Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Wailing Woman


By Kimberly Mack
Residents in the small, upscale community of La Jolla said sometimes you could see her walking on the beach just before dawn, when the tide was out and fingers of fog clung to the top of the cove and nearby hills.  But, you could only see her for a few moments and then she’d disappear.  Sometimes over the sounds of the surf pounding on the rocks, you could hear her crying.  In town they called her “the wailing woman.”  I didn’t believe these stories, of course.  I'd never seen a ghost.  Nor, did I want to.

I was house-sitting for my cousin and his wife one weekend.  They had a beautiful home overlooking La Jolla Point.  I’d been up late trying to work on my book when I fell asleep.  Sometime later I woke on the sofa and was stunned to notice it was almost dawn.  I rose to put another log on the fire.  It was then I heard her.  It was soul-wrenching sobbing and seemed to echo throughout the house.   I quickly went to the balcony and scanned the beach below.  She was there; standing on one of the rocks, oblivious to the pounding surf as it washed through her.   Her transparent arms stretched upwards, towards the sky as if reaching for someone or something.  Her cries were none I’d ever heard before, almost like a wounded animal.  They were gut wrenching and disturbing.  My heart was pounding in my chest as I stood rooted to the railing.  Then she turned and looked right at me.  I felt sucked into her dark scrutiny and could not move had my life depended on it.  Her eyes were full of such despair and something else I could not identify.  Then suddenly, without warning my legs turned to jelly and gave way beneath me.  I crumbled in a heap on the deck.   When I came too, the woman was gone and the sun was rising, its giant orb casting a golden light across the water, banishing all things dark and mysterious.  I welcomed it.    I felt cold all over.  There were only the sounds of the waves crashing and an occasional gull crying.   I turned and made my way back into the house telling myself to breathe.  As I rounded the corner of the living room, I glanced down at the hard wood floor, suddenly puzzled.  There was water beneath my feet as if I had spilled something.  I know I had not.   I froze, understanding suddenly dawnng.  I was not alone.   She was here.  

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