In Britain, there is a tradition of telling ghost stories around Christmas.
Here is mine. It's not a traditional ghost story but I hope you enjoy it. It begins like this....
I was born seventeen years ago, in the year of our Lord 900. I give the Christian date because I respect Jesus Christ, who cares for slaves, although I will never worship him. Forgiveness is a creed I do not understand.
The name I was given at birth is not important; the villagers of Oslo never used it. They called me a charmer. Or a witch.
Perhaps I was a witch. I hated water and was afraid of the sea. Once, running along the beach with apples, fleeing the tide, I fell and turned an ankle.
A Viking found me. We knew each other by sight, Bjorn Askson and I. Once, on market day in Oslo, he blew me a kiss. He had been drinking, but I did not care. The way he looked at me then passed straight into my memories. Bjorn was handsome, with the piercing glance of a dragon ship. As different from the man who owned me, the paunchy wizard Gagnrad, as a body could be.
Now Bjorn swung down from his horse and lifted me out of that mess of crushed reed-weave, sand and apples. Gently, as if I was one of his precious bales, the silk-stuff which he traded and which made him rich. He set me on his mount before him.
Neither of us spoke. Gagnrad was always scolding me to take care, not to rush so recklessly, nor speak so boldly, forthright as a free-woman. I was silent and still. I tried not to think about Gagnrad. I leaned back against Bjorn Askson's body, imagining, in as many ways as possible, what it would be like to enjoy that well-shaped mouth.
Bjorn smiled, brushing back the tendrils of blonde hair plastered against my cheek by water. I felt his fingers tighten round my waist. He bent his head.
'You are free to choose.’ He slackened his grip. 'I am not Gagnrad.'
Read the rest here.