Saturday, December 24, 2011

My 2011 "Advent Ghosts" Story

The smell reached the old man as he chained the barn door: his wife roasting the last of the deer meat. Now they'd no food but grain, though he’d see about that.

He returned to the cabin, shaking snow from his coat.

How are they?

Wild, he answered. Forgotten all language. They still sing: noises not even words but I recognize the melodies.

Terrible. Our children.

They’re animals, he said. Never human. I trained them to build things, now they hide in the dead forest and sing. I found thirteen; the rest starved or froze. There’s fresh water and grain in the barn. That roast smells good.

What will we do? Can you retrain them?

He shook his head. They’ve gone feral. Won’t let me near them, don’t wear clothes and they’re covered with fur. Never saw such a thing.

He sat down, picking up knife and fork. I’ll fatten them up. We’ve slaughtered all the deer.

Oh Papa, the old woman said.

They aren’t human, Mama.

This story is my contribution to Loren Eaton's "Advent Ghosts" annual storywriting collaborative. You can read the rest of the stories at his blog here. Loren is very cool to host this year after year. Thanks, Loren!

The rules are to write a 100-word spooky story for Christmas Eve reading. I have cheated a bit here, coming in at 167 words. My first try was about 300 words. If I found the right angle I could probably get to 100 words, but I'm both happy with the story as it is and a very lazy old man, so I abandon my editing at this stage. Merry Christmas, everyone.


  1. Where is Davin? He'd totally love this, hehehe. This is seriously freaking creepy, Scott. Fantastic job!

  2. I'm seeing images of the last episode of The Walking Dead :)

    I loved this; how practical he is, thinking about "fattening them up", and the fur is quite intriguing. Very creepy Scott. Awesome :)


  3. i sense a serious backstory not told here - it makes it the more creepier.

  4. Like the desperation of this family that feels battered enough to contemplate the unthinkable.

  5. They're not human! Nice tagline Mr. Dahmer, sir.

  6. Oh, man, that's creepy. It also sets up an interesting ethical dilemma, namely discerning what it is that makes us human.

    On a related note, you might enjoy reading John Farris' "Hunting Meth Zombies in the Great Nebraskan Wasteland." Quirky little story, but with surprising depths.

  7. Very much enjoyed this. That may not be a good thing! Nice job.

  8. Thanks all for reading this! Thanks Loren for hosting again this year! It was fun writing a scary story about Santa and Mrs Claus that didn't involve chimneys.