Path of the Dead
The path of a ghost is etched into the earth, hammered and chiseled by heeled boots, flat leather soles, and the barest of feet. I follow the prints up and over the rise. There is a man standing by the car, smartly dressed in black pants, an unblemished white shirt, and the same black-tie strangling every salesman’s throat across the country. He looks up at me, shielding his eyes against the sun. “You want a ride?” he asks. “I’m going to the store to get a loaf of bread. I can take you that far.”
For a moment, I look at the man like he’s crazy. Like I’m crazy. I snatch the end of the man’s tie and choke my own throat, jerking this way and that way until I know the truth. The man is me, minutes before my car drives off the road and down the side of the mountain. When I glance up at my house, my wife rocks in the ratty wicker chair on the front porch. My son plays with the wooden car I bought him for Christmas last year. Do they see me here, waving before I go? “I’ll be right back,” I call out. But the wind carries my words.
I’ll see them again. After the accident. After I climb out of the ravine and trace my footsteps back up to my house…again and again along the path of a ghost.
Postcard Stories Podcast – An Author Reading.