Nan’s Saturday Morning Walk

Inspired by RDP Wednesday Prompt: LITTORAL

F. K. M. Rehn, Beach of Bass Rocks, Gloucester, Massachusetts, 1881

My Grandmother walked the beach down the road from our house every Saturday morning, rain or shine.

She walked it when it was packed with Summer people and their dogs playing fetch and Frisbee. She navigated her way, with a dancer’s grace, around people taking pictures of themselves and children slathered in sunscreen and cookie crumbs.

Nothing stopped her from her Saturday morning strolls.

” People think this Beach is haunted. ” I told her on her last walk. ” They think that those people who drowned – I waited for her to shudder and she did- ‘those people who were drowned by those crooks  who stole their boat. ”

My Grandmother pulled her sweater around her and shuddered. She picked up her pace and was walking a little ahead of me.

I heard her cough and sniff. She reached for Kleenex in her pocket and finding none she looked around and then wiped her nose on her sleeve.

” They even killed their dog. ”

My Grandmother always thought about that dog. It was dead before it’s killer threw it over the side of the boat.

The five people the killer and his three accomplices tied up and forced overboard  after the dog were not dead. She thought that watching their dog die before they killed that family may have calmed them somewhat- for a few minutes. Maybe they though their death would be swift and that they weren’t going to be drowned.

The terror on their faces when they realized what was about to actually happen to them was an image  that would haunt her until the day she died.

The McDowall Murders were infamous in these parts  and everyone has a theory about who the killers were and what they wanted because they found the boat a week later, drifting at Sea just offshore from this Beach with all of the family’s belongings and money where they left them- along with the machete they killed the dog with and the remains of the rope and taped they family had been bound with.

” People keep saying this Beach is haunted now- it’s been haunted for over 40 years and has anyone seen or heard a single ghost? ”  I said ” They have not. Not once. Not ever.  I don’t even know why they  bother to look. It’s pointless. ”

My dog ran ahead of us with a Frisbee in his teeth and he jumped into the tide and started to swim out. ” Nobody has Nan, ” I told her.

I called my dog back.

” Nobody hears us and nobody sees us- no matter how loud we yell, ” I watched my dog swim back to me  “Just like that night. ”

My Grandmother stopped and looked out to the Sea and I stood beside her

the way I do every Saturday, rain or shine.