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The Lighthouse by Cherry Kelly

A brisk cold wind cut through his heavy winter coat chilling him to the bone. The pathway to the old lighthouse was almost overgrown with fall weeds. He stopped and looked across the shoreline to where the new lighthouse stood. Its bright light would be reaching out across the wind blown seas tonight. He shivered as the rain began falling. It was barely into the afternoon, but it promised to be a dark rainy day from the looks of the clouds.

The wooden door stood half open as he made his way into the the now empty building. There was water on the floor. He turned to the winding stairway that lead to the chamber below the candle room. That well worn first step was half missing so he stepped carefully. On the seventh step he moved away from the wall, it was a bad step. No matter how many times they'd replaced with new wood and new pins to hold it in place, it never lasted. Now the water from the broken window slit covered that dangerous step.

Upward he climbed until he reached the last window slit. The light from the new lighthouse flashed through the small pane. This glass was sturdy, though many of the town's boys had thrown rocks against it, it had never broken. The rain seeped beneath the wooden frame, creating streaks of wetness upon the old stones.

He was tired by the time he got to the main chamber. The window seat was the only place to sit, at least it was dry. He looked out the window to where the waves were cresting on the rocky shore. It would be a rough night for ships coming in to the harbor.

It was still light enough to see the chamber. The old desk was still standing though the chair had long since fallen apart and was abandoned as unneeded. Pieces were strewn across the floor. As he looked closer he saw that someone had been working to take the old oak desk apart. There were some tools on the floor, and the top shelves were loose. He remembered when they had brought the desk up those winding stairs and put it together. The smell of oil still lingered from the numerous polishing times. Maybe it would find a new home in the lighthouse across the way. He would not go there, this was his lighthouse.

There was movement above and he looked up to the top of the window seat. A spider was weaving a web there. How many spiders over the years had there been weaving their webs in that one corner? There'd been no mice in this chamber, but once in a while one would find a place in the floor behind the stairwell. He hadn't noticed when he came in if the old coat room was still there. Thats where the mice had lived.

He must have fallen asleep. The dying light from the setting sun told him that time had passed. The rain had stopped for now and the clouds seemed to be a bit more scattered. Only the increasing winds told of more rain to come. He was stiff so he stretched slowly. It was a long walk to home and he wanted to be there before the night's storm arrived.

Going down the now darkened winding stairs took longer than it should. He avoided the puddles that had gathered on most of the steps, but there was no way to avoid them on the ones by the broken window slit. He took his time.

By the door he paused to look around. The old coat closet was still there, but the setting sun told him there was no time to explore. He went out the door. There coming down the path toward him was Joe. Joe was leaning heavily on his cane.

"You having one last look too?" Joe asked quietly.

"Meow," he answered.

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