She approached the open doorway at its base, a dark maw that both alarmed and beckoned. She entered and began the long climb to the top, counting out the seventy-four steps. As she approached the top, the darkness receded until she found herself standing in the very room where the active Fresnel blasted light across both land and water, a sparkling jewel of such immensity and power that she had to partially shield her eyes.
From the far side of the small, circular room nearly filled to capacity by the circulating lamp, she heard a rustling, then a woman’s voice. “Beautiful, isn’t it?”
“Oh!” Chris exclaimed. “You . . . I didn’t realize anyone else was here!”
“I am. I’m always here on Veterans Day. Why are you?”
“Is this Veterans . . . um, why? Well, because I do research. I mean, I’m researching lighthouses.”
“You’re that journalist.”
“I . . . you . . . I guess you’ve seen my broadcasts,” Chris added, unsure whether to be flattered or alarmed this stranger knew who she was.
“Well, I suppose it can be.” Chris felt herself shudder at the memory of having fallen into that hole at the Clarke house. “But not usually.”
“Dangerous,” the woman repeated, “like my husband’s job. Only he didn’t have a choice.”
“Your husband?” Chris asked.
“Never came home. Veterans are supposed to come home, that’s why we celebrate them.”
“I . . . I’m sorry for your loss,” Chris said, beginning to think the woman might be unhinged. What was she really doing here? Performing some sort of personal ritual in honor of her dead husband?
“They’re symbols of warning, you know,” the woman said, still standing on the far side of the Fresnel.
“That’s what lighthouses are.”
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish