Winch-Hunt: Part 10:

from Part 9

The darkness once again found Tom and Mel on the beach. From a safe vantage point, they watched the lighthouse. The full moon was three nights away. Maybe they would see some pre-moon activity. It was obvious from a distance that someone was indeed inside the old lighthouse. Another piece of the puzzle might be revealed at any moment. All they needed to do was wait.

“Mel, I’m going to crawl over and see what I can see.”

“No, wait! I heard something.”

Someone had pushed the door open. This is what they were waiting for. The dark figure crossed the beach silhouetted only by the near full moon. As he looked back over his shoulder, moonlight flushed his face. It was Jeff! Anger rose up in Tom. “I knew it! I knew it!” He whispered to Mel. No doubt Jeff was behind the whole mystery – a major piece of the puzzle. It was time to put on their tracking shoes and see where Jeff was headed, but it was already too late. Jeff had disappeared from sight.

“Okay Mel, Plan B. Give me the lighthouse key.”

“I don’t have it. I thought you had it. Shhh. Someone’s coming!”

A late night gull fluttered past. “Okay, so it wasn’t someone. It was something. Now come on, Mel. Give me the key.”

“Look, I told you I don’t have it.”

“Then who does?”

The realization set in and with one voice they said, “Jeff!”

Continuing

“So how do we get it from him?”

“Wait, Tom. Wait! If Jeff has the key, and that’s how he got into the lighthouse, then . . . then Tom, he’s still working the case. He’s not against you. You’re against him.”

“No Mel. You wait. Don’t you see? He set us up. He let us believe he was helping us by making the key. He had no intention of ever giving us the key. Mel, he can’t be trusted. He’s part of the problem. For all I know he may be the entire problem. At least we know he didn’t leave town. He’s still here – and he’s up to something. We just have to find out what.”


The big, black sedan sat two houses down from the Winch’s; the driver with his head down reading the morning paper. Most often he was peeking over the top of the paper rather than reading it. He was watching the Winch’s house like a tiger targeting its morning breakfast.

The door flung open and Tom jumped into his truck and headed for the beach. The driver of the vehicle immediately reached for his cell phone. Inside the Winch’s home, the phone was ringing.

“Hello, this is . . . “

“Mel, Mel, this is Jeff. Look, I know Tom doesn’t want anything to do with me, but Mel please, I gotta talk to you.”

“Jeff, I don’t know if it’s really a good idea. Tom wouldn’t . . .”

“Mel, please. Just give me a chance to explain. I have a new lead, but I can’t follow up on it alone.”

“Okay Jeff, just for a few minutes. When do you want to meet?”

“Right now. I’m already here.”

Mel looked out the living room window only to see Jeff getting out of a suspicious looking vehicle. By the time she could say anything else he was at the door. Mel stepped on to the porch.

“So what’s so important, Jeff?”

“Well, for starters Mel, I’m really on Tom’s side. I can’t help but think he’s in way over his head. He needs me. Mel, I’m his friend. I’d never do anything to hurt him. You have to believe me. I’d never want to hurt him in any way.

“But Mel, I need him too. I was able to get into the lighthouse last night.”

“Yeah, I know”, Mel whispered.

“What did you say?”

“Oh nothing. Go on . . . you were saying that you need Tom.”

“Oh yeah, Well, I was over at the lighthouse last night. Mel, there are some strange things in there. When I first went in I could feel a chilling breeze, but the door was shut behind me. I searched for a fan; for something that was blowing air; an opened window – something, but there was nothing. Mel, I think the place is haunted.”

“Well, we know the stories about Thomas Winch, the keeper of the light. It is said that he reappears from time to time.”

“Yeah, but Mel, you don’t really believe that stuff, do you?”

“I don’t know who or what to believe anymore. This whole thing seems so out of control. I don’t even know if I can believe you.”

“Mel, do you think you can get Tom and me back together? Will you try? We need each other. We really do, and I swear I’m not trying to sabotage Tom in any way. Please!”

