Following the Ghost

Flash
Fran Laniado


Photo Credit: Estitxu Carton/Flickr (CC-by-sa)

I feel him in odd moments. He doesn’t haunt our house, or the place where he died, he haunts me. Just like he promised. Sometimes its a feeling, soft as a memory. Sometimes it’s more like he’s a truck that’s just hit me in my tracks.

I saw him for the first time at a hot dog stand, on my way to work. I never ate at those hot dog stands, for sanitary reasons. I just don’t trust them. But they were Dan’s guilty pleasure. He said that the risk made them taste even better. Which made me roll my eyes.

But the hot dogs didn’t kill him. A stupid fall down the stairs did that. For a long time I was angry for that. That he’d allow himself to be killed by such a stupid accident. Likely tripping over his own two feet. All I heard was the crash. I stop remembering then. Because I can’t allow myself to remember seeing him crumpled at the bottom of the stairwell. So I was quite surprised to see him at the hot dog stand six weeks later.

He wasn’t transparent, or translucent. There wasn’t cold air around him. His neck wasn’t tilted at that angle… He wore a green button-down shirt and blue jeans. My first thought was to wonder where he got the shirt; I didn’t recognize it. Then I remembered what happened. I walked toward him slowly as if he would disappear if I moved too fast. He stayed where he was, and then, as if sensing me, he turned around and gave me a smile and a small wave. When I was almost close enough to reach out and touch him, a bicycle went by, coming between us. By the time the bike was gone, so was he.

I’ve seen him since then. In the elevator at work (the door closed before I could get on). For some reason, I once saw him riding on the back of a garbage truck. I chased the truck for several blocks until I was forced to stop or be hit by a car. I sometimes wonder what will happen if I catch him. Will he pop, like a balloon, when I touch him? Or, will he take my hand, and take me with him, wherever he goes now, when he isn’t visiting me?

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Fran Laniado usually writes longer work, however she likes to write flash fiction as a way to clear her mind and her writing. A way to remind her what she needs on the page and what she doesn’t. She has had fiction published in Synchronized Chaos and New Works Review. She lives in New York and has a secret identity as a school teacher. Email: fl827[at]hotmail.com