Christmas, Possibly to Come

Image: holly leaves. Text: A Christmas ghost can make you see things.

Christmas, Possibly to Come

Short story by Iris Carden

Dazza woke to find the ghostly figure standing at the end of his bed.

“Who are you and what the hell are you doing here?” Dazza demanded.

The figure sat on the side of the bed.  “I’m the ghost of Christmas, Possibly to Come.”

“Right, right, I get it.  I’ve read the book.  Three of you are going to visit to tell me why I should change my ways.”

“Nah, mate. First you didn’t read the book. You watched that Bill Murray movie Scrooged, and second, you’re a special case.”

“Special case?”

“Yeah.  Special cases are the ones we know aren’t going to change, so instead of doing the whole triple-haunting, we draw straws and the loser comes to hang out with you for a while.  No point in putting our best work into one we don’t have a chance of winning.”

“Fair enough. So what do we do now?””

“We just hang out for about an hour, so I can say I gave it a go.”

“Righto.” Dazza sat up, and opened a drawer in his bedside table.  He took a pinch of powder out of a bag in the draw and laid it out on his finger, then inhaled it.  “You want a hit?” he asked.

“Nah. Wouldn’t work on me.  Ghost. No brain cells to fry.”

“So, you can walk through walls and stuff like that?”

“Yeah.  It’s really cool at first, then it’s just blah, you know. Novelty wears off.”

“Could be useful in my line of work.”

“But I’m incorporeal.  I can walk through walls, but once I’m inside, I can’t do anything much.  You need to be able to touch things, and people.”

“I guess I wouldn’t get paid much for scaring targets.  Unless I could scare them to death.”

“Only thing that makes you scary is that you kill people.  If you couldn’t do that, you really wouldn’t be all that scary.  You’d be just as pathetic as me.”

“I get that.  So if you did the whole drama, what would you have showed me?”

“Well, if you keep going at your current job, you’d be rich but have no friends and die alone. I’d probably show you your funeral, where no-one attends, and the celebrant isn’t putting in any effort anyway. It’s abysmal. Really you should just prepay one of those no-fuss cremations, so you can be burned and disposed off without the bother.”

“Good advice. And if I didn’t continue my current career? If I changed my wicked ways? What option do you have for me then?”

“If you quit your job, did something normal instead, you’d get married, have kids, blah, blah blah. I can show you the pretty pictures if you want.”

“Don’t bother showing me. I wouldn’t be rich?”

“You wouldn’t be as rich.”

“I can see why you didn’t bring your A-game.”

“I know, right.”

“You know you look weirdly familiar.”

“Really?”

“Could you be someone I might have been hired to ah, kill?”

“Memories of my human life are a big hazy, but, um. Maybe. Come to think of it, yeah.”

“No hard feelings, mate.  Just business.”

“Oh I’m not sure, but I think…. Yes I think I do have hard feelings.  I didn’t want to die, and I really didn’t want this dumb gig.”

“So what are you going to do about it.  You said it yourself.  You’re incorporeal. You can’t touch me.”

“Dazza, Dazza, Dazza, you really should have read the book.  I’m a Christmas ghost.  I can’t touch you, but I can make you see things.”

Dazza’s bedroom suddenly disappeared.  He seemed to be in a very dark place.  He couldn’t see anything but darkness, so deep it seemed physical, and there was absolutely no sound in that deep darkness.

“Very clever,” Dazza said. His voice boomed against the deep silence. “So you can make me think I’m alone in the dark.  How long do you plan to play this stupid little game then? The whole hour you’re supposed to spend with me?”

“I think forever,” the ghost respond, the sound exploding next to his ear.  “Forever works for me.  Does forever work for you? Don’t bother answering. I can see how much you’re enjoying yourself. Yeah, I think we’ll make this forever.”

By Iris Carden

Iris Carden is an Australian indie author, mother, grandmother, and chronic illness patient. On good days, she writes. Because of the unpredictability of her health, she writes on an indie basis, not trying to meet deadlines. She lives on a disability support pension now, but her ultimate dream is to earn her own living from her writing.

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