Friday, July 8, 2011

#FridayFlash- The Lighthouse

It's flash fiction time again! This week's theme was Lighthouses...

“I got you something.”

“Thank you. You shouldn’t have.” Alyce took the bag and untied the ribbon. She carefully lifted out the snow globe she found inside. It was a lighthouse.

“I know how much you like lighthouses.”

Alyce smiled and looked down. She wished she knew what to say, but everything was so hard these days. Before the breakdown she’d been cheerful and outgoing. Now she felt shy and vulnerable. That’s what a hospitalization did to you. All that therapy stripped you bare until your innermost self was left there on display, laid bare for all to see. She turned the globe upside down quickly and then back up. The lighthouse inside was now barely visible through a storm of snow.

“It’s beautiful.” She whispered. They spent a few more moments shuffling nervously and not looking at each other before Jonah finally stood.

“I have to go. Laura only said she’d stay with the kids for an hour. I wish…” here he trailed off.

Alyce swallowed painfully. “I’m sorry.” She whispered. “I just can’t come home yet. I’m not ready…”

“It’s fine.” Jonah leaned down to kiss her on the top of her head and she flinched at the contact. He turned and left.

Alyce wanted to cry. But these days it seemed that she was empty of tears. In fact, she felt empty of everything; tears, emotions, motivation. Most days it took all of her energy to get dressed. The doctors told her it was a side effect of her medicines but that an even keel was what they wanted. No more mood swings, no more high highs or sinking lows, just a solid plodding along. She didn’t feel herself and she couldn’t imagine going home. How would she deal with the children? How could she face the neighbors? No, for now she’d just remain here, alone.

After Alyce went to bed, she lay looking at the snow globe. She’d placed it on her nightstand and the sliver of moonlight that was seeping in through the curtains, illuminated it. It looked so peaceful and quiet. That’s what she’d always liked about lighthouses. They were remote. They were quiet. No neighbors dropping in unannounced expecting your house to be spotless, your children well behaved. No neighborhood kids running in and out eating your cookies and drinking your milk. No. None of that.

In the next instant, Alyce jumped. She grabbed the snow globe and peered at it closely. She’d seen movement. There was something moving inside of it. The next thing she knew, the lighthouse light blinked on. She set it quickly back down. Maybe it was supposed to work like that. Maybe it had a dark sensor or something like the streetlights that switch on by themselves at dusk. Yes, surely that was it. That made sense.

Jonah came again three days later. Alyce told him about the snow globe. She told him how the tiny light blinked on every night. She didn’t tell him that she was sure she’d glimpsed a tiny lighthouse keeper moving around inside the lighthouse. That sounded crazy. She’d keep that to herself.

 "I’m pretty sure that’s impossible, Alyce. The woman who sold it to me didn’t say anything about any sensors or the light coming on.” He glanced away.

Alyce knew that look. “I’m not crazy Jonah! It happened. It happened every night.”

“I didn’t say you were crazy, Alyce. Calm down.” Jonah tried to soothe her. But Alyce refused to be placated.

“You don’t have to say it Jonah. It’s in your eyes every time you look at me. It’s in the way you talk to me, so flipping patronizing. I’m not crazy and I know what I saw!”

“Okay. Calm down. I can go back to the store and see what they say. Alright?”

 Alyce nodded. “Yeah, I guess so. Where did you get it?”

“That old junk store on Maine, Eccentricities.”

“I love that place.” Alyce said. “They have so many neat things there.”

“Well, look,” Jonah said. “I’ll go back tomorrow and ask, okay?” He got ready to leave.

“Okay. Thanks Jonah.”

As she lay in bed that night, staring at the globe again, the light blinked on. This time she could see the tiny lighthouse keeper walking around inside the tower. He had dark brown hair and a bushy beard. He was dressed in old fashioned clothes; a thermal shirt and work pants with suspenders holding them up. He had on wellington boots. He walked to the window and looked out. Without her touching it, the tiny snowflakes began to swirl. It looked so peaceful, so serene and quiet.

The lighthouse keeper smiled as though he could see her and she knew instinctively that he would understand her. He would understand her need for silence and isolation. For surely, that’s what drew him to the lighthouse too? Suddenly her life was too much to bear. More than anything she just wanted to slip into the snow globe and join the lighthouse keeper.

Jonah used his key to enter the apartment. He didn’t like to use it, it felt like an intrusion. But he’d been knocking for the last twenty minutes to no avail. Since Alyce was still his wife, he figured he had the right. He checked quickly through the house. Alyce was nowhere to be found. She hadn’t left the place, to his knowledge, since they’d moved her in three weeks ago. Where the hell could she have gone?

He placed a quick and frantic call to her doctor who said he’d come right over. Jonah went through the apartment again. Nothing, nothing was out of place. Her purse and shoes were still by the door. He picked up the snow globe he’d given her. How odd. He hadn’t noticed that there were tiny people outside the lighthouse, but there were. There was man, obviously the lighthouse keeper, and a woman. He placed it back on the table as he went to answer the doorbell.

If you want something badly enough, you might just get it,


Blaze McRob said...

Oh, this is so good. A nice kind of creepy. It's a very sweet story. I'm glad to see Alyce finally receives happiness and inner peace.

Great story, my Editor!


Anonymous said...

Excellent Stacey, this is really nice. Whenever I think about lighthouse I think about Blaze, we both love them. Sometimes I wish I could escape the way Alyce did, and a lighthouse would be the perfect place!

T.K. Millin's said...

What a nice peaceful story. Reminds me of an episode you would see on The Twilight Zone! Great job!

John Wiswell said...

A little creepy, though mostly I was just concerned for her through his concerns. Sometimes I'm an emotional shadow that way.

Susan Cross said...

Sometimes I feel that way when I step into Cinderella's castle at Disney World. Of course, then I have to get in my car and drive home to real life. I like the feeling of escape. You captured it here beautifully.

W. J. Howard said...

I really enjoyed your story, Stacey. Like the character drawn into the snow globe, I was really drawn into the story. It was so different from what you'd expect for the lighthouse theme this week. One of my favorites today!

Would you like me to put this on the Vamplit blog?

Spot said...

Blaze~ thanks!

Yvonne~ I do think it would be a peaceful life, if a little lonely.

T.K.~ that was exactly the feel I was going for! I wanted it to feel like a Twilight Zone episode!

John~ thanks! I'll take subtle creepy. Lol.

Susan~ Thank you. I'd like to live in Cinderella's castle too!

Wendy~ Thank you very much! I would love to have it on Vamplit's Blog!


Icy Sedgwick said...

I'm glad she finally got to go where she wanted to be...though how could she be alone if she was with the lighthouse keeper?

Either way, it's both eerie and sweet. Lighthouses rock.

RL.Treadway said...

I loved this! Eerie indeed!

Spot said...

Icy~ I think she just wanted the isolation. But since he surely craved isolation too, I guess she thought there'd by a certain kinship there.

Rebecca~ thank you very much lady! And thanks for stopping by to read it.


Claudia Lefeve said...

Loved the story :) Now I want another one!

Spot said...

Claudia~ thanks! I'm here every friday. Lol!