(WP) The Ghost of Christmas Future

(WP) The Ghost of Christmas Future

The ghost hovered above the
graveyard slightly, so sheer that the pale winter sky shown through it.

Another day, another job. But to
say that their job had become monotonous was an understatement; it was all the
same. Visits to people who took people they loved for granted, warning of
loneliness and emptiness to come; some heeded their words, others scoffed and
passed the incident off as a mere hallucination, a vivid side effect of too
much food.

But it hardly mattered. Everyone
paid their price, at the end.

The graveyard was empty, and a
cold, harsh wind buffeted the spirit; if it had been human, it would have been
bowed over by the force. A storm was coming, and the spirit wondered if there
had been an error in being sent here. There was no wayward soul for it to
direct onto the right path, at least, not right now.

As it was turning away to prepare
to leave, a flash of color caught its eye.

A young woman with a shock of
short, bright red hair stood in front of one of the graves, its etching all but
erased by time, and she was cradling a small bouquet of sunflowers in her arms.

The spirit felt a bright spark
ignite at the sight of her; when the woman looked up, the spirit saw that tears
were streaming down her cheeks in crystalline rivers.

The spirit realized that this was
the human that it was meant to guide; almost immediately, it felt an unfamiliar
kind of protest flooded it; this was not the kind of human that was typically
visited.

But the sooner the job was done,
the sooner it could return, left only to its memories, the bitter and the
sweet.

So, with silent reluctance, the
spirit appeared at the woman’s side, taking the form of a young woman, clothed
in black, holding an umbrella over them both. At the spirit’s sudden appearance,
the young woman jumped, her lips parting in a shocked O shape, and the flowers
fell to the ground, bright, buttery petals stark against the cold gray day.

“Who are you? Where did you come
from? You weren’t here before! Or, at least, I didn’t see you.” Her voice was
thick with unshed tears, and she hurriedly wiped them away, cheeks flushed.

“I’m sorry to intrude,” The spirit
replied, bowing its head. “But I am the Ghost of Christmas future, and I have
come to guide you.”

The woman’s eyes narrowed, and her
mouth pinched tight.

“Is this a joke? Because if so, it
isn’t very funny.” She sniffed, kneeling down to retrieve her flowers, though
most of them were missing their petals.

“No joke,” The spirit rejoined, and
she put a hand on the woman’s shoulder, gripping it slightly. The touch of skin
to skin made the human shiver.

“How did you become the Ghost of
Christmas Future, then? Surely you were human at some point?”

This time, it was the spirit who
was caught off guard. No one had ever asked about them before, and until now, it
had been fine that way. Never before now, either, had a human taken the spirit’s
existence with so little resistance. Something inside of it seemed to lighten,
and it took its true form.

This time, the human just watched
it, quiet, patiently waiting for the answers to questions that hadn’t been
thought about in years.

“It’s been so long, I barely remember,”
The spirit murmured, and as it thought back to all those years ago, it
unconsciously took the form of when it was human: a young woman with long dark
hair streaming down her back like spilled ink, olive skin, full lips, and
bright amber eyes.

“Please, tell me. I’ve never met a
spirit before, much less the Ghost of Christmas Future.”

And so, the spirit and the woman
told tales until the storm came. By the time it had washed away, revealing the
sun, they had both vanished.

**