Ghost Story

"The weeping was barely audible though she was sure it was a man".

Sally turned over and tried to go back to sleep.   Still tossing and turning, she sat bolt up right in bed, tears streaming down her face.  The memories of that fateful night pricked at her conscience.  If only . . .

They'd had ten wonderful years together and decided to cement their union by doing the honourable thing and wed.  Wedding preparations were well under way and a fantastic banquet had been arranged. Invitations had been sent out to close family and friends; Mrs Brooks and her clan had thoroughly cleaned the house from top to bottom and decorated it magnificently. It was to be a private ceremony conducted by the local family priest and held in the mansion grounds; a marquee had been set up with tastefully decorated long tables and a band had been engaged.

Sally looked beautiful.  The satin off the shoulder gown fit perfectly.  The skirt was caught up at the side with delicate pink rose buds and the bodice was decorated with sequins.  Her strawberry blonde hair, taken up in a French pleat, highlighted her pink and white cameo complexion.

The band began playing the wedding march.  A proud father escorted his only daughter down the garden, to the gasp of many a guest, towards the smartly dressed groom and his best man.  The sun shone down on the happy couple and a gentle breeze stirred as vows were exchanged. The banquet took place in the rather grand marquee.  Sally was brimming with happiness.

The man's weeping was becoming clearer now.  Sally reached for a tissue from the bedside cabinet. Wiping away the tears, she noticed the red illuminated face of the alarm clock. It flashed constantly at 2.00 am. Tonight she had to find out where the crying man was. He had woken her for the third night running. Swinging her legs over the edge of the bed she pushed herself up and headed for the bedroom door.  She caught her foot on a shoe and turned her ankle.  As Sally bent to rub her ankle, the man's voice, sobbing between each breath, hauntingly called her name. Blood thundered through her veins as she found herself standing on the landing in the dark. Groping her way along the wall with a bare hand, she limped forward suddenly stopping. Was it her eyes becoming accustomed to the dark or were they playing tricks on her? She could've sworn she saw a shadow flitting here and there half way down the landing. She blinked and swallowed hard. No. It wasn't a trick. There was definitely something there. The shadow was dancing at the top of the stairs. The man's voice was still calling out to her. Not taking her eyes off the shadow, Sally let go of the wall and hobbled toward the bannister. As she pulled herself along, the shadow erupted into a ball of light and threw itself down the staircase.

The pain was bearable now and Sally's twisted ankle was just slightly able to take weight. Gripping the oak spindles of the bannister, Sally managed to slowly manoeuvre herself down the steep staircase. The ball of light was hovering in the hallway. Sally tried to shield her face as the light came straight for her. It stopped in front of her nose and seemed to look at her with a sad expression.  

Trying to back away the light moved forward and gently touched her lips before it spun away and bounced about the hallway. It finally came to a standstill just inside the dinning room. As Sally gingerly moved towards the room, the light emitted a humming sound. It wasn't quite clear at first.  Sally strained to recognise the wedding march. The light beckoning, Sally followed it through the double doors at the end of the dinning room, out into the garden and down towards the jetty. It was a beautiful warm summer's night. The sky was clear and the water was still. The ball of light vanished just as suddenly as it had appeared.  

The man's voice, still weeping, and calling out to Sally was very clear now. The lunar perigee moon was so close, its beam of light so brilliant, the jetty and lake basked in its glory. Hand on heart, then mouth, Sally was once again stopped in her tracks. There was someone sitting on the edge of the jetty. Perspiring, Sally, still limping, walked down the jetty. As she grew closer the man turned, head in hands, weeping bitterly. She knelt by his side and placed her hands on his knees. "Please don't cry, Sir. It can't be that bad. I will help." The man raised his head from his hands. His gorgeous blue eyes looking straight into hers.

"I'm sorry. I'm so, so sorry Sally. I don't know why I did it. I loved you so much then and still do now," replied the man. In that moment Sally's heart stopped beating as she raised her hands to her mouth. Tears raining down her face.  "Oh my God!  Pete.  Pete is it really you?" The man nodded.  She wiped the tears from his handsome face and kissed him. The once loving couple embraced each other. A single shining star appeared above them. Somewhere in the faint distance a choir, a heavenly choir, could be heard. Something was pulling Sally out of Pete's embrace. She looked at him.

  "I'm sorry, my love. I have to go. I love you." "No! Pete, no!  Wait. I love . . . ". It was too late. Pete blew Sally a kiss and pushed himself off the edge of the jetty into the water and was gone. The heavenly choir voices were everywhere.  The ball of light appeared once more.  This time it was glowing just under the surface of the water. Then burned itself out. Shocked into disbelief, Sally crumbled into an inconsolable heap on the jetty.

It was exactly twelve months to the day since Pete and Sally had taken their wedding vows and sworn their undying love for each other. The festivities carried on well into the night. At 2 am Pete's body had been dragged out of the lake. Unbeknown to Sally or anyone else, he had impregnated his best man's girlfriend with his seed.  Why had he done such a foolish thing? Sally was the only girl for him. If only he'd confessed to Sally the truth and called the wedding off. Racked with guilt and unable to face a life time of betrayal with his beloved Sally, she deserved better, he'd chosen to take his own life on his wedding night.

Helen C

© 2016 Yeadon Writers

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