saw a man, weeping, leading his pregnant fiancé through the snow. It was only a moment before they vanished, but she swears it was true.

The box of wine fell from her hand, bloodied the snow creeping to the rotting edge of her porch. She didn’t remember stumbling inside, found herself in front of a fire made of week-old newspapers. It wasn’t cleaned—smoke slunk through her home—but she didn’t care.

Her rosary was in her hand. She thought of Joseph. What a jacked-up life. Jealous of the god-damned Big Man Himself, and unable to even know his ever-virgin wife.

The rosary pointed outward where it met the bulge of her womb. She sobbed uncontrollably, cursing the lover who discarded her, praying for the strength to live out her own perpetual virginity.

(This story is part of Loren Eaton’s Advent Ghosts flash-fiction contest. See others at

[Note: First published on 12/24/2010.]