Weary souls felt a hopeful thrill at the first knock. Night was endless, no one and nothing familiar. No worth, only sin and error.
So many hours waiting for a new morning. Where had he been? They had been waiting so long.
But he pointed to the floor and said only,
Fall on your knees.
Angel voices were everywhere, talking nonsense, crafting fear.
He pulled up the blinds, everything outside the window was still dark.
One angel’s voice was steady.
Be not afraid.
They trembled. But the angel said,
That was not Him.
They waited on the earth for dawn.
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. Read the 2022 stories there all day.
Image from “Rattle,” my story for 2018
Via my friend Loren Eaton:
Dear writerly friends, welcome to Advent Ghosts 2022, the thirteenth annual shared storytelling event at ISLF. Thirteen may not be an auspicious number in genre fiction, but it represents something of an enduring tradition for this humble little blog. Over the years, a group of us have celebrated that peculiarly British tradition of telling spooky stories right before Christmas. Smithsonian Magazinehas an informative article about the practice, and you can learn more yourself by reading selections such as Elizabeth Gaskell’s “Old Nurse’s Story,” Algernon Blackwood’s “The Kit-Bag,” or E.F. Benson’s “Between the Lights.” To get more of an idea of what we do here, though, check out Neil Gaiman’s “Nicholas Was …”This little story clocks in at exactly 100 words — which is exactly what our tales do as well. We welcome anyone, and the rules are simple:
1) Email me at ISawLightningFall [at] gmail [dot] com.
2) Pen a scary story that’s exactly 100-words long — no more, no less.
3) Post the story to your blog on Saturday, December 17, and email the link to me. Hosting on ISLF is available for those without blogs or anyone who wants to write under a pseudonym. (Don’t worry, you’ll retain copyright!)
4) While you should feel free to write whatever you want to, know that I reserve the right to put a content warning on any story that I think needs it.
If you’re new to the group and would like to see some examples, give last year’s stories a gander.
Search tag “Advent Ghosts” to read all of my 100-word stories for this project over the years on Esse Diem. Then join us!
UPDATE: My 100-Word Story links:
2011 The Escape
2012 For Later and Unwanted
2014 The Last
2016 It's Not Mama