The Ghost Watch
“Dad? Why are we here?”
“You know. Today is Ghost Watch.” Carin’s father kept his eyes locked on the tree-line. The wooden stand, used and reused over twenty generations, provided an excellent view. He would miss nothing. Maybe he would even see her before–Maybe. He took in a deep breathe of cold morning air and let it out in a long, misty plume.
“I know Ghost Watch, Dad,” said Carin with annoyed adolescent curiosity. “But why are we here? Why not one of us and the sacrifice?”
He said nothing. But there was a sacrifice. Carin wouldn’t understand. How could he? But he would in time.
Carin started to ask again but stopped as he saw his father tense, his jaw tighten. He finally looked out on the vale himself and saw them.
Ghosts. Dozens of them. Hundreds. They flowed from the woods like smoke before the wind, their mournful moans following. They had come for the sacrifice, so they could finally rest. When they neared the stand, Carin’s father put his strong, wide hand upon his shoulder.
“This is why we are here, son,” his father said with a sadness he hadn’t heard since his mother. Carin looked up confused? He was the sacrifice? No! Oh no!
His father shook his head and smiled, faintly. “No, son. Not you. Me.”
“Your Mom is there. She needs me. I’ll tell her you love her. Be good.”
Carin’s father walked down the stairs and gave himself to the ghosts.
This was a tough story to write in just 250 words! I would liked to have another 50 or so to flesh out a couple character points, but hey. Rules are rules, right? At least for now.
If you caught a distinct whiff of another old and wonderful story hidden in this one, good on you! I definitely intended for it to be there.
While I’m here, let me ask you a question? Have you seen my weekly newsletter? It’s called Thursday! and comes out on Wednesday, pretty much every week. I think you’ll like what I’m doing over there.
(Photo Credit: geno153 on Pixabay)