Skeleton In Your Closet – Literally

Writer’s Digest Creative Writing Prompt: Skeleton In Your Closet – Literally

When you go to get dressed one morning, you discover that there really is a skeleton in your closet. Write this scene: ”discover how it got there, why it is there, what to do with it now.
(500 words or fewer)

Sarah had slept well, despite being in a house that was not just unfamiliar but was down right, truly strange. She woke a little after dawn, too comfortable in the soft bed and under the thick, down comforter to want to actually get up, and looked around her room. It did not take her long to decide the room was vastly improved upon exposure to daylight. It was certainly more inviting and didn’t exude that sense of being haunted that the candle-lit introduction of last night had left her with. Of course, the storm that had been raging when they arrived which accounted for the power being out was likely to blame for that.

When she heard voices in the hallway, Sarah at last got up. The lady’s maid had, she had been told, already put her clothing and things away, and she opened the drawers one by one, seeing what each held and confirming that everything was still in order. Next she went to the closet, finding not just her own clothes but some beautiful vintage dresses as well.

Curiosity got the better of her and she took one out, holding it up to admire herself in the tall mirror. She smiled and twirled and imagined the gentlemen who might ask her to dance at some fancy ball or other. Her daydream was interrupted by a knock at the door.

“Miss? Are you awake?”

“Just a moment!” she said, not wanting to be caught playing with what was undoubtedly a very old and expensive gown. She ducked into the closet to hang it back up when a flash of something white caught her eye. She moved another dress out of the way, revealing where a piece of wood paneling had fallen inside the wall cavity. From out of the hollow, two empty eye sockets stared back at her, polished teeth grinning.

Sarah screamed. The maid opened the door and caught the fleeing girl in her arms.

“Why Miss, whatever is the matter?”

“Someone is dead in the wall!” she said, pointing to the closet.

The maid, not one to be frightened, told Sarah to stay right by the door and went to the closet. She pulled the panel out of the way, revealing more of the body which still had the wispy remains of a dress hanging from its bones. A glitter of silver caught her eye; a locket on a chain. Steeling her nerves, she reached behind the skeleton’s neck to undo the clasp, then brought the necklace out into the light of the room and opened it.

Sarah, emboldened by the maid’s courage, came over to look. Half of the locket held a faded likeness and the other an inscription.

“Who is it?” Sarah asked.

“It’s the likeness of her Ladyship Eliza Murray.”

“Who was that?”

“She was Lady here, oh, a hundred years ago,” the maid said. “It was said she ran away with a servant.”

“I don’t think she really ran away,” Sarah said.


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