“The Escape” – Advent Ghosts 2011

This is an exactly 100-word flash fiction piece for a tradition of writing ghost stories on Christmas Eve. It’s an interesting concept to me, the idea of acknowledging on Christmas Eve a sinful and hopeless world, and to welcome the dawn in full awareness that Christmas day brings us light.

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The darkness ate people alive, numbing them to the consumption.

You make it yourself with stuff from around town.  It’s so cheap.  I feel like a god.  You have to try it.

In one news item, a band of children managed to escape the hell of their own home, only to run to the neighbor’s house for protection and find all of the adults there dead.  The corpses were thin with mouths full of black teeth and fingers charred from fire damage.  In their hollow eyes one could see they would live forever in a house they could never flee.

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This is my effort in the annual Advent Ghosts 100 Word Storytelling put on by Loren Eaton at I Saw Lightning Fall. See other entries there. Many thanks to West Virginia writer S.D. Smith who brought this unusual writing tradition to my attention today.

11 thoughts on ““The Escape” – Advent Ghosts 2011

    • Thank you, Jackie! It may seem strange to some to share these stories on Christmas Eve, but I related to this project. Every year on Christmas Eve my congregation sings “We 3 Kings” and there is no more haunting verse in Christmas music for me than:

      “Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume
      Breathes of life of gathering gloom
      Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying
      Sealed in the stone-cold tomb.”

      Only acknowledging the darkness can give us full gratitude for the morning.

  1. Yikes. This is haunting. The plague is a very real, frightening concept.

    Thanks for the verse in your above response. I’d never considered it in this context before, but it is certainly scary.

    …..dhole

    • Thanks for your comment! I am really glad this small piece of fiction seems to resonate with people. I’m also glad it works “as is” because I edited it from a passage in a short story I wrote this past year.

      In the longer piece, the reference to being unable to flee a house is actually to the children. They are living in a community suffering from rampant methamphetamine addiction. In the story they are waiting for adoption and foster care placement, but the idea is that they will never escape the scars of what they have seen.

      I really like that you perceived a larger trap, one that ensnared the dead adults as well. It is rewarding when readers see gestalt in my writing, sometimes such that I did not even recognize myself.

      Thanks for reading!

  2. Holy mackerel, that is some nasty stuff there. Perfectly fits the mood of the Advent Ghosts event.

    Thanks for joining us, Elizabeth. I know it was kind of last minute, but I’m glad you made it!

    • Thank YOU for allowing me to participate, Loren! This is a good project. Unique, accessible, and clearly you draw some good writers who know how to do a lot in 100 words. Some of those stories – the willies! – I still have chills.

      I have not finished reading them all but I will before the week is out.

      They are all really exceptional. While You Sleep by Simon Kewin completely freaked me out. I’m not sure I’m glad I read it, but that is the sign of influential writing!

      See you next year, maybe?

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