In The Fog #3LineTales

three line tales, week 143: poles in a misty lake

The fog came down over the sea so thick and fast that the lighthouse keeper, John, rushed to turn on his light but the beam hardly made it through.

John looked out, which wasn’t very far, wringing his hands with worry, he couldn’t have another shipwreck being his fault.

Then he saw it coming out of the fog, a huge ghastly green ship with ripped sails, flying no flag and John felt his blood chill, with shaking hands he turned out the light but the ghost ship still came.

 

(Inspired by; https://only100words.xyz/2018/10/25/three-line-tales-week-143/ with thanks).

 

 

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The Dying Light (Part 4)

lantern, light, rustic

Nathaniel braced himself for going outside. He could hear the wind and the rain knocking against the lighthouse door.

‘We’ll need the lantern again,’ Tom’s voice called from behind him.

Nathaniel glanced over his shoulder as the old station master lit the candle and closed the lantern’s door.

‘I won’t need to take my case. Just a few things,’ Nathaniel announced.

Opening his case on the floor, because there was nowhere else to search through it, Nathaniel dug out a large cross, a bible and a small bottle of Holy Water. Pausing he debated what else to take. He had never done this before, he was not that kind of religious man and he was more use to standing before the congregation and leading them in hymens and prayers.

‘You ready now, Father?’ Tom’s voice spoke out.

Nathaniel nodded and closed his case. Then he followed Tom to the door and they both stepped out into the bad weather. The wind blew hard around them, making sounds like a crying person as it swept around the marsh. Rain hit and blinded them, making the walk down the rock steps difficult. The candle flame in the lantern flickered and Tom had to hold the side with the broken panel close to him to stop the light from going out.

Slowly they arrived at the edge of the low bridge and Nathaniel blinked away the rain in his eyes. He could hardly see though and he thought for a few moments he could hear the very distant sea pounding on the rocky shore. The light from the lighthouse flashed by and for a few seconds, Nathaniel thought it was lightening and the sound he had mistaken for the sea had actually been thunder. Then though he looked up and saw the lighthouse beam turning slowly around.

‘Here is good,’ Nathaniel said trying to be bold.

‘I thought you might want to go more in the middle!’ Tom shouted over the wind, ‘closer to where the boy died.’

‘And where did he-?’ Nathaniel cried then the words were snatched from his mouth by a gust of wind.

‘No one knows for sure, but further out,’ Tom concluded after the wind finished whipping them.

Gritting his teeth, Nathaniel walked on, feeling the bridge under his feet and clutching the cross, bible and bottle to his chest. After a few paces he stopped again.

‘This is good enough! Bring the light here!’ he called out.

Tom moved closer till their shoulders were touching and they could huddle over the bible and lantern together.

‘What was the boy’s name?’ Nathaniel asked.

‘Paul, I believe!’ Tom shouted.

‘Paul? To the spirit of Paul, if you are out here, we do not mean you any harm, we wish to help you. Come towards us,’ Nathaniel began, ‘your sister has been worried about you for so many years, but now it’s time you went towards the light and up into Heaven. Your family is awaiting for you there. You will not have to be lonely or lost ever again.

Nathaniel paused for breath and felt Tom shivering violent beside him. A worrying thought entered Nathaniel’s mind; he did not two deaths in his hands tonight. Swallowing water that tasted salty, he held out the cross and hoped he was doing this right.

‘Paul come towards us now! Let us help you cross over! Go into the light, rise up to the Holy Father and Mother. I release you from this Earth and into their hands. Go now and be at peace!’

Giving the cross a little wave, Nathaniel then tucked it back in the crook of his arm and palmed the bottle of Holy water. Carefully he unscrewed the lid and let a few drops fall out before closing the bottle again. The wind snatched the Holy water drops away and mingled them with the rain. Whatever power they might have had seemed lost but Nathaniel hung on to his faith.

‘I bless this place!’ Nathaniel screamed into the wind, ‘I release all the spirits that have lingered! Go into Heaven! Go and be at peace! Go!’

The wind howled and pushed hard against them as more rain flooding down on them. Tom lost his footing and waved his arms around to try and keep his balance. The lantern light waved and flickered around. Nathaniel grabbed and held on to him, struggling to juggle the things in his hands too.

Somehow, they steadied each other and the light candle survived. Pushing Tom ahead of him, they made their way back to the rock steps. Behind him, Nathaniel swore he could hear people crying but it must have been the wind. Feeling their way up the rocks, like tried and injured sailors, they reached the lighthouse door.

Tom opened the door and they tumbled in, slamming the door shut and fighting the wind as they locked it. Tom set the lantern and himself down on the first step. Nathaniel slumped against the door and they both caught their breaths back.

‘Is it done?’ Tom finally asked.

‘I did my best,’ Nathaniel answered, ‘though with the storm it was hard to tell anything.’

