Ghosts of Centuries Past
I see them. All ghosts of centuries past. They’re within the walls of the cemetery that used to be a zoo. I’d forgotten what they looked like. The lion encased in his throne, its mouth opened forever in a roar. An ape broken free of its bars but confined by the limbs of some tree. The chameleon, the aardvark, the zebra, all noble creatures once upon a time. Now, they belong to the cemetery, memories of a past no person will ever walk through again.
“I don’t like this. The way they stare,” Sally said.
I pull back. “They can’t hurt you. They’re lost to time.”
“Well, I don’t like it. They’re creepy, with all their wisps and smoke.”
With a pinch of my smile, I moved closer to the gate. “That’s all ghosts are made up of.” I turned to her with a shrug “Well, that and spooky stories.”
“Like what?” Her breath hitched.
“Once I read of a lion named Alto. He had the power to build bridges to other worlds.”
She gasped. “Even this one?”
“Especially this one.” I nodded. “They say he was frozen by an enchantress who got caught in her own spell.”
“Maybe this is them.”
I shook my head. “Nah. They’re just forgotten pieces of some zoo that closed down eons ago.” I slid my hands along the bar. Did that ostrich just move? Of course. Something else ghosts did, trick the eye with an illusion. “Come on. Let’s go home.”
“They seem so alone.”
“That’s a ghost’s lot.”
Just before we turned down the lane, I glanced back. Had the lion changed the direction of its head? The woman in the trees, did she flex her fingers? Perhaps, they really were Jan-ai and Alto. This discovery would rock the world. Imagine me, interviewed by reporters.
I studied the lion’s frame and sighed. Nah. Just a figment of my imagination.
Now visit Vanessa Barger’s website to see her story with this pic in mind.