Chi Chi Zhao

Australia

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The Lighthouse Keeper

December 19, 2018

FREE WRITING

5
A beam of light shines from solitary lighthouse into the abyss of the endless sea. The lighthouse is perched on a lonely hill, in an abandoned sea port where empty ships lay dormant. Night after night the light is sent out and where it goes, nobody knows. Gazing into the darkness at the tip of the tower is an old man. Eyes glimmering with the reflection of the light, he breathes in the crisp air as he polishes the lens of the lighthouse.
 
How long the old man had been keeper is unknown, but it is undoubtedly a very long period of time. But time is not important to him as no matter what he does, time still keeps going. So, he refers to time as just before and after.
 
Before seemed like forever ago. Before the port was crammed with vibrant colours and exciting foreign smells. Traders flocked the solitary lighthouse village like water filling a bath and the town was wealthy and advanced. The lighthouse keeper remembered seeing the hubbub from his tower; the smiles, the laughter and the people. Yet, good things cannot stay forever. One night a larger ship docked into the port that had unique flags and was painted in all sorts of strange colours. The townspeople were welcoming; they piled onto the pier to just take a glance of this wonder and a dinner was planned for the foreigners. Just as the lighthouse keeper took a sip of his newly made tea, the ship’s crew opened fire. There were too many bullets, from machine guns that just kept on going without the smallest droplet of mercy. The ship was full of invaders, thieves and worst of all, cold blooded murderers. The keeper felt something deep nagging in his stomach. It was the human instinct of survival, coated with primal fear. So he turned the light off and hid in the corner of the tower, pretending that the lighthouse was empty. He heard the screams, but he didn’t move a limb. He heard the cries, but he stayed silent. The light was gone. 
 
When the invaders had either slaughtered or enslaved the small village they pilfered the town for gold and gems and destroyed the rest. Then they finally left. The lighthouse keeper crawled out from his hiding place and surveyed the damage with moist eyes. Shame dug into the keeper and buried itself into his bones. Streaks of pain cut his cheek as the heavy tears fell. Maybe if he kept the light on other ships would’ve noticed and came to their saviour. Maybe if he kept the light the invaders would have come for him and maybe others could’ve been spared. Maybe if he kept the light on the town would have lived. But he turned it off. 
 
Afterwards, the lighthouse keeper swore that he would always keep the light on for as long as he lived. The invaders had spread the news of their attack and no trader ships ever visited the port again.
 
Every night the keeper sends out his light, in the hope that one day, he’ll glimpse the dim light of a ship. He keeps busy, always trying to make the light brighter and keeping it in good condition. A dot in the deep dark sea, a star in the night sky, one chance in infinity. But the lighthouse keeper will shine his light forever, until he sees a light shining back at him. 

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8 Comments
  • AbigailSauble

    Love how even though this is short, you have an entire story here!
    Great job!


    about 1 year ago
  • Chi Chi Zhao

    Thank you!


    about 1 year ago
  • paperbird

    those descriptions though... this is amazing. the ending paragraph in particular.


    about 1 year ago
  • Chi Chi Zhao

    Thank you :)!


    about 1 year ago
  • INVISIBL3

    wow; this is really good and i especially love the ending sentence :)


    about 1 year ago
  • Mangolover

    Np :P


    about 1 year ago
  • Chi Chi Zhao

    Thanks! :)


    about 1 year ago
  • Mangolover

    Nice descriptions! Great work, the first line really caught my attention :) Have fun & keep up the great work :D


    about 1 year ago