All through town doors are shut and lights extinguished. The pale procession is coming. Everyone can see them, but you only hear the song if they’ve claimed you. If they have, it’s already too late.

I’ve been waiting for this night with dread, with curiosity, wondering what I would hear.

White shadows. Empty eyes. Silent steps. They move toward the river, writhing in slow motion. Tattered dresses eddy and pool in the moonlight. Mouths open to sing. And oh god, I already know the song.

Barefoot, bareheaded, I walk out into the night. None of the ghosts look at me, but I find an opening in the line for me. I walk. My lips part. The song wells up, spills out, erupts. I wonder if the people watching through their shudders can hear my cries of anguish. I wonder if anyone cares.

I follow the women to the river, to the bridge, where the pale procession always ends. From that vantage, I can see his house, the house where it happened. I wonder if he is watching. The song swells behind me, sorrowful, angry, and desperate.

But I refuse to let him win.

I walk on, and my sisters follow.

* * *

Story by Gregory M. Fox

Photo by Kenrick Mills on Unsplash