Friday 4 October 2013

#FridayFlash - Keeping Watch

The knot of tourists huddled on the pavement, the late November rains lashing their battered umbrellas as they clustered alongside the wall. An overgrown tangle of bushes and grass lay on the other side of the wall, and a house stood beyond the wilderness. The tourists stared at the large bay window on the upper floor, a window that gazed out at the seafront promenade.

"Just another couple of minutes, then it'll be 3pm. She'll appear like she always does. Like clockwork, she is." The gruff old man in the threadbare flat cap jabbed his cane at the window.

“I’ve seen her afore. Tall, she is, in a black dress, buttoned right up to ‘ere,” said a man near the back of the group. He motioned to the top of his neck with his hand. “Black bonnet, too.”

The tourists stared at the man, fitting the description into their mental image. They all knew the story of the Woman in the Window. Legend had it that the house belonged to a couple named Ledersmark, and when the husband was at sea, the wife would wait for an hour at the window every day for sight of his vessel. On 15th November 1893, she arrived at the window at her customary hour and watched the returning vessel break up on the rocks in the bay. She died of a broken heart the same day. Every year, on the anniversary of Mrs Ledersmark’s death, she appeared at the window, as if still awaiting the return of her husband.

Somewhere in the town, a church bell chimed 3pm. The tourists huddled closer, staring at the window, waiting for Mrs Ledersmark to appear. By custom, she should fade into view, as though someone were retuning the picture on an old television set.

The window remained empty. The tourists stood for ten minutes, craning their necks, and clutching their sodden guidebooks to their chests as they fought for a glimpse of the Woman in the Window. Emily stood at the back of the group, her patience running out as the seconds ticked by.

“What are you waiting for?” A soft voice sounded behind her.

Emily turned around. A tall woman in a black bonnet stood behind her. Her great dark eyes reflected all of the sadness of the world back to Emily.


The rest of the group turned to see who was speaking, annoyance etched on several faces that someone might be talking during such an important event. Jaws dropped to see the identity of the speaker.

“We were waitin’ for ye, lass,” said the man in the flat cap.

“But as you see, I myself shall wait no more.”

The group watched as Mrs Ledersmark walked away from the group. She drifted along the broad promenade toward the harbour, oblivious to the rain soaking into the pavement.

Emily wasn’t sure, but she thought saw a male figure waiting in the drizzle.


Larry Kollar said...

You can only wait so long, right? Loved the twist here!

Margit Sage said...

I agree, great twist! Nice work with the setting.

(Looks like you're missing a word in the last sentence "she thought saw".)

Unknown said...

Sorry tourists, no more waiting. Wonderful last line. Nice one, Icy.

Anonymous said...

Now that would be the perfect ghost tour but it'd be a while before I'd go on another one! Super imagery as always Icy.

Helen A. Howell said...

Aww sweet ending, she's found him again. ^_^

John Wiswell said...

So they split? Oh, I like that.

Cat Russell said...

And the tourists STILL got to see a ghost! Win-win, right? :)

Steve Green said...

What a beautiful ghost story, I was kind of expecting horror at the end, and was happy to be wrong.
I really liked this one Icy.

Katherine Hajer said...

Awwwww... that was really lovely, and a nice twist from the traditional.

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