The Lonely Boy

haunted house

© J Hardy Carroll

Josh, Matt, and Kenny were best pals. Every day, the third-graders walked past the old McClary house going home from school. Today, Kenny picked up a stick and ran it across the wrought iron fence.

“Yoohoo!” Josh yelled at the so-called ghosts in the house. Matt quickly said, “Knock it off, Josh. Don’t disrespect.”

“Crybaby,” Josh expressed his scorn. “Dead people can’t hurt you.”

Every day unliving eyes peered out the upstairs window at the three boys. Kevin McClary died in the last great flu pandemic. All he wanted to do was go out and play with the other children.

Written in response to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ Friday Fictioneers challenge. The idea is to use the photo at the top as a prompt to write a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. I barely made it at 100 even.

The second I saw the photo, it screamed “ghost story” at me. Poor Kevin is no longer among the living, and trapped in that house, he can’t even go out and play.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to


47 thoughts on “The Lonely Boy

    • Thanks. Yes it is sad.

      I created a longer version of the tale in my imagination. It’s Halloween and Josh convinces his mates to jump the fence and break into the house to see if it’s really haunted.

      Inside, they find Kevin and decide to play with him.

      There are two possible outcomes:

      The first is that Kevin gives them the key to the front gate and front door on the promise that the boys will come every day after school to play for an hour or so. They agree and it’s a nice, heartwarming ending.

      The second is that Kevin is dangerously insane and keeps the three boys in the haunted house to “play” with him forever. A creepy and horrible ending.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Well, “ever after” has an interesting meaning here. The boys would eventually grow up and stop going over to play, but eventually they’d age and die, then yes, the boys would be playing “happily ever after”.

      Liked by 1 person

      • When I was a kid, I used to watch a TV show called “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir” which was based on a film by the same name. In the mid 20th century, a widow and her young daughter move into an old house in the Northeast that used to belong to a 19th century sea captain. The captain’s ghost haunts the house and situation comedy type humor ensues.

        In the film, the ghost falls in love with Mrs. Muir, but after all, she’s alive and he’d dead. At the end of the film, Mrs. Muir is elderly and passes away. The last scene is of the two ghosts going off together, so yes, reunited after death is a thing.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I shall pretend I did not read the potential two endings and say I enjoyed the feeling of longing the poor ghost of Kevin expressed…


    • Children are just as variable as adults. Josh is the group’s leader and daredevil, Matt is more introspective, and Kenny is very casual and likes to have fun.


  2. My Dad’s oldest brother died in a great flu pandemic (bootcamp during WW I). They say he cried before leaving home, telling his mother and new bride he’d never see them again. Who knows where his spirit wanders about and what it dreams of. Great writing here, James.


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