“Smee” by A. M. Burrage
Card picked: 10 of Spades
From: One of the great things about Deal Me In is finding new favorite short stories. “Smee” is from Jay’s list of Ten Favorite Ghost Stories. It’s available in text form at Scary for Kids (even scarier for adults).
There was a time when even adults played games in the dark. Not *those* kinds of games! Sheesh.* But games like hide and sneek, and maybe smee, provided some at-home entertainment before the internet, before TV, before the radio gave people other things to do.
The rules of smee are simple. Each player takes a slip of paper. On one of the slips, “SMEE” is written. When the lights go out, the person with “SMEE” goes and hides. The rest of the players try to find SMEE, challenging one another with “Smee?” If the person isn’t “smee,” they answer “It’s me!” or rather “Smee!” If a seeker encounters the real SMEE, the challenge is met with silence. The seeker then silently stays with SMEE until the last person has gathered where SMEE was hiding. This game works is very amusing! …Unless, you play with one extra: a ghost who you might meet in the dark, who will meet your challenge of “Smee?” only with silence.
A good good ghost story doesn’t need to be complex. The ghost doesn’t need to be bloodily vengeful, have an intense hatred of the living, or even need to have their spirit put to rest. All a good ghost story needs is living people and a ghost. And an author that can conjure up the uncanny with just those two ingredients. I highly recommend “Smee” for a chilling September-Christmas read.
* Although the end of “Smee” does include a minor misunderstanding about a couple being supposedly alone for an extended period.