The Ghost of Rhosilli Bay

Ghost of Rhosilli Bay

Part 3: Ghost

“Adultery?” I am beginning to wonder what she has in mind.

“Tonight should be my wedding night.” Perhaps it is the look of shock in my eyes. Her hair falls forward, hiding her face as she looks down at the sand. “I am sorry. I should not have said anything. Now I am embarrassed by making the suggestion. What must you think of me?”

Uncertain how I should respond to her, I am not even sure I interpreted her request correctly. If she means what I think, then I believe it would be betrayal of my darling Lucy.

I feel her take a deep breath, and she turns back to face me. “No! This is right. The angels sent you to me knowing what I want from you.” Her cold hand brushes against my cheek while her thumb plays a caress across my lips. “Would you be my William and consummate our marriage?”

My guess was correct. “I didn’t think you could consummate a marriage until you have made wedding vows.”

“I have made my vows. I made them in my prayers before the altar in the church, and I know he has too, even though he is no longer on this earth.”

I have to admit, the feel of her body pressing against mine excites me. I remember her comment about angels preventing us from doing anything silly. I know I walked out into the ocean to be with Lucy, and yet, I am not dead. Is this why I’m still alive? What should I do? Would you ever forgive me Lucy? I am tormented by my demon of masculine lust urging me on, and my conscience holding me back. The demon is winning.

In attempt to be practical, I ask, “Where would you like to go? Is your home close by?”

“What is wrong with here? We are alone and unlikely to be disturbed.”

“Well, the cold for a start. You are already freezing. It can only make you worse. Have you no place we can go to? A marriage bed or perhaps a warm fire we could snuggle up beside?”

She shakes her head. “I have no where. We will be warm enough here.”

I wish my car was nearer, but with only one approach road to the beach, I had left it by the café. However, now we are away from the water’s edge, the temperature does feel higher and quite mild for a night in mid-autumn.

Raising herself on her knees, she shakes my coat from her shoulders. “Will you help me with my dress?”

Together, we loosen the laces. The way it pulls her stomach into such a narrow waist, it is almost like a corset, and must be very uncomfortable to wear. With the bodice loose, there is little difference in the shape of her figure. I wonder if it is really necessary. She withdraws her arms from the sleeves of the dress as I spread the coat on the sand for her to lie. With the bodice loose around her waist, she catches sight of me watching. She wears no bra, but places one arm across her chest to hide her breasts. She seems extremely modest, yet she has nothing for which to be embarrassed. She has a gorgeous body, and I tell her so.

“I am not used to anyone looking at me. You are the first man ever to see me naked.”

“What about your William? Surely, he must have seen you.”

I sense horror as her eyes open wide in shock. “Not until we are married!”

It’s my turn to look surprised. “That’s a very old-fashioned way of looking at things. Does that mean you have never had sex with him?”

“Do you think I am some kind of whore? It is why this night is so very special for me.” She seemed to consider for a while. “Do you mean to tell me that you and Lucy have?" As I nod my head, she continues, "I am sorry, I did not mean to infer that she is a whore.”

“We have lived together for a year…well until her death.”

“I knew you were not local to this area.” She looked up at the stars. “I wish I lived in a community that was so open-minded. I see now why she was so close to you, that you both had such a wonderful relationship.” She lies back on the coat as she speaks. “Please show me what Lucy most enjoyed.”

I kneel beside her, grasping her dress, my hands each side of her waist. I feel her shiver as my fingers touch her milky white skin. She raises her buttocks to let the dress slide down over her hips to her thighs. I continue drawing it down until she bends each knee and raises one foot at a time, that I may remove it completely. The only item she now wears is a pair of white linen shorts. She still has her arm covering her breasts, but she has her eyes closed, almost as if she is afraid to see me looking at her.

