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In Twisted Candle Flames

Melissa was half-asleep as she plodded down the hallway of the old farm house her family had just bought. Stepping on an oak floor board, she winced as a deep creak filled the corridor. Moving back, she looked to see if anyone had awoken due to her clumsiness. Peering into a cracked door she spied her little brother sleeping peacefully. The moonlight flooded the room and shone on his cherubic face. She liked him like this, content and still. Eight hours from now he would be in full cowboy mode (his obsession of the month) romping around on Trixie (his stick pony) and roping anyone who stood still for too long.

She now found herself stalling and turned to continue down the staircase. Slowly she maneuvered around the rest of the noisy floor boards and made her way to the kitchen. Days ago when her father was at work and her mother shopping with her little brother, she had found a raised floor board under the kitchen table. She lifted the board and one next to it to find a ladder leading down a deep hole. Dropping her fork down it and counting to thirteen till it made a thump at the bottom revealed a cave of some kind.

Now she lit a candle and began to climb down in her bare feet. Soon she was surrounded by the silence of a dark room. Cold clay formed the walls and a rickety table sat in the corner. A chill ran down her spine as an icy wind brushed her cheek. She spun around just in time to see a silvery fluid mist disappear. No way could a ghost be in the house. Spirits only existed in movies she thought until the outline of a young African American man appeared to her. He had no face, no color, no clothes, just a human outline.

"Who are you?" she whispered unable to move.

"Is it time, can we go now?" he asked pointing to the corner table where the images of three children and an old woman appeared.

"Who brought you here?" Melissa said shakily.

"Mr. Johnson says he'll get us out. He says if we wait here, we'll get North safely." He answered.

Remembering that the house had been back during the Civil War and the times of slavery, Melissa's heart fell into her stomach.

"Mr. Johnson never came for you. You died here..." she told him sadly, "Mr. Johnson is dead now; you need to leave...crossover or whatever ghosts do."

"Mr. Johnson is a good man..." he answered and remembering how the Confederate Soldiers had rushed their hiding hole and shot everyone, even Mr. Johnson.

Slowly his outline filled with a face and color, old rag clothes draped his muscular and scared body. He joined his companions by the table and together they vanished. All that was left from their encounter were five skeletons illuminated by twisted candle flames.





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