Tom nodded, ‘best go up and tell her.’

Collecting the lantern again, Tom started climbing the stairs.

Nathaniel opened his case and placed the now wet cross, bible and bottle inside. Closing it again, he picked up the worn handle and trailed after Tom upstairs. Water dripped off them and back down the steps. In the quietness of the lighthouse they could both hear the storm now raging outside.

They reached Mrs. Fitz and found her comfortable in bed still.

‘It’s done,’ Nathaniel said coming to her side and sitting down.

The dying woman didn’t reply.

Nathaniel took her hand which she had just slipped back under the blanket. He patted the warm skin and began praying, whispering the words softly with a bowed head.

Tom moved to the other side of the bed, the handle of the lantern tightly clutched in both his hands. The candle flame still glowing behind the glass.

Nathaniel finished his prayer and just as he was about to start another, Mrs Fitz’s fading voice uttered, ‘thank you, Father.’

‘Your welcome. Sleep now,’ Nathaniel whispered back then he took up the Lord’s Prayer.

The storm carried on through the night, seemingly attacking the lighthouse but the building had stood for hundreds of years and was well use to taking on bad weather. As dawn finally broke, grey and watery, the wind quieted down and the rain turned back into a light drizzle.

Nathaniel finished his final prayer and looked up at Mrs Fitz’s face. She was gone.

Tom, having placed the lantern down hours ago when the candle had finally melted and go out, drew up a blanket and lay it over her face.

Nathaniel took in a few deep breaths and moved his stiff body. He stood up slowly, feeling weighed down by numb limbs.

‘Thank you, father,’ Tom whispered, ‘I know she will be fine now.’

‘Of course. She is at peace,’ Nathaniel said.

‘I shall walk you back to the station and signal a train to stop for you,’ Tom spoke out.

‘Thank you,’ Nathaniel replied as he collected his case, ‘might I go to the top of the lighthouse first?’

Tom glanced up then with a single nod turned towards the stairs. They went up and on the fourth floor was another bedroom this time with a double bed and dust growing thickly across everything. They went up again and Tom opened a heavy metal door and stepped out.

Nathaniel followed, feeling cold and wet air sweeping passed him. The huge light of the lighthouse which had now gone out dominated the roof floor. A rusty railing ran around the edge stopping anyone from falling off. Nathaniel went to over and looked out. Far in the distance, he thought he could make out the sea but all around him was the marsh. A stillness had settled over the tall grasses and stagnate water pools now, bring a calmness that seemed heavenly.

Nathaniel took a few deep breaths then thought he heard the sound of playful children laughing somewhere below him in the marshlands.

The End

The Dying Light (Part 3)

lantern, light, rustic

Nathaniel waited on the doorstep to the lighthouse listening to the rain and wind picking up. He knocked again, louder this time then felt a chill go up his spine.

What if I’m too late? he thought.

He reached for the door handle and tried it, the simple brass knob turned and the door opened on squeaky hinges. He shone the lantern in and though he had not given much thought to what he would find inside the lighthouse, he was pleasantly surprised.

Many years ago, someone had re-done up the lighthouse and turned into in a comfy home. The ground floor had been made into seem like the front hallway of a house. A light bulb with a white shade on it hung down from the ceiling. The walls were painted pale blue. A handmade rug covered a large area of the floor, an empty wooden hat stand stood next to wall hooks that held three coats and a small wire framed rack on the floor held a collection of boots and shoes.

Nathaniel collected his case and stepped inside. The stone spiraling stairs were straight ahead of him attracted to the wall on his left. Next to the stairs was a small table that held a very old fashioned phone and a vase of fake red roses. Then he spotted a totally out of place door set into the far wall with a little sign reading bathroom. He pondered this then wondered if he should take his coat and shoes off.

Footsteps sounded on the stairs, catching his attention.

An old man appeared coming down. He wearing a white shirt, blue jacket and blue trousers. A scrubby beard covered the lower half of his face and his blue eyes flashed with worry and panic.

‘Are you him?’ the old man cried, ‘Father Tawny?’

Nathaniel nodded, ‘yes, I am.’

‘I’m Tom, the station master…well, retired now. The trains don’t stop here any more. But I still volunteer from time to time. I was meant to meet you. But Mrs. Fitz, she begged me to stay with her in case she passed before you came,’ Tom gushed.

‘And is she…?’ Nathaniel trailed.

‘Hanging on, just about though…’ Tom added in a dropped voice.

‘Then I must- here,’ Nathaniel said and give the lantern to Tom, ‘Sorry, I stole it and broke it. I would not have made it across that marsh without it though, thank the Lord.’

Tom stared at the lantern as if he had never seen it before then nodded his head. He blew out the candle and placed the lantern down next to the table.

‘Come up, then,’ he spoke.

