I wrote the following story after a visit to Oystermouth Castle; a hauntingly beautiful place full of trace memories.
‘Eight hundred years and more.’
I am Rhianwen. I watch you as your eyes take in the majesty that is the castle at Oystermouth, perched proud and perfect on a limestone ridge high above the sea. Eight hundred years and more is the distance between your life’s breath and mine. You do not see me, but I follow as you move through the courtyard, your footsteps tracing mine. You do not see me, but I hear the breath catch in your throat as you enter the darkness and walk up the steep stone spiral staircase. A small, inexplicable shiver of fear runs up your back and you stop and turn. Do you sense our shadows as you walk towards the light? Can you hear the whisperings? A thousand voices speak within these ancient castle walls; part of its life-blood now.
We each have our story of life and death. Be quiet and listen for a while and you might hear us. I would tell you of my history; of how it was I came here, of my exaltation and my fall from grace. I was with child when my life ended, in fear and pain, in the cold damp darkness that lies just beneath your feet.
For eight hundred years and more, people have walked where you walk now, touched the ancient stone and left a trace, as you do. They dwell here still, in the silent world of the dead; those born high and low, of noble birth and none, their years spun out through times of peace and plenty or those of battle and blood.
Sometimes when the sky grows dark, and the wind moans through the trees, it caries with it the heart-rending sound of a woman weeping. Then, a scream shatters the night, your blood runs cold and as you turn you see a spectre in white fall from the battlements.
Perhaps you are afraid now. You should not be, for we mean you no harm. Come and visit. We are waiting for you.