First appearing to me when I was a child, it rattled past the ornament box I’d come to claim from a dark corner of our garage.
Only bones. Its back curved gently along the spine, its toes landing with a soft tap as it walked, stilting, no skin on anything. Even the tail was bare, white, hard.
It had a shyness mixed with urgency, wanting something. 30 years later I still don’t know what.
Part of myself moved with that creature.
I never told anyone. Alive and not.
It still comes when I call. I don’t talk about that, either.
This is an exactly 100-word flash fiction piece for a tradition of writing ghost stories on Christmas Eve. We acknowledge a sinful and hopeless world, and welcome the dawn in full awareness that Christmas day brings us light.
Advent Ghosts 100 Word Storytelling is put on by Loren Eaton at I Saw Lightning Fall. See other entries there.
Note: I regret being unable to provide attribution for the photo. This is as close as I could get to the source.
Shared Storytelling: Advent Ghosts 2018 by Loren Eaton
“We hardly look at the stars anymore or even the lanterns we hung centuries before to blot out the night from our sight. The wind whistles down empty city streets whose cratered and pocked surfaces betray their long lack of use. Commerce of both the legitimate and illicit type takes place in the light-strung skyways linking the megopolis’ highest spires or in the metro tunnels beneath the ancient pavement or through the indecipherable network of hand-carved caverns chipped out by generations of subterranean squatters. But only the moneyed or mad or desperate or damned venture out much anymore. Even infants get socketed, and once you’ve pegged in to the Lattice, slipping the thumb-sized plug of hyperconductive alloy into the surgically installed socket between your C1 and skull, then you see it. The vast digital distraction sends its digital shivers shuddering down your nerves, a distraction bespoke and beautiful—at least until the signal bleeds or the power grid surges. Then the lights go out, and a district seems to shudder, to rouse itself, to move as a great beast wakened from slumber. Doors open onto balconies. Blinking forms peer out into hallways. Children scamper off into the shadows, scavenging up scraps with which to mock physical forms of their digital simulacra. And wide-eyed, jack-scrambled wanderers stagger this way and that, saying they saw those crude golems move.
People laugh, shift uncomfortably, and try not to admit to themselves that there seem to be more children frolicking in the gloom than they’d initially noticed …
Welcome to Advent Ghosts 2018, the ninth annual shared storytelling event at ISLF. For more than a century, the days preceding Christmas have been a time to swap spooky tales, building camaraderie around creepy conceits. So we write . . .”
Join us here tomorrow for Esse Diem’s offering this year, then swing over to Loren Eaton’s blog, I Saw Lightning Fall, to find links to all the 2018 stories!