The Black Lighthouse
October 12, 2012
This week's challenge from Terrible Minds was to choose one of five titles, then write a 1000 word story on it, any genre. In Chuck's words:
I’m going to give you five titles.
You will either: a) Choose one of these titles for a new piece of flash fiction, or
b) Remix the titles (adding no new words of your own) to create a new title which, well, duh, you will then use to compose a new piece of flash fiction.
Get it? Got it? GOBBA GOOBA.
The five titles are:
“The Monkey’s Pageant.”
“The Black Lighthouse.”
“Bright Stars Gone To Black.”
“Plastic Dreams & Doll Desires.”
I had ideas for all of them, but this was my favourite. 830 words.
The Black Lighthouse
“Hand over your money,” Jake said. He looked down at the few coins. “That's it? Danny, what have you got?”
“Please, it's my lunch money for the whole week.”
Jake grabbed the bills. “That's more like it. OK – lets see what candy you wimps have.”
He dumped the two baskets onto the sidewalk, grabbed a few chocolate bars, and kicked at the rest.
“This is crap, keep it. I'll take this cape, though, Bobby.”
He grabbed the black cape from the other boy's shoulders and settled it around his own. “Perfect, thanks.”
“Come on Jake,” said Danny. “Give it back to him, it's not even his.”
“Stole it?” said Jake. “Way to go!”
“No, I took it from our mom's closet,” said Bobby. “She doesn't --”
“Your mom?” said Jake. “You wear your mommy's clothes? That's sick.”
He twirled the cloak back and forth and practised his evil laugh a few times. His voice had started to drop this year, and he was taller than his classmates. Made it all the easier to push them around.
“Tell you what, kids,” he said. “I'll give you a break. Meet me at the top of the Farley's Point lighthouse at midnight and I'll give you back both the cape and the money.”
“No way,” said Danny. “Everyone knows it's haunted, by the lightkeeper’s ghost.”
“Only babies think it's haunted,” said Jake. “My dad knew the lightkeeper. The guy's name was Francis – what a girly name. Dad told me he was a wuss, just like little Bobby here. My dad used to take his Halloween candy too. He said Frances eventually quit school and moved out to the point to run the lighthouse, his only job until he died. “
“Anyways, it's all closed up,” said Bobby.
“Nope,”said Jake, “there's a window open. I looked.”
He'd been there two days ago, looking for bird's eggs in the grass to throw against the tower's black sides, and spotted a partially open window. He'd pulled more boards off to look inside, but it was too dark to see very much.
“Up to you guys,” said Jake. “See you there at midnight.” He gave Bobby another shove, then walked off to look for more candy baskets.
It was colder now, with a damp breeze blowing in off the sea. There was a bit of a moon tonight, too, peeking out between the clouds. The light helped Jake find his way through the bushes on the hill, but also seemed to make the lighthouse look taller and blacker. The window was still open, but it was pitch black inside. He listened – nothing but the moan of the wind. He was glad he'd grabbed some glow-sticks from the last bunch of kids – he pulled one out now and climbed into the room. He could smell the damp from the sea, and something else, like rotting meat, probably from some animal. Long cobwebs hung from the ceiling and there was a layer of dust underfoot, undisturbed for years by the looks of it. Good, he'd beat those two babies here. He didn't think they would come, they were probably home with their mommy by now.
He called just in case. “Hello? Danny? Bobby? Here I come, boogie man's going to get you.”
Nothing. Just the echos of his voice, and the wind.
He found the spiral staircase and started up, whistling to himself. There was a breeze now, coming down from the top, pushing at the cape. The glow-stick was already starting to fade, so he grabbed another one and turned it on. Not much better, he could see only two feet in front and behind him, but that was enough. It seemed the higher he got though, the stronger the wind from above blew. He grabbed for the railing, but when it seemed to move under his hand he decided to stay close to the wall.
By the time he got to the top the last glowstick had faded, and the damp breeze had become a strong wind, swirling around the top of the tower, pulling the black cape this way and that. He peered behind the big light, sitting there in the middle like an eye. Nobody there. He grabbed the railing and peered carefully over the edge. Far below, two small faces, white in the moonlight, looked up at him, their mouths both open like black holes.
He waved and called down. “Hey, little boys. Looks like Jake Bradshaw is the only one here with any balls. Guess I get to keep the money and this nice cape.”
He heard a noise behind him, and started to turn. “Who's there?”
He thought he saw a shape behind him, but the cape kept blowing over his face.
“Do I know you?” he said. He stepped back, stumbled against the railing, felt it give way behind him, and grabbed, desperately, at just the air.
“No, but I knew your dad.”
I like the twist at the end with the lightkeeper! At the beginning, I was a little confused why the kid had a cape until it finally dawned on me that's it's Halloween!
Posted by: Raphealite | October 13, 2012 at 03:50 PM
Awesome suspense, especially since you placed this in a lighthouse which have fascinated me as long as I can remember.
Posted by: Beach Bum | October 14, 2012 at 04:36 AM
Left a comment at last weeks Flash Fiction story. Sorry it took so long getting getting to read it.
Posted by: Beach Bum | October 14, 2012 at 04:43 AM