The Ghost on the Shore

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic

The tale of the ghost on the shore has echoed. Two lovers discuss on the dock, telling stories. However, neither the ghost nor the lovers could know what was to happen.

The sun was setting on the horizon and the waters seemed to still. Two lovers were at the end of the dock, sitting at the edge of it. They dangled their legs over the water, hand in hand, as they watched the sun return to it's grave. The boy turned to the girl with a smirk on his lips, “Hey, have you heard the story of the ghost on the shore?”

The girl looked up at him inquisitively, “What? The ghost on the shore?”

“Yeah! You're telling me you've lived here your entire life and you don't know the tale?”
“I guess I am.”

“They say that after dark—and you almost always have to be sitting on the end of this dock—that you'll see a ghost here. Usually, she's on the shore of the island over there in the distance.”

“What!? Doing what?”

“I've heard a couple of different stories—where they talk about the woman collecting rocks, the woman in the boat... I've even heard a few where the woman was sitting here on this dock, where we are right now. They always see her in a dress, all alone, but she's almost always acting like somebody is with her...”

 

She awoke again on the island, staring up at the sky that was still as black as ink. She sat up and looked around, there she was. Again, on the island. She knew she'd been there in this state before, yet she couldn't remember how she got there or what happened while she was there the last time. What she did remember was that she had somewhere to be. She felt a pull. A little voice in her head, perhaps her own, that told her “keep going”. So she did.

She got to her feet, her eyes scanning the surroundings, of which she could somehow see with only the looming abyss above her to sustain light. It was gloomy, as if it were nighttime. The waters were dark and the dock was empty. The breeze caught her dress and the fabric ripped away from her until it clung to her side, flowing with the wind. As the girl stood there, wondering what she was supposed to be doing, a light caught her eye. It burst into existence like fireflies underneath the water... and that's exactly what it reminded her of.

 

She blinked and suddenly, she was standing next to him. The sky was orange, the setting sun was going out with a bang. The scenery reminded her of a painting she'd see in an art gallery somewhere and it caught her off guard. The fireflies were beginning to ignite, floating about as they glowed. He looked down at her; it took her a moment to notice. He caught her eye, she turned her head to look at him.

Finally noticing that their hands were intertwined as he pulled her closer, he touched her cheek and he looked into her eyes. The only thing she could see was him. “I love you, Grace.”

Her lips moved to form the words without them ever crossing her mind, “And I love you, Jay.”

He kissed her, but her mind was elsewhere. It didn't feel as if this were happening in reality, but it tugged at her heartstrings anyhow. She was breathless. She felt the forlorn atmosphere crushing her as this played out. This wasn't actually Jay, even the name Grace was like a foreign thought.

 

At this realization, she opened her eyes when she felt his touch fade away and she was there on the shore once again. In the darkness, all alone. Her breath caught in her throat, the agony reverberating in her rib cage like a heartbeat, and fell to her knees. The lights under the water began to shine even more brightly now as she sobbed on the shore. Though her vision was blurry from the tears she felt rushing down her cheeks, she saw the persistent twinkling piercing the dark between her racking sobs. This time, she noticed that it was a cluster of twinkles, though it almost seemed as if she were looking directly into the grave of the sun.

Grace stood and wiped away her tears, remembering that she had a purpose. They still threatened to spill over, but she attempted to control herself. She wade into the dark waters which reached her hip when she found herself in reaching distance of the lights. She bent down, sticking her hand into the cold water, her fingers brushed up against one of the lights. It was smooth and it was cold, then it was as if the waves of a memory washed over her before she could pull it out of the water.

 

Grace blinked and suddenly she was on the edge of the dock, sitting there by herself. She wasn't expecting company. She grabbed one of the skipping rocks from the pile she had sitting beside her involuntarily and she chucked it across the water. She counted the skips as it hit the surface, one, two, three, four, five. It skipped one more time before it plopped into the deep, never to be found again.

