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Skeleton in the closet



“I assure you, I am not dead,” the decidedly deceased human remains informs me indignantly.

I blink and wonder how to most tactfully dispel this terrible misconception of the state of one’s life. Ahem, death. The morning had begun with relative regularity; that is, until I discovered a frightful apparition in my closet as I ventured forth from a lonely king-size bed (my one material indulgence) to dress.

Forgivably, I screamed; less understandably, the skeleton before me screamed, and I slammed the door shut. Moments later a polite knocking could be heard. A gentlemanly voice calls out: “I do apologize for my rude behavior upon meeting a lady.” I struggle to reconcile absolute terror with pleased surprise at his manners.

My cat comes meowing into the room. “What was that?” I ask him. He meows again, a typically useless answer, as he is a typically useless animal. Mustering courage, I gingerly open the door and peer inside. There it is, gleaming stark white in the filtered light. “Why are you in there?”

“I was running away from ghosts. I do hope you don’t mind my having appropriated your house.” The skeleton manages to convey a sense of embarrassment, an impressive expression given its perpetually grinning, grisly visage.

“But ... you’re dead. Why should you be afraid of ghosts?” This brings us back to the present bewildering situation. “I’m afraid you’re missing vital ingredients of life, including flesh and skin and muscle, among other things. But otherwise I’ll admit you are quite amazingly alive.”

The skeleton argues heatedly, “But I cannot possibly be dead! I have a life! Friends, a career, women aspiring to be my wife ..!”

“Denial, sir. Death is after all the eventual occupational hazard of living,” I tell him philosophically.

Disconsolate, he folds himself into a heap of bony misery. “I suppose the latest dream I had was true and I died in a fire,” the skeleton murmurs sadly. “I knew Melinda was miffed at my refusal to buy her that diamond necklace, but I didn’t think she would take such measures for revenge.”

“Right.” Catching sight of the advancing time on the clock next to my bed, I clear my throat. “Now that we’ve established the facts, I have an appointment to get to.”

“Oh?” he inquires. “It must be important, if you’re quite alright with leaving a strange man unattended in your bedroom.”

“I think I’ll live,” I say dryly. “In fact, if you weren’t dead, I might be thrilled with this unexpected turn of events, and keep you company.”

That night I hear snuffling from the closet. “What’s wrong?” I call out irritably.

“I’m cold,” comes his muffled voice.


This story was written by Winnie Khaw, an English MA student at the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire who spends most of her free time being silly. Check out her personal blog here >>
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