Linked up with EatSleepWrite for Master Class Monday.
This is my take on the prompt "along with the crowd"
Anne huddled in the corner of the cushionless love seat. Her head bowed, arms hugging knees drawn up to her chest. Her tangled red hair hung limply over her face. Discreetly peeking through the veil of hair, she inspected her surroundings. Cinder block walls stained with moisture, an uneven, crumbling concrete floor combined with thumps from above confirmed the hunch that she was in a basement.
Elsewhere in the cellar she could hear sobbing intermingled with angry tirades of creative cursing from fellow captives. Her ears perceived perhaps a dozen other women sharing her prison.
The smell of rotting fabric vying with the medicinal odor of an anesthetic was abruptly overpowered by the the foul odor of death and decay. Fingers parted her hair, a partially decomposed hand cupped her chin, forcing her head up. She summoned an appropriate shriek as she studied the creature in front of her.
The flesh gripping her chin was spongy, and she assumed was the same purple tinted grey-green as the mutilated face. No life shone from clouded eyes. No breath expelled from between decaying lips.
Her study was interrupted by the thwack of a two by four connecting with the corrupted flesh. "Get away from her! You back off or I'll make you deader'n you already are!" To Anne's surprise, the creature shuffled away.
"You okay, honey? Ol' Squishy there, he ain't dangerous, just nosy. An' he stinks."
Anne remained silent, now studying her new companion. Dark skin with darker eyes, small in stature but large in attitude. Finally she spoke, "I'm fine, thank you. Just what is...Squishy?"
"Zombie, I guess. 'Cept he ain't tried to eat nobody. I'm Meeshie. Who're you?"
"Anne." She sized up the petite woman, then asked, "How long have you been here? How many others are there, and anyone know why?"
Meeshie offered a hand, "Well, I been here about a week, I think there's fourteen of us, maybe fifteen now." Anne grasped the proffered hand, allowing Meeshie to pull her from her seat. "Why're we here? No idea."
Anne Marie stretched, working out the kinks of sitting folded for hours. "I was grabbed off the street, same for everyone?"
"Was you workin'? Not judgin', just askin'. And, yeah, I think most of us was picked off the street."
"Working, yes, you could say that." She glanced around, trying to catch sight of the other women. "Were all of you working?"
"Nah. Only a couple really. I was just comin' back from the quickie mart with a slushie." Meeshie chuckled, "My cousin keeps tellin' me they ain't good for me." She scrutinized Anne closely, "You don't seem very shook up about joinin' the crowd."
Anne ignored the remark and cast a glance at the ceiling where the sound of footsteps had resumed. "And no one knows who's up there, calling the shots?"
"Nope, hauled here with hoods over our heads. After, we ain't seen nobody but Squishy." Meeshie looked away, shifting eyes belying her bravado. "An' that's the spooky part, spookier than Ol' Squishy himself."
Anne Marie gave an imperceptible nod, "Spooky indeed," she muttered, wondering just who was walking upstairs and what were they waiting for?