Forgiveness: A Flash Fiction
The lights flickered, as they often do at this time of the night. A soft voice broke the silence.
“Dear, that ghost is back.”
A couple, in their thirties, lay tucked into bed. Each one held a book. The man closed his book with a thump. He rubbed his eyes, pushing his glasses up to his forehead as he did so. “That’s the third time this week.”
“Fourth,” the woman corrected. She still held her book open, “It’s your turn to see what she wants.”
The man breathed a sigh and pulled himself from the bed, “She’ll talk about her lovely children again.” His wife just smirked, and continued reading.
The man let the bedroom door close behind him as he entered the hallway. He wished he had glanced at the clock but he figured it was after ten o’clock. Their bedroom was located in the back corner of the second floor. At the center of the house was a wide staircase. A large, dome window was set into the ceiling above the staircase casting eerie shadows into the foyer at it’s base. The pale light of the nearly full moon bathed the lower level of the house.
A woman gazed down from the top of the staircase. The banister could be seen through her illuminated image, her right hand rested upon the polished rail. The pale woman turned to regard the man as he approached. There was no hesitation in his gait.
“My apologies if I woke you, Nathaniel.” Her voice came out as a whisper but the man could hear her clearly.
The man shook his head, “It’s Jacob.”
She lowered her head, melancholy pulled her ghostly features into a frown. “Of course, of course. I’m so sorry, it is all so dreadfully confusing. I seek only forgiveness.”
A rhythmic sound echoed through the foyer. It was a sickening, meaty thud. Jacob took two steps away from the ghostly image of Carolynn. “Forgiveness for what?” He tried to swallow the panic rising in his throat.
“They will never forgive me.”
The room grew dark. Jacob looked to the skylight. No moon. Only darkness.
A bolt of lightening cracked, carrying static across his skin, raising the small hairs on his neck. Thunder rumbled deep in his chest and shook the floor beneath his feet.
Carolynn stood inches away from him with her clear eyes piercing, “Can you forgive me, Nathaniel?”
Jacob retreated in panic but felt air beneath his second step. Pain pounded away at his body as he lost consciousness.
When Jacob awoke, the foyer was well-lit but he could still see the night sky through the skylight.
“Hold still. You’ll be fine,” a calming male voice said.
“Your leg is broken,” Jacob’s wife blurted. She was holding his hand and her eyes were red with tears.
“We’re taking you for some x-rays, Mr. Donoghue. They’ll make a diagnosis there,” the EMT and his assistant exchanged a look, as if they held secret information. “You’re lucky. I responded to call here a few years ago. Poor guy tripped in the middle of the night, same as you.” The EMT shifted his eyes away then cleared his throat. “The oddest part is that I was told he wasn’t the first.” He looked around, “It’s said this house is haunted, but there’s always nonsense rumors about nice houses like this.”
Carolynn looked down at Jacob and smiled.