Fingerhat

Boris shivered and huddled up in a ball inside the tent. Outside the winds whistled a tune and the snow danced in time. He drew his blanket closer around him, but the cold was beginning to seep into his scalp. It would be hours before help arrived. He was in danger, maybe this wasn’t exactly the circumstances his grandfather had boasted of, but the outcome – death – would be the same.

He slid a hand up inside his shirt to the pendant that hung around his neck. He slipped the catch on the chain and brought the pendant out from the rug. It seemed to glow with a soft gold light that caressed the gloom away. He held it against his cheek for a moment. The metal surface of the pendant still remembered the warmth from its home next to his chest. Boris twisted the clasp at one end. The glow escaped from the pendant, drifted over to the corner of the tent, and coalesced into the shape of a man.

“YOU SUMMONED ME?” said the ghost.

“I am in peril,” Boris protested. “I’m terribly cold.”

“THIS WEAKLING IS MY DESCENDANT?”

“Help me!”

“VERY WELL,” said the ghost, and he placed a hand on Boris’ head.

Boris waited.

“Is that it?” he exclaimed.

“IT’S WARM, ISN’T IT?” said the ghost. “IT WORKED FOR YOUR GRANDFATHER.”

“It’s just a little undignified,” complained Boris.

Yet no more suggestions came. So they sat there, for several hours, sulking across the generations.

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