Skeleton in Your Closest – Literally ( Writer’s Digest Creative Writing Prompt )

When you go to get dressed one morning, you discover that there really is a skeleton lounging in your closet. Write this scene—discover how it got there, why it is there, what to do with it now.

I was feeling around for my brown pumps on the closet floor, when a skeletal foot peeped out from behind the folds of my orange and gold caftan. If I hadn’t been so determined to distance myself from the grisly sight, I might have tumbled over backwards, as it was, I bolted upright and leaped back in one swift motion. It was miraculous that at my age my limbs still worked so successfully. but a pity I couldn’t say the same for my pounding heart.

I pushed the caftan aside and uncovered a full length skeleton tied to the clothes pole. Still shaking from the initial fright, I went to the kitchen to have the tea I’d already poured before I examined my new “friend”. It had to be a prank. I wasn’t dreaming and I certainly hadn’t murdered anyone. Feeling Nancy Drewish, I pulled out paper and pencil and began to write: Who would do such a thing? How did they get into my apartment? (shiver) and the big question–Why?

Nothing made sense. My grand kids would never do this. Halloween was long past. I hadn’t committed any crime I could be threatened or blackmailed for, and there were no connections to skeletons in my life history. Or were there?

With a jolt, I realized there was ONE–but that event went all the way back to my college days! I’d been part of the usual crazy gang of young people, my behavior and theirs swinging wildly back and forth from adult to childish by the day, sometimes by the hour. For Jimmy’s birthday, Anita had brought a skeleton to a “One Day Closer to Death Party,” as she called it. We’d all dressed in black and deluged him with macabre gifts like tombstone paperweights and giant tomes of hideous plagues and epidemics and named the skeleton, Fingers. At the end of the evening we’d signed a pledge to “keep in touch” and to remind each other periodically that death was stalking us.

I untied the skeleton from the rod and lifted it out of the closet. As I did something snagged. A black envelope had fallen to the floor. Seating him on the couch, I checked the bones on his left hand. One digit was missing.

Inside the black envelope was a list of names and birthdays.  Nearly half had been crossed out. “Just a gentle reminder–pass it on,” was written in elegant calligraphic script and it was signed Dr. James.D Winston, M.E. 😉  P.S, “Blame your mother!”