Grace heaved a deep sigh when she heard the voice, “Skipping rocks, again? Is this in your every day routine, Grace?”

She turned to the familiar sound to meet Jay's eyes, her own lighting up with excitement at the tone of his voice, and she smirked. “Unless you don't call 'every day' routine... no.”

He flashed her a crooked smile before he sat down beside her on the dock. He took a stone in his hand and tried to skip it across the water. It hit the surface hard and went down like he wasn't even trying. Grace laughed, he shot her a sideways glare.

“Here, Jay.” Grace grabbed two rocks, placing one in his hand before poising to skip it, “Watch me do it.”

Her form was perfect, the rock went flying and skipped across the lake maybe seven times before finally going under. Jay snorted, “How the hell am I supposed to beat THAT?”

“You can't.” She giggled.

“If I make this last longer than yours, I dare you to eat sand.”

“Deal.”

“Oh yeah? Deal.”

He chucked the rock, copying her form, except with the added power of his stroke. It hit the water just one time more than Grace's rock did before it let itself drown. She felt her jaw drop as she turned her head to look at him. He wore a shit-eating grin on his face, his eyes alight.

“We made a deal.”

 

Grace blinked and she was thrown again into the dark. She opened her eyes as her fingers wrapped around the stone and plucked it from it's resting place. She looked down at the skipping rock between her fingers, feeling her lungs shrivel up in her chest as it twinkled and lit up the shadows. Her body shook as she clenched the rock in her fist. Before she could let herself fall apart, she wound her arm up and skipped the rock across the surface of the water. She watched it until it drowned, where the light it emitted faded the deeper it fell.

It felt like she'd buried something that needed to be buried. But then, she was left with herself again. Not for the first time, she thought, where is Jay?
She stared off into the distance, into the abyss, until she heard the voice again.

Keep going.

Grace glanced down at the lights underneath the water and watched how the waves distorted their image. She felt apprehensive as she knelt down and reached into the deep, then she felt something. Her fingers brushed against the light's slick surface and, again, she was crushed underneath the tsunami of a memory.

 

It was her and Jay, by themselves. They stood at the end of the dock this time. It was night, the crickets were chirping and the hordes of fireflies caused an enchanting scene in front of them. Grace was overwhelmed by the sight, as she was every time she saw it. She didn't notice the fact that Jay kept glancing back and then at her.

She had found him here, just standing at the end of the dock, staring off into whatever thoughts consumed him. He reached for something in his pocket and withdrew a pack of cigarettes. He took one out, placing it between his lips, before he offered one to her. “Want one?” He managed to keep the cigarette between his teeth as he spoke.

“No, thank you.” Grace denied him politely. He shrugged, shoving it back into his pocket, and flipped open his zippo. The light of the flame lit up his face. For a moment, Grace could see the ghosts swimming in his irises. He inhaled to light the end of his cigarette, taking a long drag, before he exhaled the smoke through his nostrils. He flipped his zippo's cap back and turned his eyes to the scenery.

“It's beautiful, isn't it?”

“Yeah.”

“It's almost as beautiful as you.”

Grace smiled brightly at him although he wasn't looking at her, turning her gaze to the scenery once again, unaware of what was going through Jay's mind.

 

She blinked and she was in the dark. Grace wrapped her fingers around the object in the water, assuming it was a rectangle by the way she had to pluck it from the dirt. She found that, when she pulled it from the water and began to examine the glowing box, it was Jay's zippo. For a reason that Grace couldn't decipher, this sent chills down her spine. Uncertainty consumed Grace as she stood there, staring down at the gleaming golden zippo in her hand. A feeling of dread crept up her spine until the only thought she had was “THROW IT”. So she did. She pulled her arm back and let it fly. She watched it twinkle like a falling star in the shadows, but as it flew through the air, it lost it's golden gleam and became indecipherable among abyss.

