Shy Ghosts Dancing

An excerpt from the forthcoming short story collection, Shy Ghosts Dancing: Dark Tales from Southeast Alaska by Mark Zeiger

All content ©2010 Mark A. Zeiger. All rights reserved.


The first night Dora and Vaughan camped on Admiralty Island, known as “Fortress of the Brown Bears,” northern lights appeared in the sky.

It started faintly, indistinct appearances here and there, hesitating above the mountains across the water toward the north. The two young people held their breaths, watching shafts of light form against the darkness. Dora chuckled, observing how she and her companion kept still as if afraid to frighten it away.

“It’s so tentative, I’m worried it’ll see us and leave,” she whispered, “It’s like watching shy ghosts dancing!”

Vaughan wanted to call that poetic, but remained still. As if growing bolder, the aurora swelled until the sky filled with whipping, swirling sheets of luminescence. Dora rose from her seat by the fire and wandered down the beach, craning her neck to see.

It was then, while Vaughan sat alone, that the aurora borealis spoke to him for the first time, telling him Dora’s terrible secret.



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Thank you for reading this excerpt! To read the rest of this story, and others like it by Mark A. Zeiger, order Shy Ghosts Dancing: Dark Tales from Southeast Alaska.

Read more excerpts on the Shy Ghosts Dancing page at