An Advent Ghost

14 Dec

Behind urgent toes, heels in a steady pace, small glazed pine cones crunched into frozen pine needles. A late December wind with snow spitting in his face, the traveler forged on.

Owls hoot! Shadows dart! Dead limbs snap! Moonlight guides him to a glowing rising bend. Boot soles slide on unseen ice —balance is regained.

Dim grey clouds begin to fade from dusk. Curling nested squirrels brightly tick eventide; on his path, still short of distant village lights.

Snow, now steadily blowing in a whiteout slant, flicker the orange and yellow glow of the houses steady burning lamps.

The wind tore through his over-coat; threads fluttered and shredded behind him as he hastened to a saved empty seat.

It’s been twenty years, since he left the family’s livery stables. He remembered when he left that place, with disappointment and half smiles on his family’s face. Traveling with his friends he rode out of town. He rode hard and fast following youthful delusions; robbing banks and railroads. Now, with empty hands carrying nothing, except a wanted poster, folded in his pocket: dead or alive and unloaded pistol holstered in the essence of a child.

   In scented moonlight he caught the smoke that waffled thru the familiar stone chimney and the scent of a welcomed arrival in the house of true warmth; they were seated in the glow at table side, where they lit the center white candle —awaiting Christmastide.

He is the prodigal ghost, just arrived.


Posted by on December 14, 2019 in Poetry


15 responses to “An Advent Ghost

  1. thotpurge

    December 17, 2019 at 12:24 am

    prodigal ghost – makes me think he was more dead than alive… evocative writing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Rosemary Nissen-Wade

    December 16, 2019 at 8:28 pm

    An enthralling and poignant story.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Magaly Guerrero

    December 16, 2019 at 11:19 am

    Coming home holds the best of scents…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sumana Roy

    December 15, 2019 at 11:33 pm

    All the scenes are from a magical world as it were. Beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Margaret Elizabeth Bednar

    December 15, 2019 at 9:19 pm

    With that wanted poster folded in his pocket… he may decide to stay outside looking in. The choices we make are so important – and youth often squanders them. Lovely writing!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. dsnake1

    December 15, 2019 at 8:45 pm

    now i know who that “saved empty chair” is for.
    sad and poignant, but heart warming. the holidays, the family still misses him. what a great Christmas tale.
    Wonderful to read you again, my friend! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wendy Bourke

    December 15, 2019 at 8:38 pm

    I love everything about this wonderfully rendered bit of flash fiction … the wordsmithing, the construction, the story. You are a very talented writer.

    Liked by 1 person


    December 15, 2019 at 6:22 pm

    The cold wind is palpable and the village lights hopeful.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. gillena cox

    December 15, 2019 at 5:32 pm

    Hi ZQ is sure is good to see your links again. Warm wishes and a steady journeying pace


    Liked by 1 person

  10. sanaarizvi

    December 15, 2019 at 5:31 pm

    This is deeply evocative! ❤️ I love the atmospheric quality of this narrative poem 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Kestril Trueseeker

    December 15, 2019 at 4:32 pm

    It seems the desperado has come to his sense and decided to find home.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. scotthastiepoet

    December 15, 2019 at 1:39 pm

    Fresh and original as ever, my friend… Nicely conjured narrative… And found several of you pieces directly below equally stimulating.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. hhennenburg

    December 15, 2019 at 1:23 pm

    I savoured every word of this beautiful scene and homecoming. Truly wonderful!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Sherry Marr

    December 15, 2019 at 1:08 pm

    The prodigal ghost just arrived. Rather like you, my friend. I was starting to worry about you. Smiles. You have written this so beautifully, such cool descriptions. Loved it.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. magicalmysticalteacher

    December 15, 2019 at 11:41 am

    One wonders what kind of reception the prodigal will receive when he steps from the cold into the warmth of the house. Surprise? Disgust? Rejection? Hostility? Or unfeigned love? You’ve left the story unfinished, so my thoughts are free to wander.

    Liked by 1 person


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