The old station master turned and led Nathaniel up the stairs. The first floor was a kitchen with the cooker, sink, work tops and cupboards special made to fit the rounded walls. A small fridge and freeze took up all the room under the stairs. A small table and two chairs stood in the middle. Above the sink was a net curtained window.

They carried up to the second floor which was a living room, once again the furniture had been made to fit the round walls. There was a sofa, an armchair, a TV stand, cupboards and a bookcase. Carpet covered the floor and wall lamps lit up the room. A window above the sofa had a curtain half drawn across it. Nathaniel marveled at it all. The place seemed so homely.

They climbed the third section of the spiral staircase and arrived in a dimly light room.

‘This is it. The bedroom,’ Tom pointed out as he came to a stop.

Nathaniel give a nod. Two small single beds was opposite them, bedside tables were either side with lamps on them, there was a small dressing table and a wardrobe tucked under the staircase which carried on upwards. A window was slotted between the two beds, a dark curtain pulled tightly across it.

‘Mrs. Fitz?’ Tom said softly and moved to the first bed.

Nathaniel followed him and saw an old woman laying in the bed. The blankets were pulled up tight around her so that only her face poked out. A white night cap was on her head, keeping her hair back. She seemed to be struggling to awake.

‘Sit down, Father,’ Tom said indicting a rickety wooden chair next to the bed.

Nathaniel placed his case down and sat.

‘Mrs Fitz? I’m Father Tawny. Shall we prayer together?’

The dying old woman’s eyes eased open and looked up at him.

‘Yes,’ she breathed through dry cracked lips, ‘but first you must do something for me.’

‘Yes?’

‘Hundreds of years ago, when the sea surround this lighthouse, the owners and men from the village use to wreak ships on the rocks by turning the light off. Then they would salvage what they could from whatever washed ashore,’ Mrs Fitz spoke.

Nathaniel frowned, wondering what that had to do with anything. He moved closer and listened more carefully as the dying woman began speaking again.

‘As a child, I would play with the children from the village and we played a game called Wreakers. In the early evenings, a few of us would be here and we would turn the light on and off as the other children pretended to be ships and tried to reach the lighthouse from the village across the marsh.’

Mrs Fitz stopped and drew in some shaky wheezy breaths.

‘Take your time,’ Nathaniel spoke gently.

Mrs Fitz wet her lips and continued, ‘one evening as we were finished playing Wreakers, I realised my younger brother had not returned. We set out looking for him, but we could not find him. I had to tell my parents and they with the other villagers searched for him. Finally, it was decided he had fallen into a deep marsh pool and drowned.’

‘Oh. I’m so sorry,’ Nathaniel uttered.

The bed clothes moved and a wrinkly weak hand appeared, reaching out to him. Nathaniel took it, clasping Mrs Fitz’s hand in between his. He brushed the cooling skin with his finger tips, trying to offer comfort to the old woman.

‘Please, Father. Go out into the marsh and help guide his spirit to Heaven. I hear him crying so often that I know he’s out there still. A little boy so lost and lonely.’ Mrs Fitz begged.

‘Yes, Of course,’ Nathaniel answered.

‘Do you need assistance, Father?’ Tom asked.

‘Go with him and be my eyes!’ Mrs. Fitz cried out.

‘I shall,’ Tom answered.

‘We will be back soon,’ Nathaniel uttered.

He stood and collecting his case followed Tom back down the stairs.

To Be Continued…

The Dying Light (Part 2)

lantern, light, rustic

Nathaniel continued to shuffle his way across the low bridge. The candle light from the lantern barely penetrated though the darkness. What he could see of the marshland though, he decided he did not like. A soft breeze made the reeds and long grass rattle together and shadows played at the edge of his vision. The bull frogs were still croaking, now aware of his presence and letting all know about it.

The end of a prayer finished on his lips and he hurried to start up another. The flashing of the distant light stopped him. For a few seconds, the marshland lit up then faded into darkness again. Nathaniel tried to see if he was any closer but it was too difficult to say. Gathering himself, he walked on forgetting all his fears as the urge to just get there took over.

To take his mind off things, he thought about this morning and how everything had been so normal. Soon after lunch as he was heading over to the small village church which he was in his fourth month of being in charge of, a boy had shouted to him across the road. He had stopped and the boy had given him a telegram. It had been a simple request for him to come and tend Mrs Fitz at the Long Grave Lighthouse as she was dying.

Feeling duty bound, he had asked the boy how to get there. Then Nathaniel had dropped everything, packed a few important things in his case and caught the first train towards the coast.

‘I do not regret it,’ Nathaniel muttered through gritted teeth, ‘it can not be much farther now.’

The flashing light came by again and Nathaniel  took his chance to try and see further ahead. Luckily, he saw a tall shape growing up out of the mash. Picking up his pace, he broke into a small run. The lantern jiggled in his hand, causing the light to splash everywhere.

