The Ghost of Rhosilli Bay

Linking with my poem, this is the story of the Ghost of Rhosilli Bay. The story and characters are fictitious. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is completely accidental. As the story is quite long, it is split into three parts to make it easier to read. Although an erotic ghost story, it is not intended to be horror. It is intended to be more emotional than sexual...

Ghost of Rhosilli Bay

Part 1: Lucy

For all of our human powers of logical reasoning, there are occasions when life does not make sense. This was one such occasion.

Lucy was dead. My Lucy. Torn from the pages of history like a miswritten essay. It occurred ten days ago in a motorway accident on a two-lane stretch of the road east of our home in Swansea. An articulated lorry carrying petroleum gas smashed through the central reservation, hitting the car she was driving. I can only pray that she died instantly. I will dread until my own death, the thought of her in agony in the resulting inferno.

The memorial service was yesterday. Held in the little chapel at her parents’ home in the village of Kilay, a large gathering of family, and friends who had been close during the twenty-two short years of her life, attended the event. Although everyone was sympathetic, that the tragedy occurred just a few months before our intended marriage, I felt her parents blamed me for having taken their little girl away from them. I only feel contempt at the selfish attitude for grief of their own, without awareness of the devastation it has caused others.

This evening, I am walking across the mud flats they call a beach at Rhosilli Bay, the place where Lucy and I met almost eighteen months ago. At first, I was unsure why I had to be here, whether in hope of recapturing the past, or the dread of facing the future alone. I now realise how easy it would be to walk out into the cold waves. To feel their final embrace as the darkness closes around me. The currents in the waters are known to be treacherous, the undertow being strong enough to pull a powerful swimmer out into the Atlantic Ocean. I could disappear without trace. How appealing this sounds.

Rhosilli Bay has never been a holiday-maker’s attraction. Two and half miles of muddy grey sand curve northwards to the outcrop of rock jutting into the sea, and known as The Worm’s Head. The only thing on that narrow spit of land is the location of the Worm’s Head Lifeboat, and the building where the crew members store their equipment. At the other end of the beach is a small café that serves little more than hot drinks to the few anglers who occasionally fish from this lonely stretch of coast. The end of October, and even this is closed, the building battened down against the ferocity of the approaching winter storms.

I am about halfway along the beach, heading away from the wooden shack, with its hand painted sign in white proclaiming “SNACKS.” On my left, the beast beneath the abyss has almost consumed Ra’s fiery chariot with the decapitated god king drenching the horizon in burgundy hues. The melancholy cry of a few gulls mars the peace of sunset as they search for titbits in the surf to sate their predatory ravening.

I am almost at the spot where, on that April evening, I first saw the vision of angelic wonder with her blond curls shimmering in the setting sun. She was walking with her dog; a spaniel that I later learned she called Buttons because of his shiny black eyes. I was sitting on a tussock of grass further from the water’s edge than the path they walked. I was contemplating the glory of the sunset, and considering how to include a description into the text of the novel I was writing when he saw me. He bounded across the sand then shook his long fur sending showers of salty spray over the papers on which I was writing.

His mistress was so apologetic as I tried to dry the notes without smudging ink. I said I could only forgive him if she would allow me to take her out for a meal the following evening. I was surprised she accepted. I will always be amazed why she found a nerdy, bespectacled, balding man like me attractive, but it soon became apparent she did.

As I walk, the waves lap at the strip of shingle between sand and sea. They almost sound like her voice calling me, “William, William,” and then, “come to me, come to me,” as the wave recedes. The temptation is becoming more than I can resist. I know it will only take a minute from my life, and to what else do I have to look forward, but I carry on walking. This torturous indecision is far worse than inhaling water, and choking as my lungs fill with the cold liquid.

I am drawn to the spot where I believe I sat on that wonderful spring day, although it is difficult to tell the exact tussock from which I first caught sight of her. Erosion is the price a westerly facing coast must pay. I sit on one and stare out across the ocean. The last of the daylight merges with the horizon, leaving only bloody footprints in the darkening sky. My greatest appreciation for Rhosilli beach at this moment is the loneliness. Our relationship began here in loneliness; I feel it must also end here in loneliness.

It should not be long before the moon rises in the sky; she will be full within the next couple of days. I have decided to sit here until the misty light reveals a path across the water, on which I can walk to meet my true love. Time passes too slowly when one is alone. There are no lights on a distant shoreline to look at. There should be a red beacon on Worm’s head, but even that appears not to be lit this evening. I have no knowledge of how long I sit here thinking, remembering the past year. Lucy asked if she could move in with me only six months after our first meeting. Her parents were being overly critical she said. I know the criticism was aimed at me; that their daughter, training to be a solicitor, should be attracted to an un-acclaimed author. They hoped she would marry the younger partner of the firm she worked for, and she had dated him a few times before we met. I believe she saw he was more interested in his career than opening himself to her emotional needs, whereas I, a writer and artist, live to feel emotion, my soul bared to passion.

I remember every day and night of that year. The meals we shared, the television films we watched, curled up on the settee, feeding each other with chocolate, or strawberries, or cherries, the classical music we enjoyed together, her musical laughter as we fed scraps of bread to the ducks in the park. I remember every night that we spent between the sheets, the perfume of her scented skin, and the smell of springtime in her hair. I also remember the things she taught me, how to run the tips of my fingers or my tongue over her naked flesh to tease her, and the spots I could touch that would have her writhing on the bed in ecstasy. Even now, I hear her squeals and moans as I caress one particularly sensitive area after another. Every memory of her seems to tighten the crushing sensation in my chest, and brings another tear to my eye. I realise, my life is meaningless without her.

With both hands, I try to wipe the moisture away from my eyes. I regret having decided to wear contact lenses rather than glasses, yet it will be irrelevant when I begin my final walk to her. Death holds no fear for me now. The beach shimmers into focus, hazy white moonlight illuminating the sands like an old black and white film. My eyes sweep from left to right to seal the memory of this wonderland forever in my dreams. In front of me, a shimmering path, a river of ice stretches to the horizon. Winged misty shadows, fleeting wraiths in darkness, float through a surreal pallid glow summoning me to follow. They wheel and glide above the frosted surface, beckoning, calling me in silent whispers. “William, William,” and then, “come with us, come with us.”

It feels as if I am living in a slow motion replay of life as I stumble to my feet. I shuffle forward, my first nervous steps of childhood. I totter across the flowing glacier, gaining strength as I move each foot, one in front of the other. I can feel only coldness around me, but inside that yearning warmth of her love. I want to call out to my Lucy, comfort her, tell her I am ready to join her, to share eternity with her, the same eternity she promised to share with me. My feet, my body are becoming lighter, the flesh being stripped away from bone. The bones too dissolve into fine powder, borne away on sea breezes like clouds of vapour. I have grown wings that will allow me to soar into the night air, to join her among the flickering needle points of starlight. Together, we will dance an endless ballet on the crystal harmonies of time. I hear only a crescendo of rushing wind in my ears, as I plunge forward, leaping into an abyss of darkness, spiralling downward into moonlight to be with her. Forever.

© 2008 Robert A Read. aka Mysteral.


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