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November 2008 Flashers

Flash Fiction written by members and friends of the MuseItUp Club. Submissions are invited for this page.*



Grave Remarks


by  Jan Anderegg  (Janilou)



Stepping over the fresh dirt plot, Jim placed the wet chrysanthemums on his aunt's grave. He bowed his head to pray and jumped as sleety water trickled down his neck.


"Cheap junk they sell these days," he said, tugging at the hood of his plastic raincoat. "Weatherman was right for a change. What a miserable day."


Streaks of lightning creased the sky. 


Jim sighed. "Forget it." He turned to leave.


"You ungrateful man!" a male voice said.


"What?" Jim spun around. "Who said that?"


"Did you hear that, Sis? He wants to know who's talking to him."


"I heard him," a female voice replied.


Swallowing hard, Jim said, "Where are you?"


The voices chimed as one. "Right here!"


Jim clutched his raincoat and peered around the graveyard. "Hell's Bells! I can't see a damn thing."


"Just 'cause you can't see it, doesn't mean it isn't there, Jimbo."


"Stop calling me Jimbo! It's not my n-name."


"Would you prefer Jumbo? As much as you weigh, that would suit you better." The voices roared with laughter.


The female voice spoke. "Jimbo wants to see us, Brother. What do you think?"


"Aw, okay, Sister. Look over here, Jimbo. Try not to be too scared."


Jim followed the sound to a large, beveled gravestone. Two grinning faces stared back at him.


"I'm Sister," the first ghost said, "and this is Brother."


Spiders of fear crept up Jim's legs and clutched at his chest as he gasped for breath. "Am I dreaming?"


"If this was your dream, you'd be on a tropical island somewhere, sipping Margaritas," Brother said.


"Like last summer, after you murdered your aunt." Sister shook her head, giggling as strands of mist lingered behind her movement. "Look, Brother. I can make threads with my head!"


"I didn't kill my aunt! She died of a heart attack. I had to go to Maui right after the funeral. It was a business trip." Jim yanked a hankie from his pocket and wiped his brow. "I'm losing my mind."


"You might as well have murdered her. You broke her heart," Sister said.


"Broke her heart? What on earth are you talking about?"


"She left you her entire estate, and you repay her with hatred and a cheap bunch of chrysanthemums?"


"I don't hate her! I come here every Sunday."


"Been to any good Euchre games lately, Jimmy?" Brother asked.


"Yes, I still play cards. Why?"


"You were supposed to go to your aunt's house the night she died. But you stayed home with your wife instead."


"Liz was sick that night. I couldn't very well leave her to go play cards." Jim held his head and moaned. "What did Aunt Tildy expect me to do?"


"Euchre was her life, and the death of her, thanks to you. She was so upset you missed the game, her poor heart just quit beating. What's wrong, Jimbo? You're looking a little pale."


Jim clutched his coat with both hands. "I feel like, like there's an elephant sitting on my--" He collapsed to the ground and lay still, sightless eyes staring at the clouds.


The two ghosts arched their necks out of the stone and watched his chest for any sign of life.


"He's a goner, Brother."


"Yep. A heart attack. Came on real sudden. Runs in the family, I hear."


Holding their sides, the ghosts burst into fits of laughter.


"Do you think they'll have him buried by Friday?"


"Oh, I imagine so."


Slapping their hands together in a misty high-five, the ghosts let out a howling shriek.


"Come on, let's tell Aunt Tildy."


Hand in hand, they floated to her grave


"Wake up!" Sister shouted, pounding on the inscription.


A yawning face appeared on the stone. "You youngsters make such a racket. I was taking a nap with Rip-Van-Winkle!"


"We did it," Brother said. "We have four players for Saturday night's Euchre game."


"Terrific!" The ghost of Aunt Tildy beamed as she gazed down at Jim's body. "Let's see him try and worm his way out of this one!"






Janilou lives to write. She has resided in Australia, Spain, England and the United States of America with careers ranging from Registered Nurse to Telemarketing Supervisor to Dairy Goat Farmer. As a result, she is rarely lost for subjects to write about. 


Her short stories have been published in The Australian Nurses Journal and The Guttenberg Press. She has completed one novel, and started on its sequel. Much of her writing can be found online at where she enjoys the company of many fine writers.






*Send Flash Fiction submissions to .

Please include the words “Muse Marquee Flash Submission” in the subject line.


The Flashers page is edited by Les Stephenson.


November 2008