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Winch-Hunt Part 6

Updated on February 22, 2016

From Part 5

It was 2:50 and time for Mel to leave for her first lesson in self-defense. She pulled up to Li Jing’s and went through the door. A small, frail looking Chinese woman met her there.

“Hello, I Li Jing, You Melanie Witch?”

“Uh, no. It’s Winch – Winch, W-I-N-C-H.” “Oh, so sorry, Mrs. Witch. Please forgive me.”

Mel rolled her eyes and followed Li Jing to the mat.

“I give you demonstration before we begin. Please watch.”

A young man seemingly in excellent health sat on a bench near the mat. Li Jing motioned for him to come and join her. Li Jing turned her back on the man, and the man approached from behind. He grabbed her around the throat. Li Jing promptly sunk her heel into the soft part of the man’s foot, then quickly turned and placed her hands on the man’s shoulders. Another quick move; she kicked her knee into his groin and the man fell over.

“Not worry, Mrs. Witch. It only for show. I not hurt him. I call it hitting below belt. Work every time. See, I told you – satisfaction guaranteed.”

“Li Jing, I don’t think this is really something I’m interested in. Thank you anyway,” and Mel politely went her way.


It was Saturday night and everything that could be done was done in preparation for the first service at the new Webster Cove Church. Tom had somehow forced himself to prepare, and in just a few hours, the Winch’s living room would be transformed into a meeting place for the church. Tom knew sleep wouldn’t come easy. Anticipation was running high and Tom was too excited. Nevertheless, the long night gave way to morning.

The doorbell rang. Mrs. Camp and twelve others were standing on the stoop. As Tom opened the door to greet them, a fresh sea breeze filled the house. Mrs. Camp proceeded to introduce her friends to Tom and Mel. Mr. and Mrs. Carlson, Tony, Rob and Jesse Royer, Jeremy Marsh, The Hathaway family, and Mrs. Camp’s nieces Clarice and Patience were all present and accounted for, for this important meeting.

Tom tried to remember each name. It was a bit of a struggle, but by the end of the morning he had committed them all to memory. It seemed to be a good meeting. Tom thought that for the first meeting things were God honoring and had a firm foundation on which to continue. He announced a special time for prayer the following Wednesday night. All but Jeremy Marsh and Jesse Royer came back. Tom was encouraged.

Still, Tom’s thoughts turned to the mystery of Ronald Barry. It was time to get in touch with Jeff again. He had laid low long enough. Arrangements were made for them to meet in the morning to continue to look for clues.

Tom felt they needed to work together instead of separately. If Jeff truly was looking for his brother, it would show. If he was trying to lead Tom away from the truth, this would also show in time. Thursday morning found them meeting incognito at the Sandy Hill library.

Perhaps a little history on the lighthouse was in order. Tom gathered all the magazines and books he could dealing with the Sandy Hill Lighthouse. He very carefully slipped Jeff half of the books while he began to pore over the other half. The morning wasn’t showing much until Tom at last turning through the pages of Lighthouse Lore came across an article on the Sandy Hill Lighthouse.

The picture was very old, but yet the lighthouse looked amazingly fresh, just as it did when the morning sun shone on it. The picture and article were from 1963 and featured a story commemorating the one hundred year anniversary of Thomas C. Winch’s death. All Tom knew of Thomas’ death was that he had apparently fallen. Here were the details that might give Tom a clue as to what was happening. The title of the article was, After 100 Years, Thomas Winch Lives On.

It seems that Thomas Winch had fallen from the fourth story of the lighthouse’s circular staircase. A storm had hit quickly and the light had gone out. No one knew why. Thomas had to climb the stairs in the dark to get to the light. The theory was that Thomas was not able to see and he had tripped and fallen over the railing four stories to his death.

The article continued. “A ship close to the rocks was watching the light just before it lost power. The silhouettes of three men were seen in the fourth story window just seconds before the light went out. If this could be proven true, the death of Thomas C. Winch may not have been accidental, but perhaps planned and intentional.”

