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I wrote the following for a ghost story competition our writer's club recently held. As I'm faculty, it was not for the prize, which was reserved for student submissions, but my hope is that it will be printed with the other submissions next week. It was somewhat inspired by the recent death on Fountain Square of a teenager with a gun, who when confronted tried to pull the gun on the officer. By all accounts he was a "good kid" who made a "bad decision."

Oh-- and I will be back for Nanowrimo. I have a story outline and everything. Everything, that is, but time.

Ghost Watch

I don’t know how often it happens. Not every night, surely. The light has to be just so, the air just the right mix of summer tang and fall crisp cool. That’s when the boy comes running down this muddy alley outside my window.

He’s been running down this alley all his life, playing tag, ball, Cowboys and Indians, or whatever they call it nowadays. It’s his familiar territory, his run down playground in a neighborhood where the playgrounds themselves are too dangerous for children.

But this time he doesn’t have a ball in his hand, or a stick pretend gun. The snub-nosed revolver does not so much reflect the fading light as draw it in, like a black hole. It looks like it weighs more than he thought it would, this almost-a-man child, too tall and skinny, running from what will be his last decision. He didn’t even get any money— got too spooked when the old lady behind the counter gave him that disappointed look like his grandma and said, “Now, Boy, you surely don’t want to do this….” He found she was right, and so he ran.

I see him out the window rushing by, see the man in the uniform step into his path at the far end of the alley. I don’t hear anything. I see the boy scramble to a stop, start back the other way, scramble again as he sees the second cop blacking his way out, raise his arm aimlessly, jerk as his body is pierced by bullets from both directions.

I do hear the gun clatter to the street, then disappear as the rest of the scene also fades. The boy stands beside me now, silver blood leaking from his translucent chest. He looks at the gaping wound in my temple and shakes his head. On other nights, he watches me in this same alley, reaping the whirlwind of my last bad decision, made in 1967. He even sat up as a kid and watched for me to appear, as all the older kids told him I would. But he didn’t see me, then.

“Damned shame.”

(no subject)

Date: 2011-11-01 01:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] father-turtle.livejournal.com
Good stuff.

And I hope you can sneak in some time for NaNo. You should be writing.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-03-09 10:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] timeofchange.livejournal.com
I ended up covered in goosebumps. This is really great, and ineffably sad.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-03-10 01:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hobgoblinn.livejournal.com
Thanks. I really liked the way this turned out. And the real life situation was terribly sad. I walk by there almost every day-- it's a block from my work downtown.
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