Tapestry of pain

Fingers tripped along my skin. Tender they were, and soft.

I resisted though, turned deeper into sleep.

No, I will not wake.


A voice slipped through my mind. Silky it was, but menacing, too.

I’m imagining this. He’s not so suave.

Please don’t make me look.


A heated breath brushed by my skin. It tickled my temples and lifted tendrils of my hair.

Flushed, I floundered. The breeze seared the sweat at my temples.

I tossed myself and turned.


Though my eyes were shut against the light, he knew he had me.

I was present once more. The work could begin again.

Let me pretend, I thought. I pleaded. I raged in my head.

Please, let me pretend.


I heard the knives before I felt them. They were cold against my too-hot skin.

I nearly welcomed them, then.

Yes please, let’s go back to the knives.


I opened my eyes.

I saw him there, hunkered over me.

His bulging eyes peered at me from a misshapen face, and a protruding tongue licked at lips too thick.


He took his time.

He carved me well.

Me, his masterpiece, he said. My loveliness would transcend his hideousness, he said.


A small cut here. A little slash there.

He kept me plugged to the machine. Then I would not struggle, he said. I would not ruin the canvas.

A little more here, and a little more there. Some salt and some sand to widen the gaps.

He sang and cooed over me as he worked.


Give me a mirror, I said. I want to admire.


The hunched little man snorted and he cackled.

Anticipation robbed him of speech.

He crabbed among the detritus strewn about and held it out.


That shard – that blessed scrap.


I lifted my eyes. I stared at the thing I had become.

The intricate design, the color he’d rubbed into the wounds.

I was a tapestry of pain, an intricate engraving worthy of the highest king.



I was beautiful.


My breath escaped me with a sigh.

I blessed my little grotesque with a grateful smile. To destroy this would be cruel.

One quick jab, right at the throat. Yes, that would do it. That would allow me to sleep once more.


I was fast. Too fast for him.

Stunted fingers grabbed at me. They slipped and flailed at my blood as it flowed.

He howled. I gurgled. He screamed, enraged.

The symphony of my release echoed in the night.


Written in response to the Week of September 8th Prompt: Friday the 13th Horror

By Dean

By Dean


About KM Sullivan

Descended of pirates and revolutionaries, KM Sullivan is a lover and student of all things Irish. Born in the States, she is a dual US/Irish citizen, and studied history and politics at University College, Dublin – although, at the time, she seriously considered switching to law, if only so she could attend lectures at the castle on campus. She lives in the American Midwest with her son, two cats and a pesky character in her head named D (but you can call him Dubh). Her first book, Changelings: Into the Mist, a young adult historical fantasy is available now on Amazon and Barns and Noble. She can be found writing with said character at her blog, The D/A Dialogues.

16 comments on “Tapestry of pain

  1. Oh, my, Katie. This started off as kind of sensual, a woman being roused from her sleep. But, boy, did you make a sharp and skillful turn toward a living nightmare! I know the title should have clued me in, but I really liked how you slowly, almost tenderly, describe what is happening, revealing what the “tapestry of pain” is. The ending is perfect: she frees herself and deprives the grotesque of what he wants most. I really enjoyed this! This is the kind of story that gets under your skin (no pun intended 😉 ).

  2. This had a Frankenstein meets Lovecraft’s Herbert West vibe to it, dark-ling. Quite imaginative and visceral.

  3. I love it. There’s something so … loving about this and yet it chills me to the bone.

  4. Yowzaa. This one got me. A shard. Perfect. Well done.

  5. Ooo, another creepy one, well done!

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