Sunday, May 15, 2022
As upside-down as it seems, writing these (at night after I’m certain that I can’t focus on finishing Dead of Winter”) has helped me move forward with the concluding Journey of that series. I’ve been whittling at a third response inspired by a door from Dennyho at Thoughts of an E’ville Woman. However, I’m having trouble scaling down the story in my head into something short. I think I might finally have the right approach. That one is yet to come.
Today, my short-short story is different from the spooky one I posted on Wednesday. This one is also in a different in tone and style from my usual writing. I wasn’t sure if I should even post this one, but how could I resist a lighthouse?
My inspiration was equal parts from Wheat, Salt, Wine and Oil blog’s photo of the North Pier Lighthouse at Lake Michigan, and an old song from James Taylor. My story is a little… moody, and very short. I hope you enjoy it.
Flashing on and Fading Away
With each wave that crashed against the rocks, Calliope wondered if he was well. Every seabird’s cry sounded like his name. The salt air held the taste of her tears. When the fog rolled in, it stifled all her senses, just as his entrance once seemed to force the air from the room. His presence left her breathless.
Yet he was half a world away, on a ship that sailed the sea. By that time, it was likely off the coast of Africa.
“He’s just a man… but I wish I were there,” Calliope murmured from her place at the lighthouse window where she watched the sea.
When she met him, he was a survivor of a shipwreck, cast against the rocks below, by the deep and rolling sea. However, his journey wasn’t finished. A refugee, he said he wasn’t far enough away yet. He must keep going.
Calliope hoped he could lose it all — give up that foolish quest, stay and fall for her. The words he whispered in breathless moments hinted that he might.
“Ah Calliope, couldn’t we shine?” he once murmured against her ear, his breath warm on her neck as he moved her blonde hair. “Let’s roll all of these golden moments into one. We’ll shine like the sun for one more summer day. Then we’ll go up there, to the top of the tower and shine like the lighthouse for one last summer night.”
One last night, his words gave her pause, and she knew he would not stay, though she still denied it to herself.
“My golden girl… you look so lost and lonely. Don’t make me sad in our last moments. Give me that smile,” he cajoled. “Signal every night, and when I see it, I’ll come. Flashing on quick but short. Then flashing long and fading away. I’ll know it’s you.”
“How can you see my light if you’re halfway around the world?” she asked.
She had barely suppressed the derision in her voice, but she needn’t have worried. He didn’t even notice that she spoke.
Hope surged that he would ask her to follow him. Looking at his eyes, she knew he wouldn’t. His mind had already lost all thought of her.
I could follow you… and lose my mind, she wanted to yell and make him listen.
Summer waned. The seabirds still seemed to call his name. Calliope stared at the waves and the ships that sailed the sea. Every night through June, July, and August she climbed the stairs and caused the light to make the signal, just in case he should change his mind and come back. She had flashed the light on quick but short, and then flashed long and let it fade away.
“But I’m a lonely lighthouse. Not a ship out in the night. He came halfway around the world to see this light — and stay away from me,” she said.
As she moved to once again perform that nightly ritual, a hot tear streaked her cheek. She stopped. Abruptly, Calliope was disgusted with herself and angry.
“I want to be a world away from here,” she told the waves below. “This is my last summer night here.”
Bright with resolve, her eyes shone like the lighthouse.
The next evening, Calliope passed the keys to a new lighthouse keeper.
“I won’t go in the same direction that he did. I won’t even travel by ship,” she declared to herself.
As she headed toward the train station, behind her the light flashed on, and then faded away into the distance. She never looked back.
Thanks for visiting with me. Click the link to Dan’s blog to see more doors and more stories. I hope you’ll stop and leave a friendly comment. Fang and Dilly will be back with more of The Armadillo Files, once I’ve finished Dead of Winter. Hugs on the wing!
Meanwhile, “Dead of Winter: Journey 13, the Harbor” is available
Thanks for spending part of your day here. I’m grateful to everyone who is reading this story. If you aren’t already, I hope you’ll be part of the extraordinary, layered world of these Journeys.
I love to hear from you, so friendly comments are encouraged. Hugs on the wing!
Dead of Winter — All the Journeys
Universal Purchase Links
Journey 13, The Harbor
Journey 12, Goddesses
Journey 11, the Sumelazon Escarpment
Journey 10, Pergesca
Journey 9, Doors of Attunement
Journey 8, The Lost Library
Journey 7, Revenant Pass
Journey 6, The Fluting Fell
Journey 5, Llyn Pistyll Falls
Journey 4, The Old Road
Journey 3, the Fever Field
Journey 2, Penllyn
Journey 1, Forlorn Peak
This is a work of fiction. Characters, names, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, locales, or events is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2022 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene
All rights reserved.
No part of this work may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.
All images are either the property of the author or provided by free sources, unless stated otherwise.