Welcome to a piece of Wednesday Word’s flash fiction on Darkling Dreams!
A good friend of mine, P.T. Wyant, is doing a blog post every Wednesday called Wednesday Words with a new prompt for a bit of flash fiction writing, just to get in the habit of writing something, anything. (Even if said flash fiction is complete garbage at the time. Garbage is better than nothing though, right?) If you’re looking for some inspiration yourself or just something to aimlessly write, then go check out her blog for this week’s prompt!
With that being said, I am going to share what I came up with for this week’s flash fiction prompt based off a setting and occurrence prompt. So here is my very rough around the edges minute of inspiration based off her prompt. I’d love to hear what you guys think of it!
(Please excuse any errors you may see, I said it was rough around the edges.)
Dead Souls Walking
What do you think of when you hear the phrase Mardi Gras? Do you think of colorful beads and feathered, eccentric masks? Do you think of New Orleans? Do you think of parades and throwing candy, good food, and voodoo?
I bet you don’t think about skeletons.
Or, perhaps you do. Perhaps you think of the spooky decorations voodoo vendors might decorate their space with. Bones or skulls for the tarot readers, perhaps you’ll even envision them throwing the chicken bones instead to read the lines of your life.
So maybe you do think of skeletons, but I’m sure you don’t think of them in the way I do. I’m positive you don’t think of them as the patrons of New Orleans do, those that have lived here all their lives and know the secrets the shadows and old crypt-filled graveyards keep.
Yes, I’m quite sure you don’t know those legends. You aren’t supposed to.
We’re famous for our above ground cemeteries here, because of the swampy, soggy nature to our land. We couldn’t have caskets floating away in the ground. So we have our Cities of the Dead. Our cities of crypts and mausoleums. As it turns out, our town found out the hard way that above ground graveyards are more haunted than the caskets you can bury. Soil can bury more than secrets and the departed.
And for whatever reason, the haunts don’t happen around Halloween, when the veil is thin. Instead, the haunts happen around Mardi Gras.
Every year, just like clockwork after the flood of tourists have had their fun and spooks and they’ve retreated back to their cities and homes, we are met with our own parade. Our shutters close and our streets become deserted as we await the parade, watching behind closed curtains with thudding hearts and chills down our spines. We’ve learned the hard way to not interrupt our ancestors moment of immortality. People have gone missing, people have died, people have gone mad. Not even the bravest of the brave are foolish enough to step a toe out their doors this night. So we prepare, and we retreat on the same night every year.
When the sun goes down and the moon rises high, our graveyards come alive. The crypt doors creak open with dust and cobwebs. The lids of the tombs slide off to stick in the mud. Skeletal hands pry their bony forms from ancient burials, all converging together in parade of skeletons. They walk our streets with torches of fire, hollow eyes scanning around. We can hear their voices through the walls of our homes: singing, laughter, moans, cries, screams and wails. Such a mix match of sounds that you can’t help but be awed and terrified at the same time.
The parade of the dead lasts through the peaks of the night. Midnight will roll by, one in the morning, two, three. By four in the morning their numbers begin to disperse, retreating back to their stone tombs to sleep for another year. By sun up, they are all gone.
Our Dead Souls Parade has come to another end, to wait in silence for the coming year.
Not a single shred of evidence to their moonlit parade graces a single cemetery. They are all untouched. The only evidence we have is the sounds in our memories, the visions behind our eyes, and the ghosts of footprints in the mud.
Why doesn’t the world know this, you ask? Because the world would not believe us. Because the world would flock to the spectacle to see the dead walking and chaos would commence in its wake. Because the dead would not return to eternal sleep if they had their choice of hosts, and the dead are meant to stay dead.
Now you can find this flash fiction work and others on my profile on Wattpad! Click here for my profile and go dive into a sea of Shards of Imagination!