I’m bringing the story to a close. I’ve enjoyed daydreaming and writing. The story started out as a way of drawing attention to the digital art I’ve produced and it took on a life of its own. I’ll probably have other stories from time to time. I hope you’ve enjoyed The Beacon.
The past few weeks had been pretty uneventful. The caretaker and his young guest passed the time with sharing chores and playing chess near the fire. Every so often the young man would take out the telescope and scan the horizon for any signs of a passing vessel.
He had been on this stormy and rocky little island for months. Even with the supplies he salvaged from his little ship they would not have much longer before rationing was not an option. The young man thought about his options as he prepared for sleep. He looked into the mirror as he washed his face in the basin on the far side of the little bedroom. He thought for a moment that he heard a voice calling out. He walked into the kitchen but it was empty. He checked the supply room and found nobody there. The top of the lighthouse was also void of any presence. The lamp was lit but no one tended the flame. Outside the window the wind howled as the clouds began their march towards his shelter. He strained his eyes and searched the rocks for the signs of the caretaker. Panic began to set in. He opened the glass door and stepped out to the balcony but it was gone. He looked up into the night sky as he fell. Just before he hit the ground his body jerked and he woke up in a sweat. The nightmares started with the fever but were growing steadily worse. He could see the sunshine peeking through the window. He got out of bed and washed up. The caretaker was sitting at the table with the morning meal ready.
The young man wondered what the dream meant. He had spoken of it to the caretaker before but their language barrier was still too great for a clear conversation.
As the caretaker slept the young man walked the shoreline. This had become his daily routine. As he walked in silence he continued his contemplation of the reoccurring nightmares. Once more he could hear someone calling out to him. He continued to walk. The voices were growing louder. He could hear them above the crashing waves this time. There was something familiar about the voices. The young man quickly spun around to see three men running up the shoreline in his direction. They were speaking his language! “Hello!” He called back. Behind them was a ship’s launch on the beach and on the horizon was a ship flying the colors of his home country.
“We’ve been spotting the light in the old tower for days but could not get a safe anchor until today.” The oldest of the three spoke. The young man was shocked and found it hard to form a reply. The oldest sailor spoke again, “We’ve got to hurry. We don’t know how long it will be before the wind picks up again. ” My things are in the lighthouse.” Was all the young man could say at the moment. The leader of the three men ordered the other two to go with him and help him carry out what possessions they could. As the entered the cottage the young man called out for the caretaker but there was no answer. Confused the young man began to head up the stairs calling out for his friend when one of the sailors grabbed his arm. “Sir, we’re leaving with or without you. There’s no more time. We have to get back to open seas before the next storm.” The young man understood. He regretted that he wasn’t able to let the caretaker know what was happening.
As they rowed for the ship the others just did their work without speaking. They were quickly hauled aboard as soon as they arrived. The young man was instructed to go below deck and get himself in order. His possessions were placed in storage and he was assigned a berth. As the ship was getting underway the young man ventured back to the deck for one last look at the rocky island that had been his home for nearly a year. There was something wrong with the lighthouse. The lamp was out and the storm was gathering. “We’ve got to go back! He shouted. There’s something wrong, the caretaker wouldn’t fail to light the lamp with weather like this setting in! Everyone just stared at him strangely. It was then that the captain placed a hand on the young man’s shoulder. “Son, this lighthouse has been abandoned for almost one hundred years.” the captain spoke calmly. The young man protested and began to recall all that occurred when the captain handed him a telescope. “See for yourself” was all he said. The young man raised the glass. The lighthouse was falling apart. No smoke from the cottage fire, no lamp in tower. He just stared in disbelief as they sailed on.
The young man couldn’t explain the experience. The captain suggested that he go back below deck and try to recover. His personal surgeon would check in on him in a bit. The young man stuck his hands in his pockets as he walked due to the cold wind. Something brushed his hand in his right pocket. When he pulled out the chess piece get knew that something supernatural had preserved his life until his rescue could be arranged.
It was a full 2 years ago since the young man had been rescued. He worked hard and saved enough money for a second one man ship. He was able to gather extra supplies and was now beached on the island where he sheltered from the storms and helped the caretaker maintain its Beacon.
He hauled the cans of lamp oil and food to the small cottage. It was dusty and the rooftop was falling in. On the table was the chess set. He returned the missing piece to the board. He called out a few times but there was no answer. He returned to his ship and set sail for open sea. As he looked back to island the lamp began to glow once again. The young man whispers “I love you too father.” and returned home.