The Tramp

1835. Sallie startled at the knocking - tramps often traveled through, but not in December.

His coat wasn’t heavy enough, and was cut twenty years ago.

“Spare some bread? Maybe coffee?”

“Of course. Wait here a moment.”

There was no coffee, but soup was on the stove. She dipped out a cupful, automatically setting a tray, slicing bread… wait. Why was she making a charity tray?

Was there a tramp, in this weather?

Yes, she remembered the knocking. But why nothing else?

Sallie hesitantly stepped out the door, and found herself back inside; tray, cup, and memory all empty. She shivered.

This is my effort in the annual Advent Ghosts 100 Word Storytelling put on by my friend Loren Eaton at I Saw Lightning Fall. See other entries there. Thanks, Loren!

2014 Advent Ghost Story: The Camera Sees
2013 Advent Ghost Story: Olde Haunts
2012 Advent Ghost Story: The Madness Of The King

“Whenever five or six English-speaking people meet round a fire on Christmas Eve, they start telling each other ghost stories,” wrote British humorist Jerome K. Jerome as part of his introduction to an anthology of Christmas ghost stories titled “Told After Supper“ in 1891. “Nothing satisfies us on Christmas Eve but to hear each other tell authentic anecdotes about specters.” The practice of gathering around the fire on Christmas Eve to tell ghost stories was as much a part of Christmas for the Victorian English as Santa Claus is for us." (Jeffrey Peterson, Telling Ghost Stories Is A Lost Tradition on Christmas Eve, Deseret News)

Read more about: The Origins Of Ghost Stories At Christmastime