Wednesday Briefs: More Girls & Ghouls

The last installment of Two Girls & Some Ghouls. I apologize for making you wait an extra week, but I think you will find the wait was worth it. My story is more polished now. It’s a definite improvement from my draft!

The writing prompt Avery used for this week was to have a ghost in your story. I think Julie was helping me out with that one!! The story meets the word count; it’s over 500 words (but nowhere near the 1000 word limit).

I hope you enjoy what happens between Private Mansfield and Alex! Check out the links below for the other Wednesday Briefers!

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Photo courtesy of Kevin Mitnak

Two Girls & Some Ghouls (Part III)

by

Avery Dawes

Private Mansfield grew quiet, as if he was letting what he’d heard stew in his mind for a bit prior to making any additional inquiries. “And my wife? Is there anything good which you can tell me regarding her life?”

I looked to Steph. Truth be told, his wife had remarried when the war ended. Maybe five or six years after that, she’d died while giving birth to her fourth child, who then passed a couple of days later. Death and more death. Poor Private Mansfield. I definitely wouldn’t be sharing those particular tidbits with him.

Steph shrugged her shoulders, as if to say “I’ve got nothing.” Okay, so this was all me. Hmm, maybe there was some way I could spin it that wouldn’t be so painful. “She missed you very much after you passed in battle, and she made sure to take very good care of your son.” Technically what I told him wasn’t a lie, but definitely an oversimplification of his late wife’s timeline, leaving out the happily ever after (well, happily for a couple of years!) with another man.

The private nodded solemnly, then proceeded to scratch his thin beard. I wondered if he believed me. Was it possible that he saw through my thinly veiled omission? “Very well then,” he said at last. “What about my grandchildren? Can you tell me anything of them? Were you able to find anything about their lives?”

Now, that I could do. I hadn’t researched them as much as I had his wife, but I figured he might want to know. Private Mansfield struck me as a caring family man. Glad my instincts were right. “Your son and his wife had two boys and a girl. The eldest boy continued to farm your family’s land. Their younger son went to college and became a lawyer. Their daughter married a military man, a VMI graduate.”

Then, for the first time since I’d met him, Private Mansfield smiled a genuine smile that actually reached his previously empty eyes. “That all sounds very wonderful. Thank you so much for the news.” He hesitated. “I wish—”

“You don’t owe me anything. I was happy to do this for you. Just please, don’t share your experience with all your ghosty friends. I do have a full time job, one that keeps me pretty busy.” Not to mention that my girl friend would kill me if we spent all of our time hanging with some ghouls!

“I appreciate that. Your secret is safe with me and Joshua.” He tipped his ghostly hat to me. “Thank you again, Miss Alex.”

I watched, contented, as he and Joshua floated back into the corn, I turned to Steph. “My work here is done. I’m really sorry that you couldn’t see them. Did you hear any of what Private Mansfield said?”

Stepping closer, Steph wrapped her arm around my waist and rested her head on my shoulder. “I didn’t hear anything specific, but I got the gist of your conversation from the emotions he projected.”

“Huh. Well, that is kind of cool.” I wrapped my arm around her shoulders before pressing a kiss to the top of her head. “Thank you again for coming with me.”

I felt her smile when she replied, “Not a problem. Maybe we can do it again sometime?”

the end

Be sure to visit these Wednesday Briefers!

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