The Letter Keeper

An except from my second novella.


"The ghosts of the storm’s dead, show when they felt the need to come, saw them most at closing time, rowdying away with their phantom pints on their last ashore. Mom always set out five on the bar full after we cleaned up and closed. The talisman, she said when I asked her, the safe return, she said, for the drown dead coming back to harbor their final lives. We could always see who wasn’t returning, their tabs were set aside in the dead box, more in some seasons, less in others. The last marker for our remembering. We kept an empty one under the cash register. Since mom’s had the bar, nine of those small tin boxes are stored in the cellar. She’d go down, every couple of months to have a bit of a chat, and then come up looking far away to the inside. She’d stay in our tiny front room with her own box, holds the deed now too, then after three days, she’d close it and lock it away in her trunk. We all pulled double shifts on her sojourn, never asking, only accepting her way of communion to her ghosts still alive. Never was much of a talker, so now, I don’t wonder at her silence, left a note on the icebox though three months after, ’time to get on and come here’. No need to repeat the language.” Frances said.

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