Magic Hour

From a collection of 100-word stories & wonders

A desperate man is saved by a mirage—at least that’s the rational explanation. Image of 1882 lithograph “At Eternity’s Gate” by Vincent van Gogh, via Wikimedia.

Gregor stopped in the doorway and gasped. Winter sunset through a smoke-hazed window bathed his shack in dusky roselight. And there, on the rough-hewn chair before the hearth, sat his long-dead father with his distinctive bald pate and wiry beard, resting his head in calloused hands in seeming despair. Hesitantly, Gregor moved into the room. When he reached the chair, he found… only his loaded pistol. His father had been nothing but a trick of reflected light and shadow, a ghostly hodgepodge. And yet. Shuddering, Gregor drew back from the weapon, making the sign of the cross.

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