The Old Woman

They have no name for her. All they can tell you is that when she is around, nothing good ever happens. That is probably why they have no name for her. The saying goes that there is power in a name, and she is powerful enough as is.

She is not human and she is old. Very old. She smells like sweet decaying flesh. Like a corpse who has been embalmed but the rot and decay is stronger than the embalming fluids and formaldehyde. Like the body had been left in the sun and wet for a couple hours too long before it was embalmed. The smell is worse than death. It has no promise of an after life. Just sordid decomposition. Life turned into something foul.

She is dressed in an old floral dress. There is tattered lace at her cuffs and collars. The material looks hard and stiff, as though it was recently starched and pressed.  It makes a soft rasping noise as she moves. Like two pieces of dried parchment rubbing together. The dress looks as though it will fall to dust at any second, the microfibers blowing into the wind and choking unsuspecting victims on their filth and pestilence. There looks to be dried blood smearing the tattered and torn hem of her dress, as though she recently danced her way through a massacre where what was left of any human was lumps of unidentifiable meat. Absolute carnage is written into the fabric of the dress, in its stiff and sharp edging and movement. The rubbing of the cloth the dying breath of a murdered man.

She shuffles along. Plump. Like an old woman who has had hearty meals her entire life. She moves as though arthritis has long set into her joints. There is pain etched in her movement, the pain of many many long years. Years of feasting and gorging until her corroded hearts content. Years spent travelling, never resting. Lifetimes spent on the road. Centuries spent without sleep. The depravity and gross indulgences are in accord with her every painful movement.

Her skin is white translucent leather. Long since has the moisture been sucked out of it. Yet it hangs strangely across her fleshy physique, as though it was discarded there many moons ago and long since forgotten. Thin spidery black veins can be seen tracing webs along the skin. The veins look like a sick tattoo, a mockery of the passageways which in so many carry the blood which has oxygenated and fed their body.

No one looks at her though. No one wants to draw attention to themselves. They turn their back on her, this old woman with no name. She stands behind each of them, willing them to turn around, to help a poor old lady in need. No one ever does. Fear always wins out. The primal instinct to survive stops anyone from turning and looking at her. Although there are those who always give in. Who turn around and look at her face.

To see her face is to die. No, not just die. Dying would be a mercy. She will make your body dance and twist in a morbid puppet show. Each movement breaking bone and sinew. She will make you pluck your own eyes out and feed them to her. She will make you pull off each nail from all your fingers and all your toes. Make you pull out your own teeth. All while keeping you just on the brink of life where you all aware of what cruel fate you have fallen into. She will make you peel your own skin off, using nothing but the bloody broken stumps you have left. The pain you will endure will be far greater and more excruciating than you can ever imagine, and she will find ways to make it worse.

All while this is happening, the last image you will always return to is her face. For she has no face. It has long since been torn out, a gaping wound. All that is distinguishable amid the straw hair and black crater are the teeth. They are look as though to be children’s milk teeth, yet razor sharp. They are yellow and black. Discoloration to go with the rest of the rotting depraved thing she is.

Protruding from the teeth is the tongue. Her long snake-like tongue. Searching, reaching and touching. Tasting. It is long and dry, like a tentacle from an octopus left to dry and decay in a desert during a drought.

No, she doesn’t need a name. Something so terrifying and powerful doesn’t need to be known by anything other then what she physically is. No one needs to talk about her. No one needs to mention her at all.

For she is the horror to top all horrors. The horror so terrifying, we are genetically programmed to stay away.

Yet she will be there behind you, waiting for the day you slip up. The day you make a mistake. The day you turn around and look at her.