“I’ll wait for the right time and see what he says, but I can’t promise you anything.”

“There’s something else. There’s a sacrificial altar inside. And it’s not lambs that are being sacrificed. Thanks Mel. I’ll be in touch.”


Down at the beach Tom’s investigation was heating up. He was able to trace Jeff’s footprints from the lighthouse gate up the beach and back on the street where he reached a dead end. The only positive fact that Tom came away with was that Jeff was not returning to his apartment. So the question had to be asked, “Where was he headed?” No clues. No answers.

Tom noticed that Jeff’s steps seemed to be further apart as he traveled on. Perhaps a signal that Jeff had begun to run; a slow jog at first, but then an all-out gallop. If that was the case, what did it mean?

Tom looked at his watch – 12:21 p.m. He was ready for lunch before getting back to the investigation. He quickened his pace as he headed over to the Pit Stop on Conway Boulevard. The Pit Stop’s triple burger and some cheese fries were all Tom was thinking about when he turned the corner. As he passed the front window of the Pit Stop, he realized the triple burger and cheese fries would have to wait for another day. He kept walking, pretending he didn’t see Jeff sitting at the table.

After a quick trip to the coffee shop across the street, Tom headed back to the beach. As he walked a thought crossed his mind; something he hadn’t thought of before. What if he were to access the lighthouse from the back instead of the path he usually took? Trip after trip to the lighthouse brought him to the same vantage point. Maybe a different approach would yield some new information.

About a half a mile south of the lighthouse Tom cut to his left and traveled the slight upgrade and circled behind the lighthouse. He crouched behind a rock and looked down. The old, worn building told no secrets. It spoke of years of weathering storms. It told of standing the test of time. It told of infancy to maturity – but no secrets. Tom was sure the secrets would be told inside. He had yet to see that view. He had yet to hear the tales the aged building told. That was about to change.

The sun was reaching the hottest part of the day so casually Tom pulled out a water bottle and began to sip the cool refreshment when a movement caught his eye; quick, sharp, and clean but yet noticed. Someone passed behind the building and entered a side door – a door not seen before. He continued to watch. Within minutes the figure reappeared and then disappeared the same way he came. From a distance, Tom couldn’t determine who it might have been. Did he know him? Was he someone from the town? Perhaps a neighboring town? It was duly noted that the man was huge. He would wear a size 13 shoe nicely, but Tom had to get closer.

Tom waited. All was still again, and he began to make his move. Slowly he descended Sandy Hill and waited about 50 yards from the lighthouse. He knew what he had to do. He just wasn’t sure he was ready. But then again, he knew he had to see it through. There it was! As he made his way around the watchtower, he so clearly could see the size 13 footprints left behind; the big RB pressed into the damp sand.

He followed the trail to the door. Could this be happening? The door was actually cracked open. Tom wouldn’t need a key at all. He could just walk in.

Tom began to think, “This has to be a setup. Someone else must be in there. They know I’m watching.” Curiosity got the best of him and he softly, carefully pushed the door open. Again he thought, “What am I doing? This is not the best way to handle this.” By now he had one foot in the door.

He looked around the corner. The place seemed to be unoccupied. How long would it be before RB or someone else returned? He continued over to the circular staircase that reached four stories into the Maine, salt air. A simple latch gate blocked the entrance to the stairs. Tom unlatched the gate and began to climb the stairs, making sure to close the gate behind him.

It appeared that the steps had not been used for as long as the lighthouse was out of commission. Thick, tangled spider webs draped the fragile rail as Tom made his way to the top. The steps were cracked in many places, yet they remained solid under his feet. He stopped to peer out of the second story window. That’s when he heard it.

Someone entered from below. Even though Tom’s heart was racing, he knew he had to remain calm – and quiet. He simply didn’t have enough pieces of the puzzle to be confrontational. Tom braced himself against the cobwebbed rail, trying to make himself as thin as possible. From his vantage point he couldn’t see much, and he certainly hoped the visitor couldn’t see him. In short order, the intruder left as quickly as he came, and secured the door behind him.

