Author's Note: This is in response to Gina on Dickensblog's challenge to "take a passage from any Dickens novel and rewrite it with a ghost in it." (http:/dickensblog . typepad . com/dickensblog/2010/10/the-dickensblog-halloweenfic-challenge . html) It's considerably longer than 100 words (about 250, actually), because about half of it is taken directly from a scene by Dickens, and the other half is my ghostlike insertion.


Prompt #20: Colorless.

Sir Leicester, Lady Dedlock, Bleak House

The greater part of the house is shut up, and it is a show-house no longer; yet Sir Leicester holds his shrunken state in the long drawing room for all that, and reposes in his old place before my Lady's picture. Some nights, drowsing and alone, he thinks she comes down out of her picture and sits by the fire in her old way. In her old way and yet not, for the color has gone from her hair, skin, eyes, clothes, and she is only a glimmer in the firelight, looking at him, with a kind of grief on her face. When she leaves him, he fancies he hears a step on the Ghost's Walk. Once he says to her, "No complaint, my dear. Never any complaint against you. My respect and affection are undiminished." And she nods, more a drooping of the head than a nod, and he wonders if he sees tears glinting on his proud lady's cheek in the firelight. She rises, passes by him. He almost thinks he can feel her hand against his cheek. He does not hear the step on the Ghost Walk again. Closed in by night with broad screens, and illumined only in that part, the light of the drawing-room seems gradually contracting and dwindling until it shall be no more. A little more, in truth, and it will be all extinguished for Sir Leicester; and the damp door in the mausoleum which shuts so tight, and looks so obdurate, will have opened and received him.