Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Golden Locket

The clock in the dashboard of the shiny new Chevy Silverado glared 11:39 through the darkness of a chilly November night as a young man and his new bride drove through the darkness. The wedding cans still clunked behind them as they headed for their honeymoon spot. Even though it was cold, they looked forward to time alone. Time without wedding planners and photographers, time without parents and bride's maids, time without caterers and cranky great aunts. It was getting late and they were still hours away from the Grand Hotel in New York City. They were still in the middle of nowhere. The GPS unit hooked to the dashboard read 2 hours 15 minutes estimated arrival time. Stacy looked lovingly over at her new husband, his crisp white shirt with the two top buttons undone made him seem so dashing. He looked back at her, he could see the sleepy look in her eyes.
"Let's find a hotel in the nearest town and just stay the night and we can worry about getting to New York tomorrow, you look so tired." He said it so gently and with a gentle touch of his hand she could not say no. Besides, it might be fun to start their new life together with a little adventure. A little fidgeting with the GPS showed a Bed and Breakfast just 10 miles up the road in the little town of Altoona, NY.
" I wonder if the hosts are still up, I don't want to bother anyone." He said with a glimmer in his eye.
"Let's drive past and see if any lights are on." She said as she squeezed his hand three times. It was their unspoken signal of 'I love you.' He smiled and squeezed her hand in reply. Their eyes met for a moment and suddenly 10 miles seemed to be a million.
They drove in silence as the miles seemed to drag on. Before too long the freeway exit was in view. They pulled the truck off the high way and into a little town. The streets were lined with huge oak trees. They seemed to envelope the narrow road as it winded through the little city. There seemed to be no life in the little town. Every store on the little main road was locked up for the night. They pulled off onto a side street and wound down the road even further. Stacy grabbed Jordan's hand as the darkness seemed to deepen and the trees seemed to grow thicker. The small neighborhood seemed so still, so quiet. There was not a light to be seem for miles around. Suddenly as the road turned they could see a faint light glimmer through the darkness. As they approached the Bed and Breakfast they saw 2 porch lights shinning as if they were saying, "Welcome, come in and rest!" The lights drew the tired couple to the beautifully carved wooden double doors. Gingerly Jordan knocked.
The doors opened and there stood a beautiful woman, her long black hair hung loose around her shoulders, her huge blue eyes welcomed in the strangers. The wind caught the hem of her long skirt and blew it between her legs. She quickly ushered the weary couple into the warmth of the sitting room.
"Come in!" She said with a smile on the corners of her lips. "You look so tired. Are you looking for a room?"
"Yes, please. We were on our way to New York, but we seem to have gotten a late start."
" My name is Claire." The elegant woman looked out into the darkness for a brief moment. "You must be newly weds, look at the cans on your truck!"
"We are, we were just on our way to New York City for our honey moon." Stacy looked into Jordan's eyes as a smile passed between them.
"Oh, young love! Dale and I were married this day 30 years ago! It's funny that you have come here on your wedding day and on our anniversary!" The older woman took Stacy by the hand and led her to the sitting room, to a chair by the fire. The fireplace danced with golden streaks of warmth. Stacy held her hands close to feel the warmth licking her skin.
Just then Dale walked in and greeted the young couple with a warm smile. He was such a handsome man. His thick wavy brown hair swooped over his brow just above his deep blue eyes.
The two couples chatted for a few minutes about weddings, the one that just ended a few hours ago and the one that had happened a life time ago. they seemed to be drawn to one another. The older couple being renewed by the sparks of young love. The younger couple seeing how in love they could still be after 30 years, excited about their new life together.
Finally Claire showed the newly weds to their room. "Breakfast is at 8:00, I make the best apple turn overs you will ever eat!" With that she shut the door and was gone.
Stacy and Jordan had a wonderful night. They had slept so peacefully they almost forgot where they were and that they needed to be on their way. They quickly got dressed and gathered their things. They headed down stairs, looking forward to Claire's apple turn overs. They were greeted in the dinning room by Claire and Dale who looked just as radiant as they had the night before. Again, the two couples chatted over breakfast. Conversation seemed to come so easily to them. Stacy thought how odd that she could feel so at ease with these strangers, and ones so much older than herself at that. Before they knew it an hour had passed. The newly weds thanked their hosts and asked to pay the bill. The older couple looked at each other and smiled as Dale said, "It was such a pleasure to have you, we could not possibly charge you. Consider it our wedding gift to you."
Jordan tried to argue, but in the end he shook Dale's hand heartily and said, "Thank you, we will always remember your hospitality. Who knows, we may just have to come back here again next time we are passing through."
With that the two couples hugged good bye and Stacy and Jordan were off to their honey moon.
As they neared the Hotel in New York City Stacy's hand went up to her chest. She felt it for a moment then gasped in horror. "My locket! It's gone! The one my grandmother gave me! I must have left it on the night stand at the Bed and Breakfast!"
"Don't worry, we can stop on our way home, I'm sure Claire will find it and keep it safe for you." He looked at his bride and she looked into his eyes.
"You're right, it will be good to see them again, maybe we can even leave a little early and have time to visit some more."
The first week of their marriage passed too quickly. Before they knew it they were on the road headed for home, and their new life together. Soon the sign for Altoona, NY came into view. They took the familiar exit and drove down the little main street. It looked so different in day light. The shops were open for business and neighbors stood on their lawns chatting. As they turned the corner and wound around the little road they were horrified to see the place where the Bed and Breakfast had stood. In it's place was a huge pile of black wood. Ash covered the ground. The trees near by were even charred from what must have been a devastating fire. Horrified by what they were seeing Jordan and Stacy turned the truck around and sped into town. They stopped at the nearest shop and asked the shop keeper what had happened to the Bed and Breakfast.
"It was a fire." Said the grey haired man. "It was such a pity, it happened just over 5 years ago. The owners, a man named Dale and his wife Claire, were celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary. The fire department said they must have fallen asleep with the fire still going, the chimney caught fire some where around midnight and they slept right through it all. The whole town was so sad to lose such a great family." The old man almost teared up as he finished telling the bewildered young couple of the accident.
Jordan grabbed Stacy's hand and ran for the pick up. They sped back up the windy road and starred at the pile of ashes. How could that be? They were there, they were real. Neither of them dared speak as they slowly got out of the truck and walked around the heaps of charred wood. Suddenly a shrill scream escaped from Stacy's tiny frame and she collapsed. Jordan rushed over to her. He looked down and there he saw, on a charred night table, Stacy's beautiful golden locket.

This was written for entry in Scribbit's WriteAway contest!

Happy Halloween everyone!


Scribbit said...

I like the locket motif--a nice touch!

I love reading all these ghosty stories, thanks for entering!

Julie said...

Great story!!!

Sam said...

that's a good one - absolutely no inkling of what's coming until the end!!

tjhirst said...

Congratulations on the honorable mention for this. Clever turn in the story.

Janelle said...

Oh, I got chills at the end. Great story!

FowersFive said...

I knew I was not the only AUTHOR in my circle. Nice story.