I slide the fingers of one hand down across her stomach to the waistband of the garment. A trembling shudder, a sharp gasp of breath and movement of her free hand suggests her reactions were to prevent me going further. She stops herself, and then sucks her stomach muscles in to allow me room to slide my hand beneath the clothing. My fingers touch soft curls of pubic hair, but I am unwilling to explore further…for the moment. I move the hand sideways to her hip, while sliding the other hand to similar position on the other hip. Again, she raises her buttocks just enough to allow me to slip the garment off. This time, she does move her hand down, sliding the palm over the hairs to cover her pelvic mound and her fingers between the tops of her parted thighs. I continue to remove the last of her clothing, but make no effort to persuade her to expose her nakedness to my eye. Instead, I remove the sweater and T-shirt I wear.

Pulling the shirt over my head, I see she has one eye not quite closed, peeping at me through long eyelashes. I smile at her. The eye closes fully as if in embarrassment, but the corners of her mouth curl into a smile. She looks so innocent with her eyes closed, and her face curtained by the long black hair. I sense how the sculptor who crafted the Venus de Milo must have felt when he first saw the model who posed for him.

I kick off my shoes before unfastening the belt of my trousers and removing them too, followed by boxer shorts. A sideways peek at her shows she is again peeping at me. I feel no embarrassment to let her see how much her naked body has excited me, how aroused I have become. I lie beside her, watching her eyes until they flick open. Holding her gaze, I touch the first two fingers of my hand against her lips. They feel moist, still cool but certainly warmer. Her mouth is relaxed, so I use my fingers to separate the lips, slipping the tips between her parted teeth. She seems unsure of my intention, but I feel her tongue caress my fingers. Moving the hand away, I press my mouth over hers, my tongue licking against her lips. They part again, and I feel the tip of her tongue touch mine. A further tingle of anticipation runs through me.

I grasp the wrist of her arm that covers her breasts and pull it away. There is only a moment of resistance before she allows me to move it to her side. My hand slides to her throat, barely touching the skin, but causing a tremble to shiver through her body. For long moments, my thumb caresses the side of her neck, sensing the tightening muscles as she swallows, feeling the breath inhaled through partly open mouth, coursing into her lungs.

The fingers of my other hand grip the head of my erection in attempt to stifle the overwhelming sense of sexual urgency. As the back of my hand brushes against her thigh, another faint shudder passes through her and then I feel her hand, barely touching, just two fingers against the rigid shaft, undoing my effort to reduce the tension. Air hisses as she inhales through her teeth, perhaps, if this is her first time, in anticipation of feeling its hardness buried inside her. She spreads her legs further apart as if to allow me ease of access, but I am not ready to surrender to her demands, not just yet. From her throat, I slide my hand down between her breasts, the back of the hand and nails grazing with out pressure over her skin.

I kiss her throat as the inside of my thumb caresses the tip of a nipple, squeezing it between thumb and finger. She whimpers as her rate of breathing intensifies into short gasps. Her eyes close, the tip of her tongue moistens the top lip as another shudder shakes her body. I roll partly on top of her, my chest and stomach covering her right arm, the hand of which still touches me, exploring. She moans, almost a howl, and I press my lips again over her mouth stifling a second yelp, or perhaps the surprise of the kiss smothers the sound into a choking sob. My teeth bite into her lower lip, just holding, but with no pressure to break the skin or draw blood. As my fingers move to the other breast, I am surprised at how hard her nipples have become. Again, I squeeze the tip with enough pressure to make her cry out before adding more pressure in my teeth holding her lip.

I move the hand down over her stomach, letting the nails graze her skin, feeling the contraction of her abdominal muscles. I move the fingers into the curls of hair. Unlike Lucy’s bikini wax, Bernadette is completely natural. I see she has no adornments, no pierced skin dangling with knick-knacks. As I look closer, I also realise she wears no make-up, no eye shadow, not even a lip-gloss. Until now I had not even noticed. My hand continues, sliding over her pelvic bone. I feel her other hand massaging, pleasuring herself in small circles over the clitoris. The reason for the spasms clenching her abdomen are now apparent.

