He liked closing doors, the repetitive clang of chain-link boxes secured. The vibration satisfied him, made him feel safe. “You shouldn’t have come here, you know you brought this on yourself.” No matter their eyes, no matter the tears, he stood firm.
He’d just fallen asleep when he heard it. Same metal latch, but it slid, slowly. It opened.
Eyes wide in the dim light of his bedroom, he saw nothing. No one was there. That first night stretched into years.
The unwavering voice always whispered the same thing: “Come on, ese. We both know. You brought this on yourself.”
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.
“It was well once a year, if not oftener, to remind men by parable of the old, simple truths; to teach them that forgiveness, and charity, and the endeavor for life better and purer than each has lived, are the principles upon which alone the world holds together and gets forward. It was well for the comfortable and the refined to be put in mind of the savagery and suffering all round them, and to be taught, as Dickens was always teaching, that certain feelings which grace human nature, as tenderness for the sick and helpless, self-sacrifice and generosity, self-respect and manliness and womanliness, are the common heritage of the race, the direct gift of Heaven, shared equally by the rich and poor.” — William Dean Howells
Advent Ghosts 100 Word Storytelling is put on by Loren Eaton at I Saw Lightning Fall. You can read this year’s entries there. Visit back here throughout the day for a growing crop of spooky stories from a range of writers! Loren posts them all day today, the darkest day of the year.
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!