Michaeline: A Christmas Ghost Story

Welcome to this year’s Christmas story challenge! Here’s a somber little number to get us started on one of the longest nights of the year. Check back on Elizabeth’s post outlining the rules through the week! She’s also got a nice list of stories from challenges past. 

Unbeliever

A grizzled ghost from an old magazine looks at a young woman in a bed, possibly.

Stronger than death. (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

The first thing you should know about me is that I was a nuclear physicist. I didn’t believe in woo-woo, and I didn’t believe in goddamn ghosts. I believe in the laws of nature and mathematics. And, yeah, sure, my girlfriend told me about that baffling Hamlet and his “more things in your philosophy” quote. But ghosts aren’t real. I never believed.

The second thing you should know about me is that I was supposed to get married last Christmas to the most beautiful woman on the planet. Kind, smart, super-sexy and she loves me too. But I was hanging lights on our house (our first house) after a freak rainstorm, and the law of gravity ruled against me. What a fiasco. No wedding, no honeymoon, and she still wears my diamond and gets drunk every night while I continue to not exist. Believe me, it’s the last thing I wanted.

And yet, here I am. And it’s been nothing like the woo-woo people led me to expect. No tunnel, no bright lights, no mysterious angels with blazing swords, carving out a stairway to heaven. And, baffling enough, it’s not been anything like my serious atheist colleagues have posited, either. No nothing. I’m just hanging around the house, still grizzly from the three-day razor stubble after my last Thanksgiving, ambivalently sloughing around the house and the estate, alternately angry at my fate and overjoyed to see Jenny’s sweet naked face in the mornings. There was supposed to be nothing after death. Not something. And I’m still having trouble believing it.

And so this is Christmas, one year later. Jenny’s got her wedding dress out – I’d never gotten to see it, and I want to blurt out how wonderful she looks. She’s having trouble with Continue reading

Michaeline: Christmas Week Stories: The Travellers

A Japanese transport plane flying over mountains

Even when things don’t work out right, take the next chance! Fly! (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

Kenji snuggled down under his airline-provided blanket, a mask over his nose to keep out the germs and to rehumidify the dry cabin air. What a way to spend Christmas.

He’d tried to impress his American girlfriend by showing up on her doorstep on Christmas Eve, but his “girlfriend” turned out to be a 300-pound trucker with a wife and three kids. Kenji had collapsed in shock, and then the littlest one sneezed on him and spilled some apple juice on him, accidentally. Kenji regretted those hours on the internet, building up a fantasy future full of love and happiness, only to have his heart dashed to pieces and drowned in a toddler’s fluids. So, now, he was back on a plane – expensive first class, because the economy seats had all been full.

He’d be home by New Year’s Day, and have to explain to his mother why he was in debt up to his eyebrows, and still unmarried at the ripe old age of 31. He asked the stewardess for a bottle of wine, but was informed that no alcohol could be served until the plane was in the air and at cruising altitude. Damn.

La Guardia was cold and snowy, and there were tiny icicles hanging from luggage carts and fuel trucks that dashed along the icy tarmac. The only thing worse than going home to Japan in shame was having a delayed flight. He turned away from the tiny window as a leggy blonde sat down beside him. She wore dark sunglasses, but her platinum hair was unmistakable. Babette Lawson, star of stage and screen, was sitting beside him. Great. As if he didn’t have enough social anxiety in this one day to last for a life time, now he had 15 hours in which to make a fool of himself with a famous, gorgeous woman. He grunted and turned toward the window, disdained the dismal weather outside, and slammed the shade shut. Maybe he could pretend to be dead.

But no! Continue reading