Juego con los Muertos

“As you know, Bob…”

…recently on Fridays I’ve been participating in Madison Woods’ 100-word story challenge along with the #FridayFictioneers.  Normally I try to stick with the 100 words, but this week I had a story idea that just didn’t want to squeeze into those confines.

Trust me, I tried.

My story this week came to 200 words.  Bah!  Double whammy.

So here’s the inspiration image Madison shared for this week, which has a pretty cool story behind it on her website:

I like the idea that this marble came from someone who’s no longer around, so I played a bit with that.  I guess my story celebrates certain upcoming festivities a little early, but oh well.  It’s still in the spirit of the holidays. 🙂

Haha, spirit…no pun intended.


Anyway, I hope you enjoy!


Juego con los Muertos*

Coming home from work, Ana paused on the terracotta pathway to observe a trail of dirt leading to the front door.

It was open.

When she went inside her eldest child, Carlos, shot up from the kitchen table, clutching some recently-snuffed candles and a large old book.  His eyes were wide, face unnaturally pale.

“What were you doing?”


“Where’s your sister?”

He shrugged then scurried away.

Ana frowned.

The trail led upstairs towards conversing voices.  She found a battered stone marble—somehow familiar to her—before her daughter’s door and picked it up.  Turning it over, she called out cautiously, “Cecilia…who’s with you?”

The girl giggled.


Ana opened the door, surprised to find a dusty skeleton adorned in a dress and pearls.  It sat at a chalk circle that had been drawn onto the floor, playing a game with her daughter.  It reached a creaky limb out to Ana and said sadly, “Mi hija.”**

“Mommy, Mommy!” Cecilia cried.  “I’m teaching Grandma how to play with her marbles!”

Ana thought she’d about lost hers.

Suddenly gathering her wits, the candles, book and pale face began to add up.  Ana dropped her purse and binders, her voice escalating uneasily:



* Juego con los Muertos translates as “Game with the Dead” in Spanish.
** Mi hija means “my daughter.”


27 thoughts on “Juego con los Muertos

    • LoL, I totally read it with the “was” in there anyway! Didn’t even notice. 😉 (Funny how our brains work.)

      Thanks for reading, Maggie! Heading over to yours now.


    • Yay! Glad you liked it, Rylee. 🙂

      I really did try to fit it in 100 words before, but I couldn’t figure it out how to distill it without skimping on essentials. Even around like 150-ish it still felt underdeveloped…


  1. Wow!! I got chills reading your story. I love a good ghost story and this one I loved! I think it was also tender that her grandmother got to spend time with her granddaughter. 🙂 A chilling tale – but also sweet. 🙂


    • I guess I’d never thought of it as sweet before, lol. It’s always interesting to see what these stories mean to other people.

      Thanks for reading, Mahjira!


  2. Wow, LOVED your 200 words! And I’m glad you gave us a translation at the bottom, I’d guessed wrong but I would have googled it if you hadn’t 😉 This was well-written and so neatly complete in a short space.


  3. Tiyana!

    That was very good. Was Carlos’ last name Castaneda? I’m wondering so please tell me.

    Loved your story and your were right about the extra hundred words. Sometimes you just need them.




    • Hiya, Doug. Thanks for reading. 🙂

      Ya know, I was actually trying to think of a surname at one point but never settled on one. Don’t think I would have ever thought of Castaneda, but I like it!


        • I thought you might be referring to a real-life figure, haha, but I wasn’t familiar this name. No, I’d never heard of him before.

          After your comments, though, I kind of feel like I should look into him! He sounds interesting. 🙂


          • you should definitely look into him. magical realism at it’s best, and hard to decipher truth from fiction…i leaned toward truth.


  4. A little late, but oh! 200 words seems like so much more than double 100. There’s far more story in here. It reminded me of a horror movie preview hehe. (not a bad thing)


  5. Hard to fit a story into 100 words anyway.

    Oh man, that was funny AND creepy at the same time. Thank goodness Cecilia wasn’t teaching grandma how to do the Cupid Shuffle.


  6. “Ana thought she’d about lost hers.” — LOL, perfect line.
    Sounds like Carlos definitely needs a talking to, thought at least Grandma seems harmless enough. (Or is she?…) A follow-up to this story really could go in so many directions.


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