Ghost on the Sand

Submitted into Contest #119 in response to: Set your story in a silent house by the sea.... view prompt

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Fiction Mystery Sad

The waves crashed along the beach with a soothing rush, and her eyes began to water from the strong salt in the air as she stepped onto the porch of her vacation home. The humid air felt heavy, but the sun shining overhead erased any chance for gloom.

She allowed herself a few, short steps until her bare feet touched the edge of the stairs to the glamourous house on the beach. Her wavy, red locks blew through the breeze that sang by gently with a peaceful suddenness. How could she have gotten so lucky?

The air was rich with the minerals casted into the air by the ocean’s movement. The sky, like the sun, was dizzyingly light. The clouds wandered aimlessly with the passing of time. The seagulls that occasionally fluttered near the wettest part of the beach croaked and squawked as they dug through the dirt for their edible, hidden treasures.

She swayed down the steps with a softened grace as the gritty wood under her bare feet made not a noise of protest from her light-footed ways. She lingered on the bottom stair and took in the scenery even more. She allowed her brain to drink it up like a desperate, stranded person was to water.

Though the waves rocked in the distance, the woman noted that the roughness of the water did not reach the shore. It eased with haste as it drifted onto the sand, leaving a soaking mud trail behind as it receded toward the ocean. The rhythm of the natural movements brought the wavering sloshes into the atmosphere around her, and that was how it would always be. Never again would the young woman live in silence, but that was just fine.

Her thin, porcelain-colored leg moved until her toes dug into the sand that stuck along each step she traveled down. Her other leg trailed behind, and she took a deep breath in. There was no place else she’d rather be. It was a beach of rare temperature; the sand was never scorched by the heat of summer or frozen into clusters by the freezing winter. It was always comfortable.

Her feet glided along the grainy bits as she made little effort to pick her feet up as she strolled. She was alone, so she chose not to disturb the elements around her with the high-pitched vibration of her voice. All she needed was her house and her waves. After she took in as much of the ocean as her eyes could behold, she turned away, and observed the house she’d loved so much with the same amount of carefulness.

The house she’d inhabited for nearly a century stood high on its stilts. Over and over, the sticks of wood had been replaced and cared for. She loved that no matter how many people that moved and lived around her, they had stayed. The windows, though, lived many lives.

For ten years, they’d been rectangular shutters. Then, after another family settled–nice and cozy as the home–they were transformed into rounded globes of exposure. Braces, she remembered, formed elegant arches and smaller triangles that faced the water. The laughing and excited children of the younger couple that took it over spent twenty-five years in the home’s luxury. They’d cared for it and arranged the furniture differently countless times as the children aged into adulthood and moved on. When the couple’s efforts dwindled from their advancing age, they sold it to a single man that wanted an escape.

The man was just as peaceful as the home he’d chosen to inhabit. It’d pleased the woman to watch someone so content in their solitude. Rarely did he leave, and she noted that he only left when he’d run out of books to scan and live in. With the nameless man’s love for books came numerous tall bookshelves. They’d decorated the walls happily with worlds and worlds of knowledge. The woman always smiled when she thought about those fifteen years.

During the man’s rare ventures out to find another world to immerse himself in, the woman found herself skimming the books for her own entertainment. Though no one would ever lay their eyes on her, the woman chose to partake in her mindless escapes around the house and onto the beach when she was sure there wasn’t a living soul within her space.

The silence, like her death, brought her peace as she carefully strode back into the home she’d always claim. Many may wonder how she ended up living in such a lovely home on the beach while life passed her by. The evolution and happiness of life kept her going–kept her lingering as a self-proclaimed guardian of the place. She believed a house of such grace deserved as much, and it was the best decision she’d made. All the lives, changes, and updates to the beautiful home that had gained its silence again entertained the woman. Living and change, she knew, was something she’d never experience again, but at least, she could watch others do it. She sometimes wondered if she was the guardian of the now silent house, or if she was choosing to protect the people that moved in and out like the fluctuation in the sea breeze.

She clicked the front door to the house closed as she remained unspeaking. So long as the silence existed, she would not disturb it. The long, elaborate gown she wore drifted down to her ankles as her feet padded down the boards of the freshly woodened floors. It was another update and another way for her home to live. Furniture was next to none, because the couple that inhabited her home tried to take as much as they could fit before they’d abandoned it. However, the woman never minded that portion of life. She believed the brief pauses between peoples’ inhabitance of her home was a form of purgatory for it–even a break.

Many may wonder how her life ended in the home she stayed with for nearly a century. How did she die? Why did she stay? The answer is simple, and it would forever remain with her as she remained with her silent home on the beach.

November 11, 2021 19:32

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