The Beacon part 4

The young man was just putting away the last of his recovered belongings when the caretaker emerged from the bedroom.  Determined to not be a burden the young man had already prepared the next meal from his supplies.  It was early afternoon and dark clouds were already gathering to engulf the small island.  At the first flash of lightning they began to count the seconds between the flash and the sound of thunder.  This would let them know how many miles away the edge of the storm was.  The second flash was a few seconds shorter between flash and crash. This one was coming in fast.  The caretaker drops his spoon into the bowl with a splash and starts for the supply room . The young man catches him by the shoulder and motions towards the spiral staircase.  The caretaker understands, the young man had already prepared the next round of oil in the lamp.  They made their way to the top of the lighthouse and once more the beacon began it’s nightly battle with the darkness.  They returned to the meal and stoked the fire.  The little cottage had few creature comforts but the fireplace and generous supply of cordwood was one of them. It was while sitting by the fireplace that the caretaker noticed the small stack of personal items recovered from the wreckage.  On top was an oilskin wrapped around a book. The caretaker gestured for the younger man to show him what was in the bundle.  The young man handed him the oilskin and the caretaker removed a Bible.  The leather cover was very worn and pages were falling out but it was all there.  A certain look came over the caretaker’s face and a small tear formed in corner of one eye. The caretaker seemed to caress the book as he held it. Without lifting the cover he began to speak.  It didn’t take long for the younger man to recognise that the caretaker was quoting scriptures verbatim in his own native tongue.   After reciting a few passages the caretaker returned the sacred book to its oilskin and secured the closure.  “It was my father’s book.” The young man said as he returned it to the small stack. “He was lost at sea when I was a child.  It’s all I have left.” The caretaker placed a hand gently on the younger man shoulder as he spoke. After a few minutes of silence the caretaker motioned him to move back to the table and sit down.  He disappeared into the back of the supply room and returned with a bottle of wine and a box. The caretaker pours each of them a proper glass of wine and opens the box.  Inside was a chess board and pieces carved from shells gathered from the beach.  They passed the evening with a few rounds of chess until it was time for the caretaker to focus on the maintaining the lamp and watching the rocks for the signs of ship in trouble.

The next morning  the storm seemed to break early.  The young man ventured into kitchen and greeted the caretaker.  They had one more round of chess and the caretaker disappeared into the bedroom.

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