The Damned (Flash Ficton)

“You’ve got to go, Bob.” The others murmured and nodded in quiet agreement. Brian shrugged his shoulders reluctantly. “It’s just not working out.”

Bob felt numb. Ever since he’d moved in, he hadn’t been liked. The others feigned nice and were civil, but Bob knew better. He could see things clearly. “And?” he asked, looking at them with his daggered eyes. “Is there no explanation beyond that?”

“Bob, we’ve been back and forth on this a million times.” Brian gave a cold sigh. The wind stole his empty breathe and stirred it into the misty graveyard. “I don’t know how much more plain we can be.”

“Yeah,” Catherine said immediately. “You don’t have the spirit for this,” she said. She swung her arms around over the moldy headstones. “You just mope around. You don’t participate. This is the most important time of year for us. You know that.”

“This is ridiculous,” Bob said. “Really? Me? I don’t have spirit?” He laughed and pointed at the gaping hole in his chest. “Look at this. Other people would be ashamed of this, embarrassed. But I embrace my departure. I don’t shy away.” He turned and faced the other way and hovered over his burial plot. “This isn’t fair.”

“You don’t even moan or scream,” charged Susanne. “The last three full moons you haven’t even left your grave. It’s like you’re afraid of the living!”

“I am not afraid!” Bob shouted. “The living don’t scare me.” He folded his translucent arms over the hole in his chest. The thickening fog passed through it undisturbed. “I just don’t take this whole ghost thing so seriously. Why is that such a crime?”

Brian floated forward. His face was split down the middle in the most horrible way, the tragic result of a chainsawing accident. “Halloween is almost here, Bob. It’s important that we cultivate a strong presence in this place.”

“And why’s that Brian? Huh? What’s so important about inspiring fear?” Bob felt a smugness come over him.

The other three ghosts looked at each other with a sad look of bewilderment. Catherine sighed while Susanne threw up her hands. The two women both faded away into the thickening mist. Only Brian remained. “Because,” he said. “We fucking hate teenagers.” His vaporous formed twisted forward until his split head almost wrapped around Bob’s face. “We hate teenagers, Bob. We have to scare them to keep them away.”

“Stupid. All of you.” Bob raised his ethereal voice. “You’re stupid!” he shouted. Brian just turned and floated away. Bob felt vindicated in his triumph.

Three night’s later, on the eve of Halloween, the fog became the thickest and the living roamed the streets. One found his way into the cemetery. He was sent there on a devious dare to prove he wasn’t afraid, a dare the resulted in him pissing on Bob’s grave.

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