KEEP A WEATHER EYE ON THE HORIZON: A PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN FAN-FICTION STORY
Word count: 751
Summary: A lighthouse-keeper struggles against a storm
How in all this wind does he sleep? The rain pelts against the glass like rifles going off. For a moment, I fear that holes will be riddled through the glass and the panes will shatter. I don’t know how Henry sleeps through it, but, thank God, he does! He can’t make it through one peaceful night without screaming from here to Kingdom Come! But tonight, in a typhoon, he sleeps without releasing one wail. It is remarkable.
I stare down at his plump face and chubby hands curled on either side of his head. The candle I hold spills flickering light onto his features. I wish I could tell his father, “He has your nose,” or “I think his eyes are the same shade as yours.” I could stand, looking down at my son for an eternity, watching only to catch a glimpse of my Will.
Alas, I cannot stay by his crib-side all night. With a storm raging on the bay, the light in the tower must be bright to warn the sailors of their plight should they stray too near the cliffs.
I slowly leave the room and carefully close the door. I hear no cries, so I quickly slip to the stairs that spiral up into the gloom above. Their creaking sounds that I have grown so accustomed to – the loud groan on the eighth step, the sharp creak of the step two-thirds up – are no match for this storm, nothing more than a drowned out whimper. I don’t know what step I’m on without their noise to guide me. The candle in my hand only allows me to see so far; I want to go slow to ensure that I am on solid footholds, but the raging winds urge me on. If I fail to reach the tower, lives could be lost. But in the small amount of light, I cannot tell if I am getting close to the top.
Shipwrecks; I’ve seen them – nearly joined one or two myself when once I roved the seas. I know what a fractured hull looks like with the sailors clinging to shattered boards, dragging them down into the sea with their deadweight. I can see it in my mind and I race up the stairs as fast as I dare; I will be of no use to them if I sprain my ankle or fall backward.
I hear water thrashing against glass, and now I know I am nearing the top. I raise my candle higher and I can see the last step. I can see the pedestal in the middle of the tower room, with waiting wick and sea-facing mirrors. All it needs is a kiss of candlelight.
I see those sinking ships in my mind again, causing me to hasten to the unlit lamp. I can almost hear the dying scream, “God have mercy! Save me!” And then the waters part, and out rides a ship from below the waves; the Flying Dutchman, here to ferry souls to the Other Side.
That’s when I pause, candle held aloft, directly above the waiting head light. I wish I were on that fractured ship, not dead, not dying, alive, crying, “Will!” Oh, would he come and save me from sinking into the frigid depths and take me into his arms, save me from the ridicule and pain I have faced as a wife on my own while he’s been away.
I hesitate to light the lamp, thinking how the light is the only thing keeping sailors from dying, from being sentenced to ride the Dutchman. The candle flickers impatiently in my hand. I shield its flame with my hand. The darkness will bring them, bring him, so that I may catch a glimpse of him and whisper, “Will.”
I can already hear the timbers of a ship groaning against the rocks at the base of the cliff. The sailors’ screams fill my mind; I urge myself not to think of their agony. It won’t be long now; I wait to hear a roar of ocean spray mingling with raindrops as the Dutchman launches itself above the waves. Instead, I hear women crying, children wailing.
I press wick and fuel together and the lamp shoots forth a beam of light into the desolate expanse. There are no ships to be seen, and I weep for what I nearly did to condemn innocent men to the cruel sea.
Disclaimer: I do not own Pirates of the Caribbean