It’s time for the week 43 flash fiction challenge from the ever incredible Thain in Vain.  This week’s promptLet’s write a scary story! Use this picture as your inspiration!


I watched the movie Oculus about a month ago with my son and it scared the crap out of me!  This story was inspired by that movie and, of course, the photo.  I hope you enjoy!


I’m sitting on a cot in the sparse room, legs crossed, clutching a blanket around me.  Dr. Lindstrom sits on a chair in the middle of the room, out of place but stoic, like a queen visiting her mentally disturbed subjects, offering what she thinks is solace but what comes across as disdainful judgment.

I know what she thinks. I also know why I’m locked in a room with bars on the windows.

“Are you still having the nightmares?”  Her voice echoes off the cement walls.

“Nightmare.  Just one.  The same one every time.”

It started right after dad brought the painting home from the flea market.  He was so excited he didn’t waste any time hanging it above the desk in his office.  I didn’t get it.  I had always thought Mona Lisa was an ugly painting, namesake or not.

“I’ll look into increasing your medication.  Let’s see if we can get them to stop.”

“It won’t help.  You can’t help me.”

“I can’t help you if you won’t help yourself.”  Her words bite at me with their razor sharp condemnation.

I bow my head and give in to the tears that never seem far away anymore.

That first night, I dreamed of the woman in the painting, only she was different, changed into something else.  Her face was wrinkled and morphed, her hands claw-like with cobwebs imprisoning them against her chest.  She looked straight at me, her inky black eyes popping out of her skull, blank expression never wavering.

The nightmares continued every night and bled into the daylight hours.  I started losing time, not remembering things I’d done.  My parents were concerned, but I think they were embarrassed too because they didn’t take me to a doctor or a priest.  Maybe they were planning on it.  Everything happened so fast, it’s hard to know how they would have responded in a week or a month.

“Mona, do you remember anything else about that night?  In our last session, you told me you went into your Dad’s office after waking up from a nightmare.”

“I don’t know,” I mumble into the blankets.  I’m so tired.

My tear-filled eyes close and I’m dragged into the darkness, leaving Dr. Lindstrom behind in the cell.

I open the door to Dad’s office.  My heart is beating loudly in my ears and my breath is coming in gasps.  I don’t want to go in, but something pulls at me, forces me to walk into the mostly dark room.  The house is still around me and I don’t hear anything but the maelstrom from my body.  My eyes dart around trying to see what brought me here and finally settle on the Mona Lisa with her bizarre half smile and slightly vacant eyes. 

Slowly, the image transforms into the demented image in my nightmare and I’m screaming, trying in vain to run out of the room.   She is standing now, stepping out of the painting, walking slowly, inevitably toward me and I am helpless to stop it. 


13 thoughts on “Mona

  1. Pingback: Flash Fiction Challenge – Week 43 Submissions | Thain in Vain

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