Tom began to let his mind wander back to 1863. “Is it possible that Thomas C. Winch had been murdered. The town honors him as a local hero. What if the murderer had descendants living in Sandy Hill. What could be gained by keeping it a secret? The killer has long been dead. Maybe there’s something else to the murder that relates to the present day. At any rate, someone didn’t want the investigation to continue.”

Jeff made his own discovery. “Hey Bro, look at this! – Bro, Bro!” Tom was jarred from his thoughts. Jeff was frantically pointing to a news article from 1932 showing the lighthouse draped in fog. Tom was now listening as he read the caption, The Haunting of the Sandy Hill Lighthouse – Thomas C. Winch Lives On.

The article described in detail the supposed accidental death of the elder Winch. He apparently had stumbled over some unwelcomed visitors to the lighthouse the night of his fall. The unofficial record said that Thomas C. Winch was pushed over the fourth story railing while running for his life. The article spoke of a curse that had been placed on Winch and that he was destined to die in the fashion that he did.

As Tom and Jeff read on, the story unfolded that during the first full moon after the winter solstice, the ghost of Thomas C. Winch would appear, and in desperation try to turn the lights on to light the sea.

All of a sudden Jeff put the pieces together. The strange things, the lighthouse, the full moon—that’s what the guys at the gas station were talking about. They were referring to the happenings at the lighthouse during the full moon during the winter solstice. It was still summer. Fall would be next, but it would still be several months until the middle of December. The boys couldn’t wait that long. For sure, they would keep that date in mind, but the investigation had to continue.

“Maybe,” Tom thought out loud, “If we stake out the lighthouse during the next full moon we might discover something. Maybe the ghost will manifest itself in some way.”

Jeff cut in, “You’re a preacher! Do you really believe in ghosts?” “As far as a ghost being a spirit of a departed human – no. I do believe there are plenty of demons that can impersonate humans. But I wonder if someone or maybe several people are not behind this. In short, Jeff, I think we’re dealing with either a completely human effort to mislead, or spiritual warfare. Only time will tell. Don’t worry. We’ll get to the bottom of this.”

“Bro, isn’t it possible that if, as you say, it’s spiritual warfare that the spirits could use people to do their bidding?”

“You know Jeff, that’s something I haven’t thought of, but you’re right. We have to consider every option and everybody.” Tom decided it was time to test Jeff’s loyalty. “We can’t trust anybody. Jeff, why are you really here? What are you really trying to keep me from finding out?”

“Bro, think about it! Would I be showing you articles like this if I were trying to sabotage your work? You can think what you want to think, but I’m going to find my brother – with or without your help. You can decide, but at some point we’re going to have to trust each other.”

Tom knew Jeff was right. He had to take a chance and trust Jeff. He still needed him to solve the mystery, even if he may be working for the other side.

Although the temperature was warmer inland, the sea breeze kept things comfortable as Tom and Jeff climbed behind a rock. There they were protected from the light of the full moon. Their view of the lighthouse was partially obstructed by the rock. They had to get closer. Dressed in black, they slid on their bellies toward the brush by the lighthouse fence.

They waited, and waited, and waited. The waves crashing against the beach below were beginning to lull Tom and Jeff to sleep. 1:30 in the morning seemed to be a good time to head home. Quietly and carefully they made their way down the hill and headed for Tom’s truck parked a few blocks down the street. Mel was waiting for Tom.

“Mel, what are you doing up? You should be sleeping. It’s nearly 2:00 in the morning.”

“Well, what did you find at the lighthouse?”

“Nothing. Absolutely nothing. It was a total waste of time.”

“You left too early. I’m going back. The full moon is the key.” Mel ran to get her jacket and car keys.

“Wait, Mel. What are you talking about?”

“I don’t have time right now. I only have a little time left. I’ll explain when I get back.”

“Mel, you can’t go. It’s too dangerous. Besides when did you all of a sudden get interested in this thing?”

