Short Story Of the Day (flash piece), A Disease That Kills Off Ghosts by Bill Chance

“Now I know what a ghost is. Unfinished business, that’s what.”
― Salman Rushdie, The Satanic Verses

French Quarter
New Orleans, Louisiana
Halloween

I have been feeling in a deep hopeless rut lately, and I’m sure a lot of you have too. After writing another Sunday Snippet I decided to set an ambitious goal for myself. I’ll write a short piece of fiction every day and put it up here. Obviously, quality will vary – you get what you get. Length too – I’ll have to write something short on busy days. They will be raw first drafts and full of errors.

I’m not sure how long I can keep it up… I do write quickly, but coming up with an idea every day will be a difficult challenge. So far so good. Maybe a hundred in a row might be a good, achievable, and tough goal.

Here’s another one for today (#42). What do you think? Any comments, criticism, insults, ideas, prompts, abuse … anything is welcome. Feel free to comment or contact me.

Thanks for reading.


Over the last few summers I have gone to New Orleans for a Writing Marathon. Even though last year’s was a disaster –  I always look forward to it a lot. Let’s see – I learned about the New Orleans Writing Marathon on November 11, 2012 when Candy ran into one of the participants at breakfast at St. Vincent’s Guest House.

Obviously, it was not going to be possible to pull this off live this year. So they did a virtual writing event instead. It was fun, not as fun as the real thing, but cool nonetheless. We did three writing sessions –  one10 minutes, and two 20 or so.  That gives me three entries. I did edit them a bit and change the point of view. It is what it is.


A Disease That Kills Off Ghosts

Sam couldn’t have imagined the French Quarter empty. Most of the Bourbon street bars never close – they are open all night, every night – or were. Because they never planned on closing they don’t even have doors. They had to nail plywood over the openings.

Molly’s on Decatur and a few other places barely closed during Katrina. And now they are empty. The streets are deserted. The pavement untrodden and the air unvibrated with music or shouting.

Sam found it to be beautiful in one sense. He lives in a high rise downtown and gets up before dawn to beat the awful summer humidity for his morning run. Sam now runs in the quarter, up Decatur and down Chartres, up Bourbon and down Royal. At dawn he has the beauty and the history all to himself.

But it isn’t right. It isn’t the same. Sam has seen some of the streets at odd times – times odder than He’d like to admit – times when there weren’t very many people out (and the people that were out you don’t want to meet). But nothing like this.

The ghosts can’t come out in times like this. A disease that kills off ghosts. Because how can you have ghosts without people to haunt? How can you have a specter without crowds to gasp.

It is a gap in time. A space without history. All spaces have ends, though. He can’t imagine the end – but it will come. The crowds, the drunks the music will reappear.

And so will the ghosts.

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