He suddenly felt wetness on his face and looked up. He could hardly see but then he felt a fine rain began to fall. Praying it did not get heavier, Nathaniel hurried on until the tip of his walking boots caught a slightly raised plank of wood. He stumbled and unable to stop himself tumbled face down onto the bridge.

Moaning and gasping for breath, Nathaniel moved to curl into a ball. Pain was pounding through his chin, chest and knees. His vision was blurry and his head was swimming. Slowly, he looked up and tried to make sense of what had happened. As the worse of the pain subsided, he pushed himself into a sitting position and looked for his things.

He was in darkness. The candle gone out from the lantern. He waited till the lighthouse beam came around again the spotted the metal frame a little ahead of him on the bridge. Nathaniel pulled himself towards it and picked it up. A tinkle of glass told him that at least one panel of glass had broken.

From his pocket he took the matches and waited for the light to come back around. Then he opened the door, lit another match and tried to get the candle wick to take it. The match flickered out. He tried again and this time it worked. The light showed him what he had all ready guessed. A panel was gone and another was badly cracked.

Shinning the lantern around the bridge he search for his case. Not seeing it, he felt a lump in his throat. He looked over the side, praying it had not fallen into and/or sunk into a pool of mash water. Luckily, his case had just slipped down the side and it was safe. Nathaniel pulled the case up and checking it was okay, got to his feet.

Feeling better, he walked more carefully towards the lighthouse. Approaching the towering structure, the light which had been his guide started to blind him and Nathaniel had to keep looking away. He also noticed that large rocks were now dotted throughout the marsh and the closer he got the more the rocks loomed out of the darkness.

A lot fast then he now thought, Nathaniel came to the edge of the rock that the lighthouse sat upon. A small stone staircase, cut within the rock trailed upwards. He looked up and saw other lights shinning from the lighthouse. He shuffled onto the first step and began to climb upwards, keeping the lantern low so he could fully see.

At the top, he stopped and looked at the front door of the lighthouse which was now before him. Feeling a wave of relief that he had just about made it , Nathaniel placed down his case and knocked loudly on the the door.

To Be Continued…

The Dying Light (Part 1)

lantern, light, rustic

 Nathaniel arrived late at night on the tiny train station platform, tried and dirty from the journey. As the old steam train pulled away behind him, he looked around, loosely clutching his large case in one hand at his side. There was a small hut with a single door and window to his right. A light in an old fashioned black case with a fancy pointed dome on top hung over the door.

He went to the window and looked in, but it was dark inside. He tried the door but it was locked. Sighing, he walked away and back to the middle of the platform. There was nothing else here and no other source of light. For a few moments, he wondered if this was a dream; had he fallen a sleep on the train?

Then from far in the distance came a flash of white light and Nathaniel saw for a few seconds what lay before him. Stretching as far as he could see was a marshland. Large pools of dark water, some of which were half hidden by the giant reeds created moats around islands of tall grass. Unseen bullfrogs croaked loudly and splashed into the deep waters, their sounds the only thing that could be heard.

‘Yes, I’m dreaming,’ he uttered, ‘this can’t really be the place!’

He went back to the hut’s door and banged loudly on it. The lantern above his head swung, creaking on a short chain. No one answered the door.

‘Hello? Is anyone in there?’ Nathaniel shouted, ‘I’m Father Tawny and I’m looking for Mrs. Fitz. She called me to give aid in her dying hour.’

His voice faded and he listened hard but still heard nothing. At a lost for want to do, Nathaniel paced the tiny platform which was actually only a few feet across. His case swung about then he placed it down and carried on walking back and forth. Every so often he would see the flash of white light in the distance and catch a glance of the dark marshland.

‘God, I could do with some guidance,’ Nathaniel muttered, ‘how am I to get over there?’

He quickened his pacing as he tried to think. He went back to the hut again and double checked the door. He rattled the handle hard and without really meaning to give the door a sharp kick. Suddenly, the door handle and lock came away in his hand, the wood splintering loudly. Nathaniel stumbled backwards as the door squeaked open.

He looked down, seeing the handle and lock in his hand. Glancing around he made sure no one had seen him then walked into the hut. The door, he noticed had totally rotted away which had made it easier for the handle and lock to come away. He set them on a small desk and looked around in the gloomy light.

There was hardly anything inside the hut. He found a stack of tickets, a few pens, an empty water bottle, a box of matches, four candles and a large lantern. Upon realising this, he thanked God, collected the last three items and took them outside under the light above the door.

Inspecting the lantern, Nathaniel saw it was a simply made long rectangle with black iron and thick glass panels. The handle was a massive hoop like that of a door handle and seemed quite secure. The door was a latch lock and it took a few moments for Nathaniel to open it. Picking the biggest candle, he placed it inside and lit a match. The tiny flame glowed brightly then become two as the wick caught.

Removing the match, Nathaniel shook it out then closed the lantern door. The candle light made a nice circle to see by.

