“There’s another storm coming.” Grim said grimly.
“Of course there is. There’s always another storm. That’s kind of the point, isn’t it?” Enid muttered, glaring into her teacup as though the storm was brewing right there. She could count on one hand the number of sunny days she’d seen since moving to the Lighthouse eighty years ago. “I wish we could have some sunshine and clear skies for a change.”
“But that’s not how it works. And as you say, that’s kind of the point.” Grim sighed. He drained the last of his tea and reached for his cloak. “Well, I’d best get going.”
Enid stood up and went to the window, staring out across the sea as the sky darkened. The wind had picked up considerably and the window frames rattled with complaint. Even after all this time she could still appreciate the beauty of the view that surrounded her home and stretched on forever in every direction, despite the dreadful weather they suffered day in day out. The sea had been calm just minutes before, but now the waves grew and crashed angrily against her home. Sometimes there were rare moments of calm, with still sea and sky, but it never lasted long and the clouds never truly left. There was always a sea-storm coming, sometime, somewhere.
“Will you be returning for dinner?” Enid tried not to sound desperate.
“You know we don’t need food.”
“We don’t need many things, but I like the old habits and I know you do too. Besides, your visits are the only time I have company.”
“The solitude never used to bother you. It was why you agreed to the job in the first place.”
Enid remembered all too well the day she had decided to escape her old life. She had been so lost, sinking further and further into darkness. When Grim found her and offered the job of Light Keeper, Enid had jumped at the chance to have purpose again, to help others who were lost.
“True enough. But even I can get lonely…I’m starting to see why my predecessor resigned,” she said.
“She didn’t “resign”. She swam out to the horizon and never returned. She’ll still be out there, somewhere. There’s nowhere else to go.” Grim placed a bony hand on Enid’s shoulder in sympathy. “I know it is a hard job, but only you can do it. No other human soul can enter the Lighthouse.”
“I know.” Enid turned back to the window as lightning forked across the sky. “You should leave, you don’t want to be late.”
“I’ll be back”. With a wide all-toothed grin, he pulled up his hood to cover his face. Opening the window, he flew out over the sea, his cloak billowing behind him. Enid shielded her eyes with her hand and watched until Grim had completely disappeared into the sea-spray mist, before closing the window. She knew Grim couldn’t die – that neither of them could die – but she still got a little twinge whenever he flew into the dark that he would never come back. Then she would be truly alone.
Enid crossed the room and advanced up the spiral staircase to the top of the tower. The last step opened into the Light Room, containing nothing but a large quartz stone at its centre. Floor to-ceiling windows formed a provided a panoramic view of the sea from all sides.
“It’s time to get to work.” Enid placed her hand gently against the stone to form the connection. The stone began to hum in response, a deep reverberating melody. A glowing light appeared within the centre of the quartz, flickering first before truly igniting and filling the whole room. Using her connection with the stone, Enid concentrated the glow into a wide beam aiming out to sea in the direction Grim had flown.
Exiting to the balcony that surrounded the Light Room, she shielded her eyes from the spray once more and waited. It didn’t take long for the first lost souls to float through the darkness, feet skimming the choppy black waters as they came forward, completely oblivious to the storm raging around them. More soon followed, drawn in by the light and resonating stone-song. Enid watched with fascination, as she always did. The Lighthouse was not restricted by place or time, and each new storm brought souls from different seas in different eras. Every soul was different, and occasionally she could guess when and where the souls were coming from. Sometimes they were from a future earth that Enid hadn’t seen. Sometimes, she wondered if they were from earth at all. Once a soul had found its way through the storm, Enid reached towards it with a small tendril of light reaching from the stone, guiding the soul into the quartz core and through to the Hereafter.
Enid kept the light in check as the hours passed by. Only when the rain left and the wind subsided to a gentle breeze did she leave her post and return to the quartz. Placing her hand on the surface once more, she cut the connection and allowed the light to dim and the hum to fade. Another successful shift. No soul had been lost at sea since Enid became the Light Keeper, and no soul ever would be.
Halfway back down the stairs, Enid froze at the sound of an unfamiliar voice.
“Hello?” It called.
She hadn’t heard another voice other than Grim’s and her own since she had left her life eighty year ago.
“Hello?” The voice was more insistent.
“Er…Hello…?” Enid replied, following the voice to the living room, looking for a source. “Who are you?”
“Hello there!” Shouted the voice from behind. Enid spun to face the window, now open when it wasn’t before. There, sat on the windowsill like it belonged, was a grey parrot. It’s intelligent green eyes appraised Enid as she stared in return. Next to the bird was a brief scrawled note that brought smile to Enid’s never-aging face:
Hope you like to talk, the damn thing wouldn’t shut up on the crossover.
See you later,
This was prompted by this weeks Flash Fiction Challenge by Chuck Wendig. I’ve wanted to have a go at Chuck’s challenges for months but struggled to write anything (I haven’t written fiction related shizz since high school). I hope you enjoyed it 🙂