A little ghost story for a Wednesday morning. I have actually driven up this road to a restaurant and then discovered an easier and safer way to get there. This was way before google maps.
The journey up the mountain wasn’t quite what she had envisioned. She thought it would be dark, the road windy and the bends sharp. But she hadn’t expected this fog. So thick that she just saw the hair pin bend as her tyres hit the gravel on the edge of the cliff.
Her blasted car’s cameras weren’t working either. All they picked up was the fog reflected in the headlights. If a car came down the other way she was screwed.
Why did she insist on dinner at a mountain top restaurant? You know why – because it had a cosy fireplace and a tasting menu that included a car-tut-ery board. Nothing screamed small town girl than picking a place with food that you can’t even pronounce. That’s if she made it up this bloody mountain without rolling off the edge.
She slowed down and almost stopped, trying to manoeuvre around very sharp turn. She was only guessing at this point where the edge was.
“Stop!” A woman screamed and slapped her hands on the hood of her car. Her foot was already on the brake, so she stopped immediately. The woman raised her hands, “Reverse a bit and take the corner tighter, or you’ll go over.”
She did as the woman said, she pulled right over to the side of the road, her headlights illuminating the woman so that her copper hair shone.
She opened the window “Can I give you a lift?” but she was already gone. Maybe she lived in one of the houses along the road, the steep driveways were every kilometre or so.
Finally, a warm orange light glowed through the fog and the thick cloud peeled back from her windscreen. She unclenched her fingers from the steering wheel and sat back into the seat, letting out a slow breath.
She pulled into the parking lot and went inside the restaurant.
Alex was already here, sitting at a table in front of the fireplace.
“How was the drive up,” he said standing up and kissing her cheek.
He smelt like cinnamon, and burnished plums.
“Terrible, I could hardly see coming up the Cliff Road.”
“Oh. No one uses that road anymore. I just assumed you knew to come in off the freeway?”
“You should have told me. I almost went over the edge on one spot. It’s a good thing that red headed woman was walking along there.”
The waiter came over and stopped beside her. “You saw a red haired woman on the cliff road?”
“Yes. She helped me get around the last sharp bend. I couldn’t see anything with the fog.”
The waiter held the menus to his chest and pointed to a photo on the wall. “Is that her?”
The photo was of a copper haired woman, in jeans and a white, chunky knitted jumper. She was leaning against the balustrade of the restaurant’s balcony.
“Yes. Does she work here? I’d love to thank her.”
The waiter’s eyes shone. “She was the owner.”
“Is she here tonight?”
“No, Miss. She died 2 years ago. Her car went over the last bend on the cliff road. The fog was just like tonight.”
“No. I just saw her. Just as I’m speaking to you.”
“I’m sorry that’s not possible.”
They had dinner, and Alex walked her back to her car. “Why don’t you follow me back to the freeway, avoid the cliff road.”
“It’s so strange. I was talking to someone I swear it.”
He kissed her cheek and walked to his car that was parked in front of hers.
“Hey.” He called back. “What happened to your bonnet?”
She dropped her bag in the driver seat and walked around to the front of her car.
Two handprints were pushed into the metal, where the woman had slammed her hands down.
“That’s where she stopped me from going over the edge.”