‘Thank you, Father,’ Nathaniel whispered.

Putting the other candles and matches into his long brown coat’s pockets, he picked up the lantern and his case. Moving the light around the platform, he walked to the nearest corner and looked down at the train tracks which led away from the mash. The distant white light flashed by and he turned his head towards it in time to see something at the opposite corner.

There was attached to the edge of the platform a wooden plank. He approached slowly, letting the light show him the way. The plank was attached to a second one then a third by thinning ropes on either sides. It was a bridge just above the marshland. The planks were dark, but dry and seemed to led towards the distance flashing light.

Nathaniel reached a booted foot out and stepped onto the plank. There was a small groan and slight shifting movement. He put his other foot on and uttering a pray moved on to the next one. The bridge held his weight and underneath him rose the smell of stagnate water with rotting vegetation. A bullfrog crocked loudly close by, startling him and Nathaniel saw the long legs of said bullfrog jump off the bridge and splash into a pool below.

Swallowing, Nathaniel tightened his grip on his case and lantern, started whispering another prayer and walked further into dark marsh.

 

To Be Continued…

(This story was originally written for Sue’s Thursday Photo Prompt Lantern. However, I decided it was too long and I wanted to divided it up into smaller parts, making it unsuitable for the prompt. Sometimes, my story ideas demand to be longer and I like to do them justice, so that what they want to tell can happen. So, please enjoy this story and if you like it please give me a like and share it with your friends. Feel free to leave comments too, I love hearing feedback and it helps inspire me to write more. Also, if you are not already please follow my blog. I’d love to get up to 500 followers this year! I’m currently at 327 followers. Thanks, Hayley)

Opal Tide (Part 2)

354384-light-house

Lori closed the door against the raging wind and paused to get her breath back. She turned on the hallway light and dropped her keys into the plastic bowl. Behind her Jink shook himself then began padding away.

‘Wait. Stop!’ Lori shouted as she spun around, ‘heel.’

Jink whinged, but turned around and came to stand in front of her.

‘Good dog,’ she spoke, giving him a pat then snagging his towel from the coat hook.

She rubbed him dry, clipped off his lead and waved him away. Jink wandered down the hallway and into the kitchen as Lori began sorting herself out. She unzipped and took off her coat first. Hanging it up, she dug the gloves out and laid them to dry. She took off her boots next then decided she was too wet and cold to remain in her clothes.

Going up the narrow staircase, she went to the first room at the top and changed into fleece PJ’s and slippers. Coming down again, she heard Jink scratching around his basket which was under the stairs. She went to check on him then remembered the object she had found on the beach.

Lori pulled the ring out of her pocket and took it into the kitchen. Hitting the lights, she walked to the counter and clicked on the kettle. She went to the sink and running the tap, washed the ring. The sand fell off, collecting in the metal sink before the water flushed it away. She removed the ring and looked at it. The sliver band was topped with a patterned setting which held a large opal. The crystal was speckled light blue and green though it was reflecting red and orange from the kitchen. Lori inspected it closely but couldn’t see anything else.

She dried the ring on some paper towel as the kettle boiled. Placing the set opal on the kitchen window sill, she made a cup of tea. A rumbled of thunder made her jump and Lori laughed at herself. Holding her mug, she listened to the wind and rain rattling against the back door and window. Lightening forked across the sky and before it could fade another bolt struck.

‘Wow, that’s a really big storm. Looks close too,’ Lori said.

Blowing on her tea, she picked up the ring and walked into the living room. She checked on Jink as she walked past. The black lab had curled into his basket and was staring to snooze. Shaking her head and wondering how he could switch from sheer panic to relax so quickly, she switched on the living room light and sat down on the sofa. The curtains were open and she could see the rain beating against the glass.

‘Glad we got back when we did,’ she uttered, ‘I’d so not like to be outside right now. Hope there’s no one out there on a boat.’

She placed her mug and the ring down on the coffee table then grabbed the TV control. Pressing the on button, her eyes dropped to the ring and she picked it up. The news came up on the screen, but her attention was diverted. Lori rocked the ring slowly and watched the opal changing colour as it reflected the different light in the room.

She hummed and slipped it onto the second finger of her left hand. The ring fit her perfectly. Pulling a face, she held it up and looked at it as the opal glowed on her finger. She went to take it off and found with a small twist and a tug, it easily slipped off. She placed it back on to the coffee table and picked up her mug of tea.

Her eyes flickered up to the TV screen and of a few seconds she watched a summary of the daily news. Feeling drawn to the ring, she looked down at it again. She took a sip of her tea then deciding why not, put her mug down and slide the ring on again. It felt strangely comfortable and as if she had always worn it.