My fingers clasp her wrist, pulling her hand away to allow me free access to touch her. The tips of my fingers fondle and tease as I masturbate her. She tries to turn her head away against the pressure of my teeth on her lip and cries out in pain when I bite harder. As the moment of passion engulfs her, I move my hand down into the warm sticky juices oozing from her vaginal slit, forcing two fingers inside her. Releasing her lip, I bury my face into the soft hair at the side of her neck. My teeth clench into the lobe of her ear causing her to cry out again. The hand she had been so blatant in using to raise her animal excitement, she throws around my back, clinging to me as if she fears for her life, by drowning in fervours of dark pleasure. Her fingernails clench into the skin of my shoulder, as her back arches and her entire body shudders in ecstatic convulsions. Then, as if surrendering to the consequences of her climax, her body goes limp, both hands, so savage in retaining her grip on sanity relaxing as she gasps for air.

Rising onto my knees, I move between her parted thighs and rub wet fingers against my hardened cock to ease the final penetration. With the same hand, I guide it into her moist opening. Almost immediately, her body becomes rigid as again she cries out. Lost in the intensity of my own urges, I am uncertain if her howl is from pain or pleasure. Through eyes, half closed I watch her teeth grimacing through parted lips, and eyes screwed so tightly shut, it seems more likely pain. Perhaps my urgency displays excessive aggression through violation of her invitation. For a second time her back tries to form an arch against my weight, as the nails of both hands gouge into the flesh of my shoulders. I try to slow my thrusting motions, but am unable to control my passion, almost as if this was my first sexual experience. I submit to the inevitable while forcing her mouth open, trying to suck her tongue into my throat. It feels not so much a release of my orgasm, but more as if she is draining energy from my body. Her pelvic muscles contract as she sucks every drop of juice from my sac. I collapse, gasping for breath and burying my face into black hair on the sand while her hands relax, although still holding me; not that I have any strength left to attempt escape. Many minutes pass before my breathing returns almost to normality, and the blood flow depletes, reducing my erection.

* * *

I want to talk to her, yet we dress in silence. I feel a little embarrassed, perhaps she feels the same way. We stand, facing each other, and I take her hands in mine, pulling her to me, wishing to say something to prevent the rapture of this moment from being lost to eternity. I can only think of clichés, such as asking if it was as good for her as it was for me, but the words would belittle the passion between us. There is a dreamy appearance in her eyes, as if they are focussed on a point in infinity, which, with the upward curl at the corners of her mouth and slightly parted lips, gives me the idea she is communicating with entities beyond the reality of this world. Perhaps she can see the angels she spoke of earlier. I almost hear her whispered words of thanks to them in the hiss of the waves beyond the drifted dunes of sand.

Or perhaps she is aware of the presence of her William. I try to concentrate on Lucy, but am dismayed that I no longer feel her near me. There is a sensation of dread that the closeness I felt with her such a short while ago seems to have been overwhelmed by my cognition of Bernadette. What have I done? Has this moment of lust destroyed forever the feelings of love between us. I want to ask her forgiveness if she could only hear.

“I suppose I have to go.”

Her words draw me back to the present, and I stoop to retrieve the coat on which she lay. “Shall I walk with you for a while?”

She smiles. “Perhaps, for a little way.”

With the coat again draped around her shoulders, we head away from the sea walking in the moonlight. I place my arm about her, and she tilts her head to the side to rest it on my shoulder. I try to believe I am with Lucy rather than Bernadette, but the sensation still remains a distant confusion. We turn onto a path that runs beside a stone wall, perhaps encircling the grounds of a large house. I have never seen this place before. In front is an arched gateway before which we stop.

“I must leave you here,” she says. “Thank you for this wonderful evening. Now I can rest peacefully.”

“Before you go, can I see you again? I’d very much like to.”

