Passing of a Legend

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PHOTO PROMPT © Dawn M. Miller

A storm rose over the bluff, thunder rolling across the valley.  A meteor raced down the track.

When it reached me, it was naught but a gust of wind and smoke.

A human scarecrow emerged from the steam.  Ragged clothes draped the ruined frame.

“Damn,” he said.  “I thought I would catch it and get out of this two-bit town.  Some tumble I took, though.  Saw those steel wheels a-comin’ at me and thought I was done-fer.”

“Harry?” The man seemed surprised I knew him.

“Yeah?”

“You died 85 years ago.  Go home.”

So ended the legend of Sleepy Junction.

***

Word count = 100

Friday Fictioneers is hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.  This week’s prompt is here and uses a photo © Dawn M. Miller.  Read more or join in by following the InLinkz “linky“.

***

Embers-icon  A small announcement:  I just released a book of short stories, Embers yesterday!  It includes 2 novella length stories that had their origins in Friday Fictioneer stories.  Yes, I know that it is ironic that the two longest stories started as 100-word micro-fiction!  Find it here:

Kindle
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UK
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CA
AU

Paperback
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56 thoughts on “Passing of a Legend

    1. trentpmcd Post author

      For some reason “Sleepy Junction” came to mind while I was writing it. It was until later that I realized that “The Legend of Sleepy Junction” was awfully close to “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”! Perhaps the train wheels cut off poor Harry’s head so he could be the headless train-man ;)

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Thanks. Every so often I do a short flash and like the idea but think it is too incomplete. Most of the time these 100 word stories become 500 word stories, but with these two they became 12,000 – 16,000 word stories!

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      I think once he learned he could talk to ghosts and help them pas to the other side, he took it up as a cause. Of course, I’m sure people have told him to beat it, thinking he’s an oddball, many, many times ;)

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      1. Frankie

        yes, and I’ve heard you have to actually talk to ghost, talk out loud, they don’t read your minds. But don’t tell this to guides of haunted Scottish castles. They’d soon run out of ghosts… to the dismay of tourists.

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    1. Frankie

      I think this phrase: “Harry?” The man seemed surprised I knew him” is a stroke of genius actually. it’s what makes the whole story hold together and fun instead of spooky… kind of… if you “recognize” a ghost, well yeah, might as well say hi! !!!

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    2. trentpmcd Post author

      Thanks, Dale, on both counts. As to telling the ghost to “go home”, Neil and I discussed it earlier – the ghost doesn’t know it’s dead (ghosts are just people who don’t know they are dead), so when you tell it, well, there’s no reason to be a ghost any more…

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  1. Kestril Trueseeker

    I had a laugh at the narrator’s matter of fact declaration to Harry. I have to think it wan’t the first time he had to remind a ghost that it was already dead. He must lead quite an interesting life.

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      They were doing it all wrong in Ghost Busters with their positron rifles, I think it is much easier to be like the kid in Sixth Sense, at least at the very end of the movie when he figured it out… I’m sure it is a very interesting life!

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      The “meteor” is a train. Harry was what was called a “hobo”, an unemployed man in the Great Depression in the 1930s who moved about the country by illegally jumping on trains as they passed through. In the story, the train is moving far to fast to be caught, and with the smoke and steam streaming behind, it appears to be a meteor rushing across the valley.

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Glad you got into the spirit of the story with that comment ;) Doing it this way, as Neil said, letting them know that they are dead let’s them “pass over”, is sure a lot easier than the way they did it in :Ghost Busters”!

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        1. Frankie

          Pass away, pass over, pass by, pass through, pass the salt :-) One of those tricks of the English language that makes it easier to express a thought quite fast. Probably why the world wide web came out of an English mind. Heard from a foreign speaker once: Can I see Mr So&so? Sorry he’s just past away but he’ll be back soon if you want to wait. :-)

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          1. trentpmcd Post author

            lol, that is funny. Here the term “pass over” is short for “pass over to the other side”. According to some philosophies, when a body dies, the spirit might stay on the “Earth side” for a while, but eventually needs to “pass over to the other side”. There are spiritualists that claim to help lost or restless souls make that transition to the other side. So this is different form “pass away”, which is simply “die”. Now pass the salt so I can throw it over whichever shoulder I am supposed to throe it over ;)

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  2. Frankie

    wow! wow!… I was heaved up and bang bashed down again! I mean this is great stuff. I like it. (you know that when I don’t like it I say so, don’t you?) and when I fell on the last word I burst in laughter! LOL !!!

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      1. Frankie

        Pardon my ignorance of American literature. I had to look up Irving’s biography. The “bum” must be one of his characters but in which book? (you can send me to hell as a french ignorama) :-(

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        1. trentpmcd Post author

          I think it was too many cultural references… Washington Irving was brought up mostly because of the haunted valley thing (The Legend of Sleepy Hollow) and that I borrowed the name of the legend in this story from that story (The Legend of Sleepy Junction). The “bum”, or as they were called “hobo”, in my story was supposed to be from the Great Depression, when homeless men used the rail system to move around the country… illegally used it, that is… Besides the name, there wasn’t much of a reference to Irving.

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