Shrugging, she settled back on the sofa and drank her tea. Her thoughts drifted and soon she wasn’t paying attention to anything. She thought about her walk along the beach. The sand was soft under her bare feet and the sea gently rolling close by. Sometimes, the white tip of the wave would reach her and she would feel the coldness of the sea. A warm breeze played with the long white skirt of the dress she wore and her fingers would occasionally bunch up the cotton fabric to keep it from blowing up.

Lori made her way across the beach, enjoying the heat from the golden sun in a too blue sky. She glanced up, but due to the combination it hurt to look directly upwards. Sighing and breathing in a deep breath of fresh sea salt air, she shut her eyes for a moment. Opening them again, the scene around had changed.

A wooden ship was rocking under her. Three large white bellowing sails rose on huge masts above her and there was a flag top of them. She tried to make it out, but the wind was whipping it around too much. Turning about, she saw a small deck with a large wheel behind her. Pulling a face, Lori went to walk up the small staircase, but a splash of cold water stopped her.

Lori snapped open her eyes and her living room came into focus with Jink before her. The dog’s tongue was hanging out and he licked it across her face. Crying out, Lori shoved him away and sat up. She wiped her face and made loud disgusted noises. Jink barked and with a sigh she rubbed his ears.

‘That dream was weird,’ she started, ‘I was on the beach then a ship.’

Jink barked, interrupting her.

‘You want food, huh?’

He barked again and Lori got up off the sofa.

 

To Be Continued…

Opal Tide (Part 1)

354384-light-house

Lori stopped and looked down at the dark yellow sand where Jink’s tennis ball had rolled to. She picked it up and the black Labrador began barking excitedly. He pawed at the sand as if he was digging a hole then stopped and stared at her. Lori threw the ball, watched it fly against the darkening sky and land with a thud a few feet away. Jink pelted after it, leaving rushed paw prints in the sand.

Staring out across the grey ocean in the distance, Lori looked for the lighthouse. The white tower and red bricked light keeper’s house next door where behind her, balanced on the only cliff top to be found on this stretch of the coast. Her hands went to her stomach and she thought about all the work waiting for her back there. Breathing deeply, she decided to walk further along the empty beach.

The sea rolled about to her right, white topped waves thundering powerfully. The second sign of stormy weather to come, she thought. With her boots sinking into the soft sand, she followed Jink’s paw prints and whistled for him to come back. He paused, looked at her with the sand coated ball in his mouth then turned away and began shaking his head about. The ball dropped from his mouth and the dog scrambled after it.

‘Jink! Come on!’ Lori called.

She walked over, pulling back a loose strand of her dark brown hair with a gloved hand. She tucked it back under her woollen hat as the wind suddenly picked up. She shut her eyes as sand whipped around her and pressed her hands down her long wool skirt. Lori heard Jink barking and looked around for him. The black lab was bouncing back to her, ball nowhere to be seen.

The wind and sand died down enough for her to clear her throat and question him, ‘where’s you ball? Go find it!’

Jink barked, jumped up at her and covered everything in damp sand. Tutting, Lori caught his front paws and swung them away from her. His lolling, sand covered tongue tried to lick her hands, but she avoided it and carried on walking.

‘Where’s your ball?’ she repeated and pointed across the beach, ‘go get it, Jink! Go on!’

He shot off and tumbled into the sand a couple of feet ahead of her. She saw him snatch something up then race away. Lori went over and paused. There was something in the sand at her feet. She bent, thinking it nothing more than a shell or a piece of rubbish. As her gloved fingers closed over it, she felt a fat drop of rain on the back of her neck. Straightening quickly, she called the dog back to her and looked down at her palm. Amongst the sand was a sliver ring.

She put it in her pocket and turned about, calling Jink again. The lab bounded passed her, did a sharp twist and came trotting over. He dropped the ball at her feet then sat down, his tail sweeping about in the sand.

‘No more now. Home time,’ she told him firmly.

Lori kicked the ball. Jink picked it up and walked just ahead of her. She hugged into her long coat, feeling the cold wind seeping in. The rain began falling heavily causing her to pulled up her hood and hold the edges tightly with her fingers. The sea roared loudly in her ears and she stole some quick glances over to it. The huge waves were coming in fast and crashing into the beach.

She picked up her pace into a jog and aimed diagonally along the sand. Far in the distance, a white beam of light shone out. Lori looked up and saw the lighthouse light had come on. The light was circling the sea, beach and coastline. A ship’s bell rang somewhere and she all most paused to look for it but a clap of thunder moved her on.

Jink barked and rushed back towards her. Lori nearly tripped over him and her own feet.

‘It’s okay, Jink,’ she shouted above the wind.

He barked again and kept it up as he ran alongside of her. Lori fixed her eyes on the lighthouse and headed straight for it. A streak of lightening lit up the growing black sky and the sea seemed to boom in response. Aware of the ever approaching waves, Lori went towards the safety of some small dunes. The wind was thrashing the marram grass making the spikey blades more deadly.

