“There’s a ghost up there.”
Carrie glanced at the little boy standing in front of her as she packed up the rest of her beach gear. According to her stomach, it was just about dinner time.
“Up there,” He pointed to the widow’s walk on top of the beach house she was staying at. “There’s a ghost up there.”
“There is?” She looked around the nearly empty beach looking to see if she could find whoever this little boy belonged to. She’d never been very comfortable around children, or adults for that matter. But she certainly couldn’t leave the kid alone on the beach.
“Yep. My Dad told me a lady ghost lives up there but she’s not the scary kind. Wanna see my shells?”
He shoved his little hand into the pocket of his bathing suit pulling out a small fist full of sand, rocks, and broken shells. A small sand crab slipped through the little boys fingers and scurried across the sand in search of safety.
He looked at his shattered treasure and wrinkled his brow in a very grownup manner then shrugged his little sunburned shoulders.
“They’re broken. I’ll go get some more, there’s a bunch of them over there.” As he ran off toward the jetties Carrie shook her head.
They were cute when they were five or six years old but eventually they grow up to be men, and as sure as the sun rises every morning, one day he’ll shatter some girl’s heart the same way he shattered those broken shells he’d held in his hand.
Carrie sighed, grabbed her beach bag and towel and began the short walk back to the house after first making sure the kid wasn’t alone. He was giggling as he walked hand in hand between his Parents and the obvious affection they displayed hit Carrie in the gut.
She ran the rest of the way to the old Victorian house on the beach.
In the Family for generations, the house looked as neglected as Carrie felt.
It used to be overrun with extended Family and friends all summer long and left empty for most of the winter. Over the years, as everyone grew up and moved away, the house sat vacant most of the time. Carrie was the only one who still cared about the house, and after another brutal breakup with yet another selfish bastard Carrie decided some time alone in Cape May was just what the Doctor ordered.
Luckily she could get her work done wherever she was as long as she had an internet connection, one thing she’d made sure this house was equipped with.
So here she was.
As Carrie got closer to the house she noticed something from the corner of her eye. Looking hard at the Widow’s Walk she could swear she saw someone pacing back and forth. When she got close enough though, there was no one there.
“Ghosts,” she muttered to herself. “That’s great, the Father teaches his boy to lie now and the kid will be a pro by the time he grows up, just like the rest of them.”
Carrie tossed and turned as she tried to sleep that night. The four poster bed was comfortable enough but she couldn’t turn her brain off. The curtains stirred softly swaying to the rhythm of the ocean breeze. The surf pounded hypnotically against the shore, the sound of an occasional gull squawking usually lulled her to sleep but tonight Carrie heard another sound, she could swear she heard the sound of a woman crying.
Slipping out of bed, Carrie’s bare feet padded softly across the wooden floor as she made her way to the kitchen for a glass of warm milk. That usually helped when she couldn’t fall asleep, especially when she added a shot or two of Baileys Irish Crème.
She rinsed out the glass hoping it would work fast and made her way back upstairs, an unexpected yawn taking her by surprise.
As she walked by the door that led to the Widow’s Walk, Carrie heard the crying sound she heard earlier and thought of the little boy on the beach earlier with his tale of ghosts.
Shaking off the shiver passing through her body Carrie doubled back to the kitchen in search of the old key to the door. She hadn’t been up there since she was a kid but that damn crying sound was getting louder with each step she took.
Carrie came to a dead halt as she stepped outside onto the Widow’s Walk.
Standing at the far corner of was a woman staring out to sea, small sobs spilling from her sad mouth.
She was a beautiful vision, her face cameo perfect, her long auburn locks tossed about by the night breeze. Clad in an old fashioned white gown, it flowed about her body draping into a small pool at her feet.
She turned her body slightly, wide eyes locking onto Carrie’s. The pale skinned woman’s face mirrored emotions Carrie was all too familiar with, hopelessness, despair, hurt, and a deep sadness.
“Please help me M’Lady,” the ghostly figure whispered.
“Wh-what….who are you?” Carrie questioned softly.
“I am Lady Amanda Reed,” she said with a small curtsy. “I am in grave need of your assistance m’lady. Please Miss, I beg of you, please help me.”
The apparition broke off into a fit of weeping again, her sobbing becoming more intense by the second.
“What do you want? And what the hell are you doing in my house?” Carrie could have sworn she didn’t put that much alcohol in her warm milk and the goosebumps on her arms made her fairly sure this wasn’t a dream.
The woman, the Lady, continued to wail.
“Oh for Heaven’s sake, stop crying!” Carrie snapped.
It was bad enough having a conversation with a dream ghost but she was in no mood to listen to that infernal sobbing all night long.
“Forgive me M’Lady,” her sobs quieted as she spoke. “You must help me. My love awaits my signal. He is to come for me at the flash of my lantern.”
Lady Amanda sniffed back a few tears.
“Yeah right, that’s what they all say,” Carrie muttered.
“Tis true! My love promised to come for me at my signal,” she insisted.
“Well then where the hell is he?”
“I’ve yet to signal him,” Lady Amanda cried. “I’ve tried,” she looked confused. “I have tried countless times M’Lady but I can not seem to, hard as I try.”
Her delicate hand reached out for the lantern at her side and passed right through it.
“I do not understand… oh please help me,” she held her arms out toward Carrie pleadingly.
“Oh for Heaven’s sake!” Carrie grabbed the lantern and looked around for some matches.
Then she remembered the box of matches she’d hidden up here for those times she would sneak up here for a private cigarette. Bingo.
The matches were old and it took a few tries but finally Carrie was able to light the lantern. Anything to stop the annoying sobbing over some stupid lying man.
Lady Amanda let out a gasp. Carrie followed her gaze out to sea and saw a ship appear out of nowhere, sails billowing in the moonlit breeze.
“Tis him! He has come for me!” Lady Amanda gave a sigh of relief as Carrie’s jaw dropped.
The nearly transparent ship was hovering in the sea close to the shoreline.
Carrie watched silently as the shape of a man ran across the small stretch of beach toward her house. He climbed onto the trellis, scaled the roof and leaped over the railing landing softly next to his Lady.
He was as strikingly handsome as she was beautiful. He pulled her into his arms and kissed her long and hard.
“My sweet love,” he said, “at long last! Now we shall be together forever.”
The ghostly pair, tangled together in each others arms looked fondly at Carrie.
They began to shimmer and glow, slowly fading away from view.
“Thank you ever so much M’Lady,” Lady Amanda whispered fervently. “We will not forget your kindness. If we can ever offer you any assistance in return, come here to this very place and send us a signal with the lantern. We owe you M’Lady, and we will not forget what you have done for us.”
They were nearly gone, fading from view as the handsome man met Carrie’s eyes, “Do not give up hope sweet Miss, some of us do indeed keep our word.”
With a wink and a nod, they both disappeared.
Carrie looked around at the now empty Widow’s Walk. She looked down at the ocean and for just a second she could swear she saw a ship glide soundlessly through the moonlit sea.
Maybe there is hope after all, Carrie thought to herself.
Maybe it just takes time.