Her breaths were coming shallow and quick, her flesh was tingling. Grace had no idea why she reacted that way to a possession of Jay's, other than it had something to do with the lights underneath the water. She understood that her purpose was to find the reason why. Yet the thought of it sent her reeling into a panic attack the likes of which she could never fathom.

KEEP GOING.

Grace forced herself to plunge her arm into the water once again, screwing her eyes shut as forcefully as possible. When her hand touched the object she chose to pull out of the water next, the transition wasn't as immediate as she thought it would be. She waited for the vision to flood her every vein, but she felt as though she was in the same place. First, she opened one eye, then the other popped open at the shock of what she saw.

 

Jay was in the shadows of the woods, a shovel in his hands, standing in a shallow hole. It was nighttime, the fireflies lighting up the dark as they did. But even so, Grace could barely make out the mound of dirt and the flashing of the trash bag that lay on the other side of the hole. She could feel the disturbing vibe that cause the bile to rise up. But it was Jay.

Never did she think he could do this.

“Jay?” Her whisper broke the silence and he swung around with the shovel raised up in his hands as if to strike somebody down. His eyes were wild with something that crawled underneath his skin. Whoever stood there in front of Grace was not Jay, she was certain of it. It was a monster wearing his face.

“What are you doing out here, Grace?” His voice was quiet. But it was aggressive and foretold of the dark things that invaded even his breath as he exhaled his words. He stared at her with his vehement eyes, waiting for her to say anything. Do anything. She could see that his muscles were wound tight as he held the shovel up.

“I couldn't sleep. I wanted to see the fireflies over the lake.”

“It's 3 in the morning.”

“I know.”

There was silence. Grace stared into Jay's eyes fearfully, he stared back at her like a predator approaching a kill. The ghost of a smile haunted his lips. “Grace...”

“W-what?” She was about to turn to run, but she had to hear what he had to say. Her body physically wouldn't move until she heard it.

“I have to kill you now, you know.”

He raised the shovel even higher for the slightest of pauses before he swung the shovel's spade into the side of her head.

 

Grace sucked in a gasp of breath, feeling as though she had actually sustained a blow to the head. She wavered in the water as she struggled to pull whatever object there was out of the tumultuous depths. Whatever it was, it was icy and thin. She pulled harder and it came lose, throwing her back. Grace stumbled until she lost her footing and fell into shallows. She sat there on the sand with the spade of a golden shovel in her hand, staring at it in horror as she held it. The handle wasn't attached to it and it gleamed with a malevolent sparkle.

She began to hyperventilate as she scrambled to her feet. The cold of the spade began to seep into her hand, the constricting nerves sending a wave of agony to her brain. She wailed as she turned and threw the spade of the shovel like she would a skipping rock. It skipped unceremoniously across the water only twice before it hit the surface once more and began to sink. The glowing faded as it did with everything else.

Grace saw now that there was only one more in the depths of the lake. But still, she felt as though she had actually been hit with a shovel. The throbbing in her head was an indication, but it was the dizziness that got to her. Her vision was blurred as she tried to get to her feet. Her knees wobbled and she lurched forward; she threw her hands out to catch herself. Grace splashed into the lake, coughing violently as she pulled the water into her lungs.

KEEP GOING!

“Help,” she gasped, unable to form the words correctly. She tried to right herself and try again, with volume, “Help!”

There was nothing. The urgent voice was gone and with it came the persistence of the pull. She began to crawl toward the glowing object under the water involuntarily. The water came up over Grace's head, the air stolen from her lungs. No matter how badly she wanted to stop, she had to keep going. Underneath the surface, she could barely see through the murky water. Fish turned tail and swam away as she crawled toward the light, disturbed. She dug her fingers into the sand to drag herself through the water to whatever lay in wait.

When she was within reaching distance and it felt as if her lungs were bursting in her rib cage, she reached out to grab it. Her flesh connected with the surface.

 

She opened her eyes. Immediately she was overcome with the urge to vomit. She rolled over and attempted to empty the contents of her stomach into the bottom of the boat. She succeeded only in dry heaving, the dizziness consuming her. It was all she knew. Until he spoke.

