Clock face is blinking. All is not calm, despite acceptable profits, contract bonuses—some unavoidable layoffs. Year end in the black as starless night, silent night, without bells or winds. On Christmas Eve, only sleepless, blinking red numbers.
But who’s on the lawn below? Hollow-eyed, ashen children are kicking cans, and are they singing? I throw up the sash. “Born to raise the sons of earth . . .” they rattle.
I start to yell, but a rag-wrapped child grabs my hand. “I would have been seven this Christmas.”
I jerk back, and they’re gone, leaving my hand chilled.
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I wrote this in response to Loren Eaton’s group solicitation for 100-word advent ghost stories. Read more such stories by way of his blog, I Saw Lightning Fall.