Jink ploughed into them, before she could stop him then shot again, yelping in pain.

‘It’s okay. You’re all right,’ she shouted and reached down to pat him.

The wind blew sand up into her face and crying out Lori stumbled backwards. She fell heavily on the edge of a dune, her right arm colliding with some marram grass. She went to rub her eyes, but remembered she was wearing gloves as she felt the material brush her cheek. Tugging a glove off, she rubbed both her eyes and felt grains of sand against her skin.

A rumble of thunder echoed overhead and Jink threw himself at her. He slammed in her stomach and chest, sending Lori sprawled across the sand. He hoovered over her, licking her face with a rough, sandy tongue. Lori tried to push him away as she struggled to breath with pain shooting around her lungs.

The black lab whimpered loudly and didn’t get the hint to give her some room. A flash of lightening lit up the fear in his eyes and his tail curling between his legs. He nuzzled Lori, who grabbed his red collar and used it to pull herself up with.

Letting go, Lori tugged off her other glove then wiped her face on the hood of her coat. She pulled herself upwards, pocking her gloves and pulling out Jink’s lead. Clipping it on, they walked steadily across the rest of the beach. Lori found the stone steps out of familiarity and began climbing them. Jink scampered up alongside her then at the top, took the lead and followed the path to the lighthouse.

They passed the white electric and gas outbuilding then turned upwards towards the main house. Lori let go of Jink’s led and feeling freedom, the dog rushed up to the door and began barking. She ran after him and on reaching the door, put her hands into her pocket for her keys. Panic prickled her as she didn’t feel them. Did I lose then on the beach? Lori thought, No, there they are. Pulling them out, she fumbled with the lock then swung the door open.

To Be Continued…

Typewriter

He found the typewriter on the beach. He wasn’t sure at first what he’d come across. It looked like a black rectangle, half buried in the dirty yellow sand, a corner pointing up to the sky. He was more then use to finding rubbish on the beach, the tourists and the local kids had no respect. As was his habit, he tapped the strange object first with his walking stick. It gave off a dull hollow metal sound. Then he inspected it from every angle possible, trying to see if he could figure out what it was. It did look sort of familiar, though he couldn’t be sure about it.

Putting his walking stick under his arm, he pulled his leather satchel over and from inside dug out a small gardening trowel. He always carried it and a few other things when he took his walks. He dug around the object carefully, piling the sand off to the sides. As soon as he was sure about it, he pulled the object out. It was a lot heavier then he’d anticipated.

Standing in the glare of the dying day, he knew what the object was right away. It was an old typewriter from the fifties, maybe. The ink ribbon and some keys missing, there was rust on the edges and sand had gotten in ever where. Still though, it didn’t look to be that bad. It reminded him very much of the typewriter in his father’s study, which he’d inherited, aged eighteen. He’d written his first novel on that machine.

With a gentle shrug, he went to set the typewriter down again. A sudden idea came to him just before he let go. Wouldn’t it look nice on the little table in the hallway with some old leather books on either side? He straightened and studied the typewriter carefully. It would need emptying of sand, cleaning and polishing up. Of course, it’d never work again, but as an ornament it would do. It had to be one of the more interested pieces he’d found up till now and it certainly would fit in with the rest of the fisherman’s cottage décor.

He put it back down gently, but only for a moment. He picked up the trowel and put that back in his bag. Collecting the typewriter again, he tipped it about in an attempted to get as much sand out as possible. He watched the yellow grains falling in curtain like lines back onto on the beach where they belonged. Hefting the metal machine up, he walked back along the beach.

The tide was coming in and the waves were growing larger. Some gulls called from the cliff tops and there was a breeze whistling through the small cave to his right. Across the sand was a scattering of shells, seaweed and rubbish. Occasionally, there was a small dead crab or jelly fish, a piece of drift wood or something unidentifiable. The air was damp, salty and gritty.

The beach was long and curved into a crest moon shape.  He never walked that far and so soon reached the flight of stone steps that cut its way up the side of a cliff. The handrail was rusted to almost nothing and it was too dangerous to use. The steps were worn smooth, though they did dip slightly down in the middle. Walking up them, he could hear the wind and sea getting louder. Seems like the weather forecast was right, there might be a storm tonight, he thought as he reached the top.

A pathway splitting off either side was marked out in compacted sand. He went to the bench to his right and placed the typewriter down. It seemed to have got heavier during the climb and there was a growing ache in his arms. Not that he was unfit, he was fitter them most of his generation, all that walking, hiking, sailing and swimming had seen to that. It just seemed that the typewriter was heavier than it should have been. Maybe it was all that sand?

He sat down next to it for a few minutes and watched the sea swarming the beach below. The tide was coming in a lot faster than it should have been. If he was still on the beach now he might have had to wade his way back. The writer in him wondered if the sea’s sudden surge was because he’d taken the typewriter. What if the sea had been eyeing up the machine all day and now it had had a victory of burying it or carrying it away snatched out from under it?

