The Ghosts of Clonea

Night was closing in, smothering us in darkness. I sat on the old, rickety bench
watching the fire twist and swirl in a never-ending dance. I held my marshmallow
out on a skewer and waited until it was brown. I picked it off and plopped it in my
mouth savouring its warmth and softness as it melted away. I looked around at my
three cousins; Karen, Katie and Luke, and my uncle slash godfather John.
The burning embers of the bonfire illuminated Johns’ face as he spoke, “You know
there’s an old legend about this beach.” “Really?” I asked. We sat on a high peak of
grass outside Johns’ house; it overlooked a small stretch of Clonea beach that was
mostly secluded from others. “Oh yes, long ago the locals lived not far from here just
over to our left.” He pointed out into the abyss and continued.
“It is said they would come to this very beach when the sun went down, to spread
tales passed on to them from their ancestors and celebrated the passing of another
day. It was something of a sanctuary. However, a disease began to engulf their whole
village and, with the limited amount of healers and medicine, the locals had no cure.
They lost a lot of loved ones during that time and they didn’t feel like celebrating
“In fact, the only cemetery at their disposal became over-run, so they turned to the
sea. They crafted rafts out of some trees to carry the bodies, laid tons and tons of
forget-me-not flowers on top and pushed them out into the vast ocean. It was a way
of saying goodbye to their lost ones as they floated out into the horizon, the foamy
waves carrying them away. So the beach became a place of mourning not a place of
John gazed into the depths of the ocean; I stared at him completely engrossed in his
story. “Then one night the villagers heard something, the sound of people laughing
coming from the beach. They threw on their overcoats and made their way down to
the sand. Some were overjoyed with what was before them some were petrified or
shell-shocked, some were even angry. People came from far and wide trying to find
answers, explanations, but the thing is what those villagers saw has no explanation
because they saw ghosts. Plain and simple. They were dancing, talking, and recalling
stories, all-in-all they were celebrating! Even though there was never an answer to the
questions why and how, the locals always thought the dead knew it wasn’t a happy
place anymore. That the dead came back to show the living that dying doesn’t always
have to be sad, that you should celebrate how they lived. But again, it’s just a theory.”
He finished up and looked at my cousins and me smiling. Karen was laughing
hysterically; Luke was shaking his head saying “LIES!!” repeatedly; Katie grabbed on
to my arm and looked like she had just seen a ghost; while I stared at the beach,
thinking. I don’t know whether Johns’ legend about the ghosts of Clonea was true or
not; all I do know is I never slept a wink that night, listening out for the sounds of
laughter, secretly hoping I wouldn’t hear a thing.