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


The wind was so strong.  It reminded Tom of kite-flying as a boy with a kite as red as Rachel’s lips on their wedding day.  They had met the summer he broke his arm.  He had broken six bones in his life; the worst was his femur.  He broke it falling off the roof while replacing shingles one summer.

A fall of all things …

Fall was his favourite season.  It made him think of apple cider and the smoke of leaf burnings.  He had burned his tongue drinking his coffee too quickly this morning.  That always happened when he was running late for work.  In high school, he prided himself on his speed.  He even went to state for the 110 hurdles one year, but he fell and broke his ankle.

Tom Jr had broken his ankle at seven jumping off a swing.  Rachel had been terrified.  She blamed Tom for not watching closely enough.  His watch—he should have taken it off.

The lights of the building were flying past like the shooting stars he and his first love saw that night in the mountains.

The wind was so strong.  In a moment, he would never feel it again.

* * *

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Story by Gregory M. Fox
from A Breath of Fiction’s archives
originally published November 14, 2010