Short Fic – The Gray Lady

There is a story we tell, in the town of Dorchester.

On the nights when the moon turns it’s face away from us, when the sky is dark and the sea is churning, that’s when she appears.

She glows, lit by nonexistent moonlight, sitting on the beach in her tattered gray dress.  Some versions say her dress was once an innocent white, but the years have dulled and drowned her innocence like sea water.  Others say they were her widows weeds, deep, strong blacks that have faded and become washed out shades of life.

And then there’s the chain.

All the stories agree on the chain.  It comes up out of the sea itself, clamped around one of her ankles.  She can no more leave the beach than she can escape the sounds of the sea.

Only fools believe that the chain leads to a chest full of riches.  That the Lady was chained to them as a guardian, and must wait until someone takes the treasure and releases her from her phantasmal duty.

My brother went to find her, allowing stories of gold and treasure to seduce away his common sense.  Our parents always told us – the Gray Lady is our punishment, but we should not stoke her ire.  I’ve asked them why we must be punished, but they turn their heads away from me.

Now I have no brother.

I crouch on the beach, waiting for the first glow of her in the distance.  I will ask her, what she did with my brother.  Why he never came home.  And why, sometimes late at night, the tide carries his screams to us.

I do not fear the Gray Lady.  I am nearly a man grown.  I will live forever.

I see her!  I–

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