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Ghost Issue Table Of Contents

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It's the ghostly time of year, and I don't just mean Halloween; as the Earth goes deeper into sleep, imaginations spring forth with spooky tales. I'm thrilled with what EC is offering in this edition.

Without further ado:

The Headstone of Hezikiah Bronson, Hunter Ligore

Those Who Came Before, Gerri Leen

Death's Godson, Megan Hippler

Petunias, Alicia Cole

The Hanged Man's Touch, Adam Knight

Matches to Heaven, Shari L. Klase

Wuthering Heights Revisited, Fanni Suto



The Headstone of Hezikiah Bronson, By Hunter Ligore

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I am the headstone of Hezikiah Bronson, who was a Salem man with a shady demise. From my vantage I’ve seen things that would raise questions among you humans—like how I was placed beside his grave three nights before he was actually dead.

The story begins when I still lay dormant in a quarry, a mile east of Cemetery Road. I was cut free, and brought to the workshop, where I was shaped and given life under the chiseler’s tool. Tanner Wilson worked his art, and carved Hezikiah’s name onto my surface. Next came the dates of his birth and death—July 31, 1661 – October 21, 1691. A man still very much alive when it was carved. Tanner also added a line of scripture:
Beware the false ones, who come in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.
Under the cover of darkness, I was delivered to the cemetery, and carried to a secluded place on a hilltop overlooking the town’s tavern and gunsmith shop. After setting me in place, they covered me with a tarp, but I could still hear them tal…

Those Who Came Before, By Gerri Leen

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You wander the castle Your husband lies sleeping Or that’s what you tell yourself You have not shared a room for some time You can’t decide if you miss him He stopped being a charming prince long ago Your sons mutter as you poke Your head in the doorway, the candle Throwing strange shadows on the wall The heir and the spare That’s what the courtiers say With knowing looks As if doing your duty means the end of everything

You find your way, as you do most nights To the slipper of glass You haven’t seen your fairy godmother Not since that night she made you more Than a girl who slept in ashes And brought you all of this The slipper is glowing, catching the moon’s light And the lamps in the main room Their flickering flames Lighting up the one who walks with you

“Have you nothing to say?” you ask Your ghostly companion “I have said my peace” This is a woman you know only From portraits Your mother, yourdeadmother

Death's Godson, By Megan Hippler

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The neighbors called him “Thirteen,”
as though his birth order should trump
the name his mother whispered 
as she kissed his scraped knees.

The schoolchildren called him “Ghost Boy”
when they heard he wore a hand-me-down white gown
and squirmed in Death’s arms
on the morning of his Christening.

Death called him “my godson, the doctor” 
to watch his face heat like flames
and crumple at the reminder 
that he saved no one
but those Death already knew would live.

Death assumed he wanted more gold
than his father’s fingers had ever known,
but Death never asked 
if it was worth never-ending saddle sores
to reach people withered and still 
or hunched and screaming
against goose-feather pillows.

Death never asked 
if their pleas echoed in his horse’s canter
or the hiss of a candle burning too low. 
Never asked
if he woke to regiments of the dead 
at his bed’s end,
all of them remembering 
how that slip of black fabric 
waited at their feet for their last breath.

The world called the most accurate oracle
they wished they c…

Petunias, By Alicia Cole

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They clipped us off like so many petunias
in Alabama.  Always we lived in Alabama. My mother and grandmother's hands were white from flouring chicken.  I wondered how they wrung the neck.  Not the gesture of it, mind, but the feel-the feathery heft, the quick snapping flop of the body's weight, the singular motion of a wrung body nestled on a strong arm.   Fathers, I learned, were also made for wringing. Huddled against my mother's thigh, 
her apron momentarily dry, I did not hunger to understand any of the preceding motions that had tied him to that tree. I ate my first apricot that day, the Mistress feeling sorry.  My mouth suckled the pit. It's the roadside now where I stand, close  to where the men in hoods have stood, still eager to flour chickens, still raising their wild petunia heads in Alabama.   My grandmother sometimes stands  with me when she's not wandering, worrying her mouth with all the trying  times of child rearing and Master tiring. One day she wi…

The Hanged Man's Touch, By Adam Knight

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Who was Jim Gurty?

The question began as a scholarly one. As a researcher from Cambridge, I have long studied the folkways and superstitions of the Irish people, specifically those in County Clare. As a killer, Gurty’s notoriety—just like his morality—had no boundaries. Over time, my morbid curiosity about Gurty grew into fascination. Naturally, when news came over the telegraph to my office that Gurty had been captured, and his spree of carnage brought to an end, I knew I must travel to County Clare to observe his execution. I knew this to be my one opportunity to encounter the man who was the locus of my obsession.
But Fate, being either cruel, callous, or fickle, would not let me achieve this desire. Due to some mishap involving missing documentation, I helplessly sat on the creaking deck of the ship, clutching my leather case of research materials, tapping my foot, staring through the fog at the verdant shore. When we were finally cleared to disembark, I knew Gurty had already been …