I tried to win some music using the power of fast fiction, the limitation being ghost stories AND only 55 words exactly.
I did not win the music.
Instead, I won the fact that I wrote two ghost stories of 55 words a piece.
Seriously, ghosts don't get sarcasm. I had this dead boy bothering me at my new place, pressing cold skin against my bedroom window nightly, leaving fingerprints. I'm two floors up. Hard to clean.
Last night, doorbell rings. He's there, dead, blue.
"Great! It's you! Please come in! Make yourself at home!"
And he did.
I never realized how much my father hated me until he passed away. I woke in the middle of the night to find him learning over me, his eyes milky, whispering "I hate you I hate you I hate you."
His moustache was neatly trimmed.
It looked good.
When I was young, his kisses scratched.
The children came by on Easter Eve and we had the whole house decked out. Old bedsheets hung from the walls, painted a spattered gray so that with the lights off, the rooms of the first floor resembled chambers in a sepulchral cave.
The kids, wired already from the chocolate eggs they had eaten at home after dinner, raced around to look at the decorations: a shrouded skeleton laying on the dining room table, symbols of the early Christian church arranged tastefuly, a pile of scattered chicken bones that we told them were left by grave-robbers.
We started the fun and games by gathering the children and helping them apply blindfolds. While they giggled, scratched their noses, fiddled with the knots, we started the same story we tell every year at Easter.
"Jesus Christ was said to be a wise man. But during his life, he made enemies who had more political power than him, so they had him crucified. After Jesus died upon the cross and his enemies were satisfied that he was dead, his body was taken down... and put in here! The tomb of Jesus!"
And the adults set up a wailing and hooting cacaphony and the kids laughed and hugged themselves, making sounds of mock terror. Except for Buster, who lost control of his bladder and had to be led quietly away by his mother to be cleaned up.
"Put out your hands!"
And the children obediently put their hands out to be guided into a heavy ceramic bowl. They tilted their heads back, trying to see through gap at the bottom of the blindfold as their fingers were dipped into cold spaghetti noodles.
"This... is his HAIR! Jesus' HAIR!"
We would tug playfully at the arms of kids who withdrew their hands at the first sounds of disgust from their friends, but if they wouldn't put their hand in the spaghetti, we wouldn't make them. The next bowl was brought out, this one full of peeled grapes.
"These... are his EYES! Jesus' EYES!"
Every year, some kid would ask the obvious and say "Why are there so many eyes? Shouldn't he only have two?"
"Of course he had two," we'd explain. "At first. But when we took them out so you could feel them, a miracle occurred! It's like that time when Jesus fed the multitudes with only a few loaves of bread and a meager catch of fish. Through the grace of God, they multiplied so that there was enough for everyone."
That seemed to satisfy them.
It continued like that for awhile until we reached the pinnacle of the evening. The kids' sugar highs were wearing off and they were tired of wearing blindfolds so we let them take them off and started helping them into their jackets. Then, the front door would shake as a fist slowly knocked against the door.
"Who could that be, kids?"
They looked around, wide-eyed, and through the door we heard "Who... has... my... .eyes? I.... WANT... MY.... EYES!"
"It's zombie Jesus, kids! It's Easter and he has arisen! Oh no! He knows we were touching his eyes!"
Some of the younger kids started mewling at this point, but mothers stroked heads and fathers jutted jaws and reassured them, saying "Don't worry. We're all safe inside the Easter House. We'll just wait here until the Easter Bunny arrives and chases Jesus off."
That would be the cue. Outside, we heard more thumping on the porch and the doorbell would ring. One of the parents looked at the kids, raised an eyebrow like to see if they're ready, then swung the door open to reveal... the Easter Bunny! With enough baskets for everyone at the party!
"Did you see Jesus out there, Easter Bunny?"
"I did, yes, but he's gone now."
"Did you scare him off?"
"I didn't have to. He was already leaving. He knew your parents weren't going to open that door for anyone but me!"
"Did you see how he didn't have any eyes?"
"Sure he had eyes! He probably grew them back while he was out on the porch. If Jesus needs eyes, you can be sure he'd get them. He's the Son of God, after all!"
We warned the kids not to touch the candy that late at night, that they should wait until the next morning and have them on Easter proper, but it never failed that at least a few of them would have trouble sleeping, tummies upset from too much chocolate.
It happened every year. And it's never too soon to start thinking about how we're going to top this year's Easter House next year. The Wolverston's suggested that some of us could actually dress up as grave-robbers and be chased out of the cave, but we didn't think the kids would understand what was going on or think it was fun.
We are going to invest in a strobe light, though. We're not entirely sure how we're going to use it, but it will definitely add to the experience.
It will be a damn shame when the kids get too old for Easter House. A damn shame. But they don't stay that gullible age forever. More's the pity.