The Ghost and Her Potatoes
There's a ghost in our garden and she's stealing our potatoes. At dawn she appears through mist and liminal light and roots around in the dirt. She tosses potatoes aside, stuffs others in a bag, and cackles maniacally when she finds a good one.
We watch her from our kitchen window, sip coffee, eat eggs. Our neighbor watches too, passing by with his dog. He waves to us. We wave back.
We've tried calling to the garden, planting signs and holding astral séances. But she just knocks over birdhouses and disappears screaming.
The thing is we want her to have the potatoes. We'd give her bags and bags of good ones if we just knew how.
You get the idea to lie in wait overnight, buried in the dirt except your face, so when she begins rummaging for potatoes you'll introduce yourself. But you fall asleep and when you wake up she's inspecting your foot. You whisper, "Hey, that's my foot," and rise out of the earth. This is how our trees catch fire, our birdhouse explodes, and she disappears screaming.
Weeks go by.
Her noise wakes us and we peek through the blinds, see her sobbing into handfuls of potatoes. We debate whether to chase her away or sacrifice a goat, and whether or not she's pregnant.
One night she appears with friends. They lay on the tilled ground and pretend to swim in it. Their neon luminesce trails the air above. They prank call demigods from her potato and accidentally cook it. They appear drunk. These friends only last a week, and then she's back to sobbing into potatoes.
Months of this.
Until one morning you kick open the screen door, stomp across the yard and rip off her sheet. You grab her potato and fling it over a fence. She's so surprised she can't move. Her empty hands bewilder her. You sink down on both knees into the dirt and wrap her in your arms, saying, This is who you are.
Anderson has published stories in PANK, Smokelong Quarterly and Mid-American Review where his work was a Fineline Competition finalist.