“Finally conscious, I see.”

Grace forced herself to get onto her back instead of face-down, her eyes connected with Jay's. He smirked down at her with the intentions of a devil. His own eyes were still cold, lusting for blood, and flooded with untamable madness. “We're on the lake, Grace. Isn't this what you wanted?”

Grace tried to focus on the scenery behind him, but Jay was all Grace's damaged brain would recognize. She felt her blood turn to ice in her veins as he spoke to her. The monsters crawling around every change in his voice, swarming in like gnats. They spoke of her imminent death and the disgusting intricacies of every little thing. She felt her breath catch in her throat, it felt as though she were choking on oxygen.

“Calm down. The worst part is over, my little Grace.” He leaned in, Grace was incapacitated. Unable to move away from him. “You see, I've been... itching... to do this for a very, very long time. Since we were teenagers. Since I started killing.”

“First, it was Thomas Smith down the street. Do you remember him?”

She did. A childhood friend of both of theirs. He saw the glimmer of acknowledgment in her blown out irises and a dark smirk seized his face. “He didn't commit suicide, I killed him.”

“You're probably wondering why I'm telling you this. Well, Grace... Truthfully, I never loved you. It was all a game to me. I was always wondering, could I kill this woman? This woman that I claim to love?” He chuckled as he leaned in a little bit closer, “I wasn't certain I could until I hit you with that shovel, my dear. But I can... and I will.”

He grabbed Grace's face and forced her to focus only on his wild irises.

“Nobody will ever find you, Grace Hawthorne.”

 

Grace struggled with the object that glimmered in the dark. She felt her fingers wrap around a sort of rope. She tugged on it, but it wouldn't come free. She tugged with all of her strength, gathering every bit of willpower she had left, until there was movement under the mud. Then, suddenly, everything went black.

 

“Have you seen it?” The girl asked tentatively.

“The ghost?” The boy echoed her thoughts, “Well, no, but I've heard way too many stories for it to be untrue.”

“Oh, really?”

“Yeah, rea--” He cut himself off before he had the chance to finish. His eyes were fixed on something off in the distance. His grip tightened considerably around the girls hand, but she wouldn't be fooled.

“Cut the bullshit, Jake!”

“Look, Katie.”

“Stop it!”

“LOOK!” Jake pointed with his free hand at something in the water. The girl sighed heavily before she turned to look at whatever he was pointing out. To her surprise, his finger wasn't pointed toward the island. She scanned the horizon until she found what he saw. Then, her breath caught in her throat. Her fingers tightened around his as well.

“T-t-the body came up from under the water.”

“Call an ambulance.”

 

The abyss that consumed Grace was broken by the faint twinkling of a white light somewhere off in the distance. Grace found herself able to control her body. She was lying, face-up, on the ground. All she saw was the abyss and the already blinding light. She forced herself to stand, finding it coming to her naturally and executing it smoothly, as though she hadn't sustained massive brain damage.

She glanced around, trying to find something but that light, yet that's all there was to see.

“Keep going.” She spoke aloud to herself. Grace paused for a moment before she started off toward the light. The closer she got, the euphoria in her rose, until she was almost there. Then, she stopped. She didn't know why.

But then, she turned to the dark.

“I hope you find peace, Jay,” She spoke to the abyss itself, “I loved you.”

Grace felt a smile crawl onto her face until she couldn't smile any wider. She all of it go. Grace, then, swung back around and made a break for the light as she did so. And when she met it, she found her own peace.


Submitted: June 07, 2016

© Copyright 2022 KibaChan. All rights reserved.

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Comments

Oleg Roschin

A fascinating, darkly gripping tale! Great work!

Tue, June 7th, 2016 7:48am

KibaChan

Thank you!! :D Definitely what I was going for when I wrote it.

Thu, June 16th, 2016 9:25pm

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