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Judith Lawrence

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Old Bones
By Judith Lawrence
Sunday, October 25, 2009

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A skeleton's Halloween fantasy.

What Old Bones had been called when he was clothed and in the flesh and walked the earth he couldn't remember. His brain was pickled in formaldehyde and sat in a jar on a laboratory shelf, and his memories came to him now through his bones. He was left alone in his closet for days and months on end--the instrucotor brought him out in front of the class only when he wanted to give particular emphasis to a certain bone. Little else happened that would jog his memory these days.

Old Bones did remember, however, that tonight was All Hallows' Eve; and it gave him a thrill knowing that he might be hi-jacked from his hook. Tonight, a medical student might carry him to the nurses' residence, enter a room, and place the skeleton's trembling bones between cool cotton sheets. He wouldn't be able to smell the perfume, his olfactory sense lay with his brain in the jar of formaldehyde, but the feel of the sheets as they caressed his frame would be enough to stimulate his scent memory.

Old Bones felt himself become young in spirit in anticipation of the evening ahead; his jaw chattered and his bones rattled with excitement at tonight's possibilities. Perhaps the nurse would take him in her arms and dance with him down the corridor of the nurses' residence. If not, Old Bones would do a tap dance of his own in honor of this night.

Halloween was Old Bones' very own celebration, his patronal festival, so to speak. He would make the most of it before the moon was set this night and the sun rose to shine its rays on empty eye sockets. Old Bones gave himself a shake. This was no time to think thoughts of melancholy; he had 364 days for that.

       Web Site: Welsh Cakes: Book of Short Stories

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