“No, I think that will not be possible.”

“But why?” I feel confused by her refusal.

She looks so sad as her eyes meet mine. “I am sorry, believe me, I am truly sorry.” She turns to glance through the wrought iron gates then continues, “You must have no fear, for there is nothing for which you need to ask Lucy’s forgiveness. Now I must go. Please do not try to follow me.” She stretches forward on her toes to press her lips against mine. Hers are again icy cold.

She turns, and the coat slips from her shoulders, falling in a heap on the ground while I am puzzled how she knows my fear of betraying Lucy. She runs to the gate as I stoop to pick up my coat. I look up, but she has already gone through and disappeared. It takes me no more than a few seconds to put the coat on. I know she said I was not to follow, but I am only four or five strides away from the entrance.

The gates are heavy wrought iron hanging in a stone archway of Gothic design. The iron looks to be in need of a coat of paint to cover the rusting metal. The gateway is wide enough to allow cars to pass through. I grasp the two gates and pull. They move no more than two inches with a grating screech and then jam. I can force them no further apart due to the heavy chain and padlock holding them closed. Yet I can see no other way of entry.

I peer through between the metal bars, but there is no sign of Bernadette. I am looking into an overgrown garden. Brambles and nettles have choked the life from any garden plants. The moonlight shines on several stone statutes leaning at drunken angles. I see one, a life-sized angel standing on a stone plinth, holding a trumpet in one hand while the other, raised in the air, ends in a stump above the elbow. The back of the plinth has subsided, so that it blows the trumpet at the stars. I can see other smaller stones set at angles in the ground, and several crosses. Realisation comes to me with horror; I am looking into an unattended, unkempt cemetery.

I have to get inside. The wall each side of the arch is low enough for me to scale. This place being so far from a residential estate, I am pleased to see the council have not found it necessary to embed broken glass into the top, and am soon able to drop down into the grounds. Moving along an overgrown, pebble-strewn pathway, I try to read epitaphs on several tombs, but the light of the moon is insufficient and the stone too old to decipher the chiselled lettering. I am expecting at any moment to see the dark cowled figure of death himself, glaring at me from the mouldering plinth of a sepulchre, while visions of the fanged demons rising from the grave add to the unease I feel. This haunting moonlight seems to be calling out to the un-dead.

Farther along the path, the stones seem newer until I see one that appears fresh, as if the grave is no more than a few days old. It seems to be set apart from the others, so I am intrigued to read the inscription. I kneel beside the stone, and as the vaporous translucence of pallid radiance illuminates the art of the mason, I read:

Bernadette Evans, who took her own
life by drowning on 5th April, 1895.
RIP.

I am confused. Can coincidence be so incredulous? Could the Bernadette to whom I gave my soul such a short while ago be the same Bernadette incarcerated beneath this greensward of decay? The grave is fresh, yet this should be October 2008, not April 1895. I continue reading:

Also to the memory of her fiancé,
William Davidson, lost at sea,
30th March 1895.
“And in the fullness of time,
the sea will give up its dead.”

I have a sensation of the blood being drained from my body and replaced with ice, for the name William Davidson is one I have always known. It is the same as my own, the name I was given at birth. I sit back on my heels, contemplating the mysteries of the universe and then re-reading the quotation, which I believe is from the Bible, understanding comes.

Standing, I turn and walk back along the lonely path toward Rhosilli Beach. I now know that one day Bernadette will come again to me, for Bernadette and Lucy are the same. I vow to walk this desolate path from cemetery to beach each evening until that day when she will appear with her dog, Buttons, for I know that I did die, yet I have no grave, no tomb or sepulchre in which to rest. I have nowhere to lie. Loneliness is my only friend; grief is my companion for I am the spectre, the phantom, the ghost of Rhosilli Bay from now until, in the fullness of time, the cycle will once again be complete.

© 2008 Robert A Read. aka Mysteral.

 

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