Tom made his way down carefully. He listened closely to every sound. There was no guarantee that he would be left alone for long. He had to hurry home to tell Mel of his discoveries, but first he would check the footprints outside the door. Were they the same size 13 footprints he had followed in, or did they belong to someone else? It was then that he realized he was locked in. He was going nowhere.

This was not a good situation. The afternoon was quickly fading. Mel would wonder where Tom was. She would call the police. That was the last thing Tom wanted. He would just have to wait for someone to return and make a run for it, absorbing the consequences.

As long as he was there, Tom decided not to waste the time, but to have a thorough look around. The square base featured what looked like fairly new tile – each neatly in square foot sections. Nothing looked out of the ordinary. The only place that showed any signs of recent use was the first floor, but the floor was empty. Except for the circular staircase in the middle of the floor, there was nothing of any importance. There were no clues anywhere. As Tom looked out the small window facing the ocean, he could see the shadows of night creeping in. He judged it to be about 6:30. He would have to find a safe place to spend the night. He prayed.

Tom headed over to a spot behind the staircase. It looked secluded enough and yet close enough to the door that he could make a run for it if anyone came in. As he stepped into the shadows, his left foot caught on something. He looked down and in the dim light he could see a heavy, iron floor grate. Judging by the square tiles of the floor, it looked to be about two and a half feet wide by about three and a half feet long. There was a handle at each end for easy removal. It was then that a light flashed from the outside. It was at this time that Tom saw the words painted on the floor grate – “PIT TO HELL”.

© 2016 William Kovacic

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Comments 8 comments

MsDora profile image

MsDora 10 months ago from The Caribbean

The story takes on a new dimension here. Real scary now! Where is Tom headed and why?


lifegate profile image

lifegate 10 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

I'll never tell, MsDora -at least not yet!


billybuc profile image

billybuc 10 months ago from Olympia, WA

As the story progresses your dialogues are crisper and your scenes more detailed.....and they are driven along by a plot that leaves us holding our breaths....well done, Bill.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 10 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Thanks, Bill!


Abrushing1968 profile image

Abrushing1968 10 months ago from USA- Florida

The plot thickens. Hmmm? All I can think about is that AC/DC song Highway to Hell! LOL!

I am going to hurry off and read #11.

As for the video you posted about the Russians drilling into hell. At the beginning, it stated that the event to place back in 1999. FYI: I first heard about this sometime in 89 or 90. I still lived in Nevada, so it had to be before 95. Seems like I first saw the story advertised on the front page of the National Enquirer while I was waiting in line at a grocery store. I did not read the article but the title caught my eye. "Scientist Drill to Hell" or something along those lines. I remember rolling my eyes and thinking, "Oh brother!".... As it turns out, Trinity Broadcasting picked up the story and soon some of the folks I worshiped with believed the story and talked about with amazement. At the time, I was a part of a Pentecostal Foursquare Church. It was this sort of naivety (along with other thing) that moved me away from Pentecostal churches.

Anyway, this story was proven to be a fake. A Norwegian scientist Named Åge Rendalen made the whole thing up to prove how gullible Christians are. Given that this story persists though to today, I suspect he may be right.

Something to think about.

Aaron


lifegate profile image

lifegate 10 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Hi Aaron,

Thanks for the information, The story was debunked by Snopes as well. I needed another video and that seemed o fit. I didn't mean to be dishonest in any way. It's there for anyone to investigate, as you did. To me the sounds sound like people at a mall on a Saturday afternoon. Who knows? Thanks for making the trip!


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 10 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Loved the story. Didn't watch the video but recently came across a YouTube video that claimed the Russians tried to drill through to the Earth'mantle. They got (accoding to the video) about 8miles in but had to abandon the project because of the intense heat.

Is this tge thing Aaron's talking about?


lifegate profile image

lifegate 10 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Glad you stopped by, Lawrence. The video is a hoax according to Snopes.com. Still iy makes me think. Hope to see you at Part 11.

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