So you can read my books

Tuesday, February 17, 2015



The setting sun cast cold ghosts of gold across the bruised dark of the French Quarter alley.  Were any ghosts awakening to haunt tonight’s Mardi Gras festivities?  

I scowled at myself.  

Alleys and houses were not haunted.

We are haunted, and regardless of the landscape on which we stand, our ghosts stay with us until we ourselves are ghosts.


I looked at the cracked store-backs and really didn't know who I was for about ten strange seconds. I wasn't scared.  

I was just somebody else, some stranger, and my whole life was a haunted life, the life of a ghost.  

I was behind the haunted Mardi Gras Den, which had once been a corrupt police station with innocents murdered in the cells.

Then, I remembered who I was: Captain Samuel McCord, cursed guardian of New Orleans.

“At night, the dead come back to drink from the living,” I murmured.


And at my words, a ghostly parade of garishly painted wooden floats appeared before me, drawn by black skeletal horses.  Spectral riders wore iridescent blue masks over their gaunt faces.  

They looked down upon me … for permission to go down St. Charles Avenue. 

I nodded slowly.

“Drink from no innocent, and you may pass.”

They showered me with sparkling gold doubloons that passed right through my body, for the coins were bound to this cursed float for eternity. 

Ghosts were simply unfinished business.

Sadly, these insubstantial riders would not find those who had murdered them.  Some killers left the city right after the murders.

But all murderers were claimed immediately upon their deaths … some debts did not remain uncollected long after the final breath.

Murder was such a debt.

As the floats passed through me in icy tingles, I noted grimly that there were more of them than last year, packed with many more spectral riders.

I thought of my own ghosts:

The people you loved and lost become ghosts inside of you, and by cherishing them you kept them alive.

I turned and walked into the haunted night.



  1. That was very haunting. (Sorry, no pun intended.) While some might think they escape punishment here, it will often catch up to them in the next world.

  2. Thanks, Diane:
    Yes, I feel that many will be surprised what awaits them when they first open their "eyes" after death.

    I am glad you enjoyed my little Mardi Gras flash fiction. :-)

    1. Roland, thank you for giving me an opportunity to listen to your audiobook.

  3. A vignette that brings to mind the ephemeral feeling of otherworldly-ness. Is Mardi Gras one of those times when the veils thin between this world and the grey otherworld? Very well done, Roland.

  4. D.G.:
    Apparently Mardi Gras is, indeed, one of those times when the veil between this world and those Grey Realms is very thin. There have been many sightings of ghostly Mardi Gras floats appearing before startled tourists ... and some even during the day!

    Thanks for liking this. I was feeling as if this post failed to entertain. :-)

  5. Do they really know the difference between the guilty and the innocent?

  6. Alex:
    At Mardi Gras, the innocent are few and far between so to their spirit eyes they burn like a campfire in a cold winter's night. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it. :-)