Ghost Beach, Part 1
For her dad, it was an opportunity to get away from his bread distribution route for a week and spend time with his family, but to Melissa, this vacation was a chance to meet her dream summer date. She had her ideas and her expectations, but she felt she stood a ghost of chance to be successful.
It wasn’t anything physically in her way. Her mom made sure her summer cut was just right and her bright hair shined in the sunlight. The twelve-year-old had a pretty oval face that lender itself to a nice smile, when she did laugh. Her ears tucked themselves under her brown hair. Of course, her glasses, although in style, were worn only at school or important events in her life. Her tall, fast legs secured her place on the middle school track team, and she was maturing well for her age. Basketball was her favorite activity and could outplay most in her grade.
Despite her outwardly appearance, things were not right inside. Boys either hated her because she beat them in sports, or girls picked on her in class for making such good grades, especially in math. She couldn’t satisfy everyone, and herself. She had heard making relationships last when she got to be 12 was going to be difficult, but she still couldn’t understand why. Also there were a few family problems. Her five-year-old sister, Janie, was becoming more of a responsibility than a sister, mostly because her parents were spending a lot of time with her baby brother, Michael, born last December.
She just wanted to be alone, and this was going to be difficult during a family vacation – a week in Galveston. Every year the family went to a different place in Texas from Livingston, and the beach was going to be their home, and their motel which Melissa thought had a wrong name. “How could a a motel named Sea Breeze be so far way from the beach?” she wondered since they past the beach on the way to the motel. She phrased her question differently to her mom. She leaned up to the passenger side of the front seat of the car and asked, “Mom, why are we going to the Sea Breeze Motel. Why not a fancy place, like they advertise on TV?”
“You know the answer to that already, Melissa. We save up all year for this trip, and hotel are expensive. Wait until you grow up and take your kids on vacation!” her mom replied.
“I can’t have kids until I meet somebody, and that seems impossible,” Melissa thought. She flopped back against the back seat and thought, “I am grown up. I take care of my sister, and I’m 12 years old. I’m not a baby like Michael!” A few more negative thoughts followed, but ended when their car stopped at the motel office entrance.
I’ll be right back with the key,” he dad remarked with a smile. He closed the
car door carefully, making sure no children were in the way. In a few minutes he returned with a key and a blue tag attached to the key. He sat down behind the steering wheel and held up the key, and said, “We have a downstairs room, near the pool!”
“Goodie!” Janie exclaimed. “I want to go swimming!”
“Let’s get to the room, first, silly,” explained Melissa. The returned expression from her sister was a dart that stung a first, but made her laugh anyway. Soon the Cassidy’s were settled in their two rooms. Mom and dad were in one room with Michael, and Melissa shared a room with dart girl. Janie wasted no time to check out the pool, and everyone except Melissa changed into swimming suits. The afternoon sun was building up their appetites, and her dad forgot how to drive, temporarily, as he closed his eyes for a nap. The time on the road seemed far away.
Melissa remained in her room and listened to music from a tape player. She likes music, in her own way. The curtains were open, a rule enforced by her mother. Her mother’s special vision had a way of seeing long distances. One side of the tape had finished when Melissa glanced up from the tape cassette in her hand. She looked at the window as if someone was staring at her, but there wasn’t anyone on the other side of the glass. She could feel the weight of an intense observation, almost as if she were being stalked. Just as quickly as she felt being checked out, the feeling went away. She continued listening to the second side of the tape.
Her eyes quickly opened when the TV in her room suddenly turned on, and the volume was loud to draw more than her mother’s glance. Melissa, still startled, quickly pulled her headphones around her neck, and hunted for the remote control. The red power button was easy to see, but failed to shut it off. She searched for the volume controls and pressed them frantically and repeatedly. Then it shut off as quickly as it turned on. By then her dad, awakened from his nap, was poking his head past the opened door. “Is everything all right, Honey? We heard the TV come on…”
“Everything’s fine, Dad. The TV came on by itself, but I shut it off,” she reassured him.
“Well, okay. Honey, why don’t you come out and join us. The sun will do you some good. Besides, we need to talk about where we’re going of supper,” her dad prodded.
“Okay, Okay,” she smiled teasingly at her dad.
“Don’t forget your key,” her dad warned.
“Okay, Okay!” she protested. Although they were the same words as before, they were said with a new and different meaning, one that betrayed her real feelings for her dad. She wanted to away from that room for a while. Around the pool, the family decided to go with the adventure theme and try a new restaurant that her mom discovered while getting ready for the trip. The members of the family got dressed for dinner and arrived at the establishment safely. It was a family restaurant with an old-fashioned feeling and decorations. Janie liked the dolls which were on sale in the country store near the restaurant entrance, but she got the “They’re too expensive” routine from Mom. During the meal and afterward, Melissa didn’t say anything about the stalking while she was in the motel room. With apprehension, she turned the key to their room upon the family’s return to the motel.
The mother had kissed the girls good night and prepared Michael for sleep, at least for the next few hours. It was her turn to relax with a hot shower. Melissa faintly heard the water run through the wall, but was awakened to hear her mom scream. She ran out of the shower red, not because of embarrassment, but because the hot water kept getting hotter, and the cold water knob, though turned, failed to deliver colder water. She pushed the water control into the wall, yet the scalding water continued to pour from the spout. Her father went into the shower and shut everything off. After making sure his wife was okay, he checked out the water controls and everything was working properly. Melissa’s mom was more upset than anything else, and did not require any more than application of sunburn cream over the newly-sensitized skin.
All this did alarm Melissa and she did get up to see what did make her mother scream. Still she didn’t say anything about what had happened to her, since the shower was working properly. She and the rest of her family got a well deserved good night’s sleep.
See more short stories here.
Did you know that Elias Tobias has published two books, and one is an anthology of 145 poems, and the other a short story murder mystery. For complete information about these books and how to purchase them, click here.