KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 12: Summer 2019
Micro-Fiction: 454 words


by Colleen Kearney Rich


I see something, Rae says, in almost a whisper, and we quiet down. We are sitting in Rae’s old Corolla, drinking cheap beer, on some dark road, in front of a decrepit house that was supposed to be a Civil War hospital at some point. We squint into the darkness, leaning forward, and hope we don’t see a thing. It is cold as shit tonight, and some of us wish we had worn real coats, and maybe gloves, instead of throwing on sweatshirts for a joy ride. Rae loves this kind of stuff, and we indulge her because we’ve known her forever, since before her little brother died and the ghost stuff started. Something is moving, over there by what was once a hedge. Do you see it? Rae asks. And maybe we do. It is the moonlight, a scrap of newspaper, someone’s old shirt, not a ghost, not a ghost. It’s a dog, someone whispers, a little terrier. A terrier? someone else says, mocking. We are quiet again. The terrier or whatever it is moves along the bottom of the hedge. It looks like a possum now, its eyes glowing at us like evil itself.


Yeah, we did go out to that old broken-down house on Old Sawmill Road, the one that was used as a Civil War hospital more than 100 years ago, the one where soldiers who don’t know they are dead are supposed to wander around the lawn. We parked on the road across from the house and waited. It was cold as shit, but clear. Maybe we had had a few beers. We did see some movement in the yard. It was wispy and moved around the hedges. Was it a ghost? Hard to say. We didn’t get out to see what it was. No soldiers, but a pair of glowing eyes. It could’ve been some kind of animal. It probably was an animal.


Rae thinks about the soldiers, guys who died so young, probably from horrible injuries that couldn’t be healed, so far from home. It had been a house, a family’s home, before the army took it over and made it a hospital. That’s what the newspaper article had said. There was supposed to be a stain on the hardwood floors that would never go away, and graffiti that the mutilated soldiers scrawled on the walls so someone would know that they had been there. It is no wonder people couldn’t live there. Someone in the backseat pops open another beer. Someone else is talking about a dog. Rae thinks she can almost make out the front porch in the moonlight and the soldiers sitting there in chairs, writing home, wanting to be heard.


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