This was inspired by a prompt from Marellene on FB and fills the “fog” square in my 1-1-17 card for the Dark Fantasy Bingo challenge. This piece is 866 words and went a bit off the rails for me to be honest; I was not expecting the story to lead where it ended.
“What are you thinking about?” Mason hissed in my right ear.
“Hmm?” I murmured back distractedly, raising my wineglass to my lips and taking a small sip.
“What’s taken you so far away? You’ve hardly been present through the whole meal, wandered off in your own thoughts again.” Mason looked around the table, our parents and family spread around the large family style dining table that was set centrally in the restaurant. Our cousin, the bride with her handsome groom sat at the farthest end of the table, fawned over by their mix of friends and family.
“Nothing. It’s not important Mason,” I retort in an acid tone. I glare at the fine cuisine that sits cold and congealing on my plate and take a larger than healthy swallow from my wine glass, attempting to push back the bile rising in my throat. I shouldn’t have come tonight; I shouldn’t have believed I’d be strong enough to ever get through this farce.
“Well you better knock it off, mom’s looking at you and I swear if you piss her off I’ll...,” Mason wore a scowl that spoke of the many ways well informed siblings can make your life unbearable, and I glare back, my lips tight with ire and my eyes just beginning to burn with resentful tears.
I push my chair back abruptly, the squeal made by the legs as they hang up on the wooden floor halting conversation momentarily as wedding guests glance up and then hurriedly away. Voices resume their chatter hesitantly the further I get from the table. I rush past servers and other wait staff as I hurry towards the stairs to the floor below, desperate for some air and a moment of privacy to attempt pulling myself together.
As I burst from the restaurant I look west towards the bay. Striding purposefully along the blacktop drive I move further and further away from the Mission Table and towards the gentle curve of Bowers Harbor across the road. Full dark has fallen while the bride and groom’s reception dinner is being held inside the light and safety of the old Inn, and the road as I attempt to cross it is now obscured by fog in both directions. I make it safely across and once I reach the edge of the sand where it turns into the lapping waves of the bay I gulp air liked I’d earlier begun gulping wine.
She’d stolen this from me, all of it. Scott and I had dreamed this up together on the night of our second anniversary, lying entwined on the bed of a cozy B&B in Arcadia, we’d painted a picture of what our wedding would be like, and it had been this, exactly this. I’d always loved the old Bowers Harbor Inn and we’d talked wistfully about being married there, on the grounds with the bay visible right across the street, the sun setting as we said our vows before twilight. We’d laughed about who we could invite to such a small venue, about our two families mingling and eating family style of the expensive cuisine, of spending the night on the Old Mission Peninsula and staying for there for the whole honeymoon, surrounded by the bay.
Then that year at Christmas he’d met my slut of a cousin and three months later I’d been dumped. Love at first sight they claimed, impossible to resist. Now she’d just ripped another dream from my heart. She’d stolen Scott and in return he gifted the whore with my perfect fairy tale wedding. I seethed with resentment and sorrow and a feeling of impending insanity like a storm brewing in the back of my brain. The grief of the last lonely year and the pressure of enduring this entire night made me feel blind and deaf and unhinged.
Looking up from where I’d been gazing sightless over West Bay I realized the fog had shrouded around even thicker, that the lights of the restaurant across the road were now barely discernible, and the road disappeared just a few yards to either side of me. But what became incredibly clear just a foot in front of me was the apparition. The translucent form emerged and I knew her immediately, the ghost of Bower Harbor, she stood in front of me and she stretched out her hand, laid it upon mine, and in a daze she drew me, still sobbing, across the fogged road. She brought me back towards my betrayers; my family and friends who all knew how much this had meant to me and came to celebrate for her instead. Who were all equally culpable in shattering my life.
I let the ghost pull me step by step back to the restaurant Mission Table, once the Bowers Harbor Inn, and before that the home of a woman scorned and betrayed much like me. And I gripped her lifeless ghostly hand and together, together we found solace for each other. Together, wrapped in the fog rolling off the bay, we set it all on fire, and burned my dreams to ashes along with everyone who’d ruined them for me, everyone who’d betrayed us, me and Genevieve.
The Ghost of Bowers Harbor
is a real legend, although mostly debunked
, and the restaurant and all named places are all real. I've eaten at the Jolly Pumpkin several times, which is the more casual dining establishment attached to the Mission Table, and I've seen several weddings in progress on the lawn just across from the bay. Its really pretty, like that entire area is, and my husbando is incredibly lucky to have grown up in one of the most gorgeous parts of Michigan.