He shook his head and chuckled. Why would he think that? The sea didn’t care. And anyway the typewriter could have been sat on the beach for a few days, months or years. The sea had had its chance.

He touched the cold, damp keys and watched his fingers splaying across them as if to try to type. He shook his head again and picking up the typewriter shook some more sand out of it. Picking it back up firmly, he trudged under a darkening grey sky along the left path which winded through the cliff tops and into a patch of scrubland. As the sand became grass and the path dropped down, he arrived in a narrow lane at the bottom of which was a white cottage.

He approached the door and set the typewriter down on the step. He always turned the outside light on before he left. It severed as a beacon, much like the lighthouse on the other side of the cliffs did. He dug in his satchel for the keys and on finding them unlocked the door. The hall light was also on.

He took off his sand covered boots and placed them just inside. Then he picked up the typewriter and took it into the kitchen. He came back and closed the door. He put down his walking stick, satchel and coat. Making sure they were in their correct places before leaving them. He decide to firstly make a cup of tea and get the fire going in the parlour, which he’d turned into a study.  Afterwards, he would inspect the typewriter.

Heading into the kitchen, he could hear something banging. Turning the light on, he saw that the small window above the sink had come unlatched again and the wind was causing it to bang against the fame. Tutting, he fixed it as best he could and then turned on the kettle. His mug and a tea bag where already there on the counter. To waste time, he checked the back door was locked, got the milk out of the fridge and the sugar out of the cupboard. He ponder having a light bite, but then decided he wasn’t that hungry.

The kettle clicked as it boiled and he made his tea. He then went into the parlour and leaving the mug on his desk, set about lighting the pre-set up fire. It took him a good few tries to get the flames started, but once the fire had got going, it filled the room with a warm, soft glow.

He turned on his desk lamp and sitting down, stared at the typewriter as he drank. It was interesting that the typewriter was sat next to his computer. The old technology with the new as it were. He could recall his first time on a computer, it had been the early nineties at the old library and he’d been researching something for his latest novel. He’d slowly moved on from his pens and typewriters, to the computer and when he found himself spending most of the day using one in the new library, he figured it was time to get one.

Finishing his tea, he decided that he should have taken the typewriter into the kitchen. There was a small pile of sand growing on the desk. Picking the machine up, he carried it to the kitchen table and then was a clean cloth, he went back into the study and cleaned up the sand trail.

With some more cleaning tools, he took the typewriter a part as much as possible and begin to clean it. He was careful and methodical about his task, though the typewriter would never work again he felt the need to treat it with respect.

As he worked, his thoughts turned to wondering about the typewriter and the more creative side of his brain took over. How had the typewriter gotten onto the beach? Who had it belong too and what had it been used to write?

If only you could talk, he thought.

There were probably simple answers to his questions. Someone had been cleaning out their attic and found the typewriter. Maybe it had been theirs’ as a youth or maybe it had belong to a relative. They had given it to someone; their child, a friend, a stranger at the market. Or maybe they had kept it? Whoever it was then had abandoned the typewriter on the beach and left it to the elements and time. They had seen it as junk to be discarded and nothing more.

Breaking his concentration, he became aware of the raging storm outside. The wind was whipping the rain against the windows. Waves were crashing heavily onto the beach and darkness had swallowed the cottage. It was also cold. He hadn’t realised how chilled he had become. Getting up, he left the kitchen and turned the light out. He went into the study, but the fire had died. Grumping to himself, he prepared for bed. He made another cup of tea and a hot water bottle. He checked everything was locked and that the outside lights were still on. He went up the creaking stairs and into the first room. He turned on the light and went to the small double bed. There he put down the hot water bottle and the cup on the nightstand. The curtains were drawn across the small window.

He went over and peered outside. He couldn’t see anything. Some nights though, he could make out the light dot of the lighthouse. That always give him a little comfort. Tonight, however, he felt utterly alone, like he was the last human on earth.

Trying to clear his head of that thought, he got out of his clothes and put on some loose, stripped PJs. Getting into the bed, he heard the familiar creaking of the springs. He had long concluded that the bed was the original. Or at least someone had gone out of their way to make sure it seemed that way. It was a typical Victorian, fisherman’s cottage bed. All wooden, with stubby bed poles at all corners, no canopy or curtains. A spring and horse hair mattress and hard wood head board.

He finished his tea and settled down to sleep. He left the bed stand lamp on as was his custom. His thoughts swilled from the bed, to the typewriter, to his youth, to the beach. He left them wash over him and when he felt the calling of sleep, he let it claim him.

Crashing Waves

The lighthouse keeper loved the sounds of the sea, especially the crashing of large waves on the rocks surrounding his home. Whenever there was a storm, he would sit beside the highest port window and watch the raging sea below him.