“Tell me again about this ghost.”
Brenda looked up from her magazine. The earnest young man who had checked in that afternoon was leaning over the hotel counter. She sighed. Tourists to this part of south-west England were always fascinated by the supernatural.
“They say she’s the ghost of a mysterious woman who came to the village about 1763. She would walk along the cliff path every evening looking out to sea, as if she were waiting for someone. One night there was a storm and the poor girl slid and fell onto the rocks below.”
“1763,” he said thoughtfully.
“Do you know more about her?” Brenda wondered if he was from a university.
“History interests me,” he smiled, “I believe this girl may have been a French Acadian, expelled from her home in Nova Scotia in the 1760s. She fell in love with an English army officer who pursued her to New Orleans. Her father and brothers were furious, forbidding them to to meet, so the couple planned to run away together. The girl’s maid was to deliver a note, but lost it, and the Englishman never knew which ship she had boarded – they had talked of going to England, France, North America, even South America. The Englishman vowed he’d search the world to find her and never rest until he had.”
“And he didn’t know she’d come here and met her death on the cliff,” Brenda sighed, thinking this would be a good story for the local history blog.
“I will take a walk up there now. Could you look after these for me?” the young man handed her a bundle of papers.
“No problem. But take care love. It’ll be dark soon and it’s dangerous out there in the mist.”
Brenda went back to reading her celebrity magazine. Ten minutes later she glanced through the window. The man was walking along the cliff path.
Suddenly a pale young woman with flowing hair and a long dress stepped in front of him.
Brenda felt a chill down her spine.
The young man fell to his knees. The girl cradled his head and stroked his hair. He got to his feet and kissed her hands, then pulled her to him for a long embrace. The girl broke into a smile as they kissed, over and over again.
Arm-in-arm, the couple strolled away into the gathering mist.
Shaking, Brenda ran to the safe, where she had placed the stranger’s papers. There were travel documents, stamped with the mark of many countries, dating back centuries. As she held the papers, they began to disintegrate, crumbling to dust.
He really had searched the world to find her, Brenda thought. Now both of them were at peace, together at last.