“When you dragged me into it. Remember, I got a warning to BACK OFF too. Tom – nobody tells Melanie Winch to BACK OFF and gets away with it. I’m going to stop them.”

“Wait, Mel – I’m coming with you.”

Tom and Mel ran for the truck. It was then that he noticed Mel was dressed in black just as he was. She was now ready to be a full partner in Tom’s crime solving business. “Mel, what did you mean, I didn’t wait long enough?”

“I’ve been doing some investigating of my own. Like I said, nobody pushes Melanie Winch around. There’s a thread of evil in this town that goes all the way back to the death of the lighthouse keeper. I don’t have all the pieces put together yet, but there is something about that old lighthouse.

“There was an article I read online about the lighthouse and the supposed haunting by Winch’s ghost. It seems that his death occurred because he got too close to a town secret. It would appear that there is cult activity that has been handed down from generation to generation. They protect it and guard it with their lives. It’s a cross between witchcraft, voodoo, and folk lore.

“The first full moon after the winter solstice is the night of their big celebration. We need to follow up on that when it occurs, but they also have gatherings during each full moon. Unlike the satanic mass which begins at 12:00 midnight, these folks don’t start until 2:00, and they don’t go past 3:00. Now the winter solstice celebration is much longer. I think that’s when the ultimate evil takes place. Just what that is, I don’t know."

They stopped and parked along the street and walked the last two blocks to the beach. Approaching the hill brought a sense of nervous anticipation. Climbing behind the rock they could see an orange glow coming from the base of the lighthouse. There it was, and then it was gone.

Left in solid darkness Tom and Mel waited. Clouds passed over the full moon blocking any light that was available to them. Now it was all up to their ears. They could hear a heavy metal door opening and the voices of a few people as they whispered in the night. Slowly they made their way down the hill and into the darkness. The clouds passed and allowed light to return.

The last two men were leaving and locking the old tower. They also headed down the hill. It was then that Mel saw something shining, reflecting moonlight in the dark night. Mel began to furiously dig a hole in the sand under the fence. Ten feet away lay the shining object.


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    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 

      5 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Sounds to me like Mel and Tom are finally on 'the same page' and slowly getting answers


    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Wonder how long her support will last, Lori?

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 

      5 years ago from United States

      Atta girl Mel. About time you supported your husband!

    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Glad you like it, MsDora. Thanks for taking time out to visit.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      5 years ago from The Caribbean

      Mel's involvement now gives the story new life. I like it.

    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      I guess I made it too simple. How did you know it was Thing's box? lol. No, there's no time bubble in this one, but would you believe I'm working on a manuscript right now that does include exactly that. It won't be ready anytime soon though. Thanks for the thoughts. We'll see how close you come in the next part.

    • Abrushing1968 profile image

      Aaron Rushing 

      5 years ago from USA- Florida

      Well, Gotta Love Mel right now. I suspect she will end up saving Toms life. Her and Mrs. Camp will save the day.

      The shinny metal object? It could be anything. I'm not going to speculate, to many possibilities. I would love it if it some how activated a time bubble that transports them back in time. But that doesn't seem your style...... but you have surprised me before.

      I suppose the Shinny metal object could be Thing's Box. (See my comment in part 2) Now that we have the whole cultist, voodoo-devil worshiping thing going on. His vacation choice takes on a more sinister purpose.

      We'll have to wait for # 7 to find out.



    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      No snakes in this one, Jackie! You're safe. Hope you had a great start to 2016. Looking forward to a terrific year.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      5 years ago from the beautiful south

      Oh wow, all I could think of was snakes while they are crawling around in black! I can handle a spirit being but don't give me no snakes! lol

      Better all the time!


    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Hi again Aaron,

      Mel's on a roll. So, man of a thousand questions - where do we go from here?

    • Abrushing1968 profile image

      Aaron Rushing 

      5 years ago from USA- Florida

      Stand back!!! Mel has entered the building!!!!

      Loven it Bill.

      Looking for # 7.



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