It’s October, and it’ll soon be time to dress up in silly costumes, eat a tonne of children’s sweets and carve out pumpkin faces. Here’s a little seasonal reading to inspire your own stories ready to relay on the 31st.
Photo by Vicente W. Aizpurua
It had been a sunny afternoon in Torquay on July 15th 1962, and John Rothwell and his young son Christopher had been fishing out at sea. They had caught a tremendous batch of herring and after a hard day’s work they were readying their load to head back to the distant harbour.
Maybe it was the warmth of the weather or the intensity of the remaining sun which distracted the pair from the incoming weather, whatever their reasons, neither man nor boy predicted the blackening clouds and the hurricane winds which would soon set upon their miniscule vessel. Before they could gain any advantage on the distance between them and the safety of the harbour, a gale had picked up the waves, and the little boat was soon off-course.
John had always been a keen sailor with an unbeatable sense of direction, but the insurmountable waves, wind and relentless rain removed all sense and skill from the man. John and Christopher battled through the storm long into the night, trying desperately to find their way back to land. Hours passed and by the time the weather began to calm, the little fishing boat was far beyond unknown territories.The blackness surrounded the father and son and although the wind had died down their terror had not. Soaked, freezing and alone, the pair could only be thankful that their lives had been spared and that their boat had survived the storm albeit with irreparable damage.
In the darkness of their cabin they lit a lamp and tried to decipher which direction of the inky abyss would lead them back to Torquay. Stepping out into the icy rain, John suddenly noticed a distinctive flash in the distance: the familiar beam of a lighthouse had presently started to scour the sea.
“My boy, we’re saved!” cried John, pointing out to the yellow light across on the horizon. “Quickly! To the far left of it! There’s land!”
The pair mustered all their strength and eased the boat to the safe, sandy shore with the help of the lighthouse beams guiding them carefully from the rocks. Pulling the boat onto the shore and collapsing on the sand, the pair lay exhausted until the light of morning interrupted their damp rest.
Climbing to his feet, John gazed around the beach, the wreck of his boat, and his son sleeping soundly in the sand. Leaving him to rest, he cast his vision upon the lighthouse, standing tall and strong atop of the cliff.
John began to climb the rocks and shingle, making his way slowly up the headland from the beach below. Limping with a bruised body along the cliff top he gazed upon the red and white striped building which had saved his life the night before. He reached the red door and knocked heavily, unaware of the early hour. An elderly man met him at the door, gazing upon him with tired eyes and a mug of coffee, quite surprised at the intrusion.
“Oh thank you, my man! You saw us last night, and your light saved me and my boy. We were so lost and thanks to your lighthouse we’re safe and alive. Thank you!” John beamed, stealing the man’s hand to shake it heartily.
“Goodness!” gasped the man, a look of confusion upon his face. “I’m certainly glad to see that a fellow man is indeed alive and well, but you must be mistaken. My wife and I have been away, we returned from Dartmouth but a half hour ago. The lighthouse was empty last night, and its light hasn’t operated in over thirty five years. Surely you are mistaken”
John could only gaze into the man’s truthful eyes whilst the smell of his coffee oozed into his nose, disarming his enthusiasm and sparking a cold sense of intrigue within his being.
“Come in, man, you look a fright. At least get warm and tell us exactly what happened to you last night,” offered the man.
“I shouldn’t, my boy is on the beach, John muttered as he walked away, his mind elsewhere. “The lighthouse hasn’t been used in thirty fi…” He looked back at the man and the lighthouse. “Where am I?”
“This is Guernsey, the west coast to be precise. Take care old boy!”
With this knowledge and the smell of the sea in his hair, John stumbled away to the beach, stopping for one last searching glance at the top of the lighthouse, at those blank panes of glass, at that lifeless great light bulb.
Kathryn works on the marketing team and spends most of her time making our website read better.
She has a degree in English & Creative Writing and loves classic cars, 1970s music and ginger beer.
She writes our fictional stories and seasonal posts.
See all of Kathryn’s posts.