by Eric J. Krause
This was always the hardest part. Those few moments between the light going off and exhaustion claiming his consciousness. This was when his ghosts haunted him. They may not be the supernatural ilk of campfire tales or horror movies, but that didn't make them any less frightening. It might have even given them more terrifying power over his soul.
He'd been a lousy husband, inattentive father, and an even worse human being. He'd kicked dogs, shot at cats, and even, as cliché as it sounds, stolen candy from babies. He deserved the sweet treats more than those loud balls of snot! But it haunted him. It all haunted him. He might as well have been visited by three Christmas spirits.
But he didn't have anyone, living, dead, or otherwise, to confide in, to teach him lessons. He'd chased everyone away. He wanted to make amends, but he no longer could. In fact, he didn't understand how to even if given the opportunity. He couldn't simply toss down a purse of shillings, with a few extra tucked in, to a child passing on the street to buy the biggest goose in the butcher shop.
He could, though, do other things. He could volunteer at the local homeless shelter. He could attend church more often and live by its teachings. He could simply decide to be nicer to his fellow human beings.
"Bah, humbug," he said, a crooked grin on his lips. He flicked on the light, picked up his copy of A Christmas Carol, and tossed it in the wastebasket. Better to quit reading crap that made him feel guilty before bedtime.
He pulled out his latest copy of Playboy. Yeah, looking at young, nubile nudie women would take away his depressing thoughts. Screw humanity.