"Round by the Lighthouse" A Short Story
On a dark deserted beach, I stood, my feet swallowed by sandy pools of water. Then I saw a light, the brightness on the rotary of the lighthouse and something glimmering in the sand just ahead of me. A few steps forth I pace to pick it up.
Dusting the sand off with two fingers I see it was a coin.
'This is treasure....' I think and nimble-pick-it in my hand to inspect it. The great high beam twists again, another rotation and I catch a glimpse of the path ahead, glowing before me, leading up towards the rocks and round by the lighthouse.
My sand-patted feet begin to move, losing clumps of finer-grain as I focus on the lighted entrance before me. The way, now, somehow clearer and I unwilling to balk in my duty, faithfully follow, until, I'm led up by the rocks and round by the lighthouse.
I see you then, the figure in white, I rub my eyes with a dash for fear of imagining, the tears stroll away when I open them, surely, you were gone! But had you moved around the lighthouse, my senses examined.
Fear bites at me, causing me to swallow hard that I might not really find you, but my sore feet somehow keep pacing, forth, past all the rocks on my right and over the loose gravel, closer to a destination where I hope you'd be. Definite now, is the tight-twisting of the structure. To the shade, I step, the darker unknown, of what I'll find. I still clutch the coin in my hand - reflecting the treasure of my heart. My open eyes, burn in the dark. The figure appears again, about six feet off, then disappears around again.
I follow, the intensity battering my poor heart as I long to draw near. I keep shuffling forth, a great grinding swoosh passes overhead with the rotation of the lighthouse and looking down to the pebbles I spot a glint of something, I lean down to pick it up, it is a gold bracelet.
'Surely treasure.' I say, nimbly turning it in my hands, for now, I had treasure in both hands, but I knew the real treasure was ahead somewhere. I shuffle on.
'Hello' I yell out, the instant echo lost on the sea wind - returning but a murmur, a gentle snipped tone I was sure belonged to the gentle spirit I was ardently seeking. The salty-sea-air stings my nostrils leaving a tangy taste on my tongue. I continue circling, one foot at a time, my heart beats wildly for what I may find, skipping tempos, like some wild orchestra or simply skimming stones over the water by the shore. And the shore, crashing waves, somewhere below - roughly!
My mood is sullen as I see her again but she vanishes further round. I now realise I'd made a full rotation and to keep following was foolhardy. So I stand where I am, the great waves lap the shoreline below. My breath, laborious and I hear a call again from the unattainable figure but must remain resolute.
The trinkets burn my palms and something furious breaks out compelling me, I toss them hard out from me, over the rocks and splash into the depths of the deep.
In the raging salted mix of my mind, I want to run after her, I want to run away and I do neither. I drop to my knees. The wind picks up, the sea becoming rougher. I feel defeated. The lighthouse groans yet another resolution overhead and the path back down to the shore lights up again. With small degrees of strength, I stand and force myself up to take the only path left.
As I amble forth, the voice of apparition fades, I call to it again, but know it is hollow. I step off the gravel to the cooler sands. It mushes between my toes and the sensation calms by torn feet. I stride forth as the lapping waves get louder, to a crashing intensity, and I am again beside the water where my little boat is being pounded by the merciless sea.
Reluctantly, I step into the boat and shuffle on a bench seat, whence I take an oar in each hand and gaze long and hard - back at the shimmering lights left behind. I begin to row. From the shore my boat sails out again, to the unknown, one thing I'm sure of, the water encompassing cleansed more than the wood, and for a moment, I feel a small warmth inside, accepted, possibly even loved. And tears drizzle from my eyes, stinging little droplets and I sail away.
With head low toward the bow, a sudden flapping occurs on the starboard side, then to my left - a little splash and I am visited by two mermaids.
'Where are you going' one said, giggling. And then the other spoke...
'Don't be afraid.'
The boat slowly began turning around till I was facing the outline of the shore again. Like I wasn't rowing anymore, like their power had taken over and the little boat sailed ever closer again.
The lighthouse twisted its axiom to darkness leaving only mottled stars, a slapping of waves and two hushed-girly breaths, side by side and me in the middle. It took my eyes a moment to adjust, a star tore angrily over the sky as we came inches to the shore. Behold, my eyes, saw something, something bright. Giggling again on either side of the boat. The apparition before me was a full figure, standing by the water, filled with the intense glimmering of something I hadn't seen in a long time. But this time she did not move! She stood perfectly still, radiating, from the shore out to me, and she spoke.
'Welcome home' She said.
My heart sank and I knew I found what I was looking for.