Inspirational ImageMasked by Ann Mitzby Ann Mitz

Pieces Inspired by this Image

''Tis the Season'
by Dalene TItus

'Captive Encased '
by Ellie Rose McKee

'My Masks'
by Hannah Bauer

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