For the past few years I have enjoyed participating in I Saw Lightning Fall’s Advent Ghosts. It used to be that ghost stories (or just creepy stories) were a part of the holiday tradition, and Advent Ghosts is just one way to re-embrace that tradition, if only in a small way. The rules are that you’re supposed to write a scary/creepy/unnerving drabble and share it on your blog on the 19th. A drabble, for anyone scratching their head right now, is a story that is exactly 100 words long.
As with every year that I’ve participated my story this year is not a drabble–though I think it’s the shortest one I’ve ever shared for this event so who knows, maybe someday I’ll hit the mark 😉
Trying to be Brave
by Rhonda Parrish
Though she could no longer hear it, Wren knew the beast was still out there somewhere, somewhere near—skulking, still and silent, among the cedars. She pressed her back harder against the tree trunk, praying it was wide enough to hide her, and tried to be brave.
She slowed her breathing—in, hold, out—and exhaled through her woolen mittens—in, hold, out—to keep feeling in her fingers and diffuse the cloud of breath that would give away her position.
She was trying to be brave—trying so hard to be brave—but Jack’s screams lingered, echoing inside her like the ding, dong, dong of the church bell. It would be ringing soon—the bell—but there was a frozen lake between her and it, and the beast was near.
But help wouldn’t be coming. She’d sneaked away, tip-toeing past her parents door while they still slumbered. Danced from shadow to shadow through the village, across the lake, to meet her love beneath the treetops to steal kisses and play at magic. Help wasn’t coming, because it didn’t know it was necessary.
And now, even the sun was retreating, soundlessly creeping across the sky to hide behind the treeline. She could stay and wait for the end—the sneaky, silent, forever sleep offered by the cold, or the screaming, struggling, steaming death of the beast—or she could run.
Wren took a couple good deep breaths—in, hold, out. The village needed to be warned. Needed to know what waited in the woods, what she and Jack had awakened.
With a whispered prayer Wren leapt from her hiding place and tried to be brave.
You can also read my past attempts at Advent Ghosts stories:
Come In (2013)
A Million Pieces (2014)
or check out the rest of this year’s entries at I Saw Lightning Fall.