“What are you doing here?”
Spinning around, I came face to face with a man taller than most. From the light of the lantern he carried, I could see his dark eyes.
Looking at me, then back at my sister, Luci, six and near tears, he put down his lantern, “I expect someone might be worrying about you. What’s your names?”
“I'm Matt Williams, and this is my sister, Luci. We’re here with our mom staying at the Cove.”
“Nice people at the Cove. They often send people to see Sweet Red.”
“Sweet Red…what’s that?” I asked.
“She’s the finest lighthouse on the east coast. It’s been here longer than I have. My father used to take care of her, but now I do. My name is Dutch.”
“Here,” handing me the lantern, “You take the light. It’s important to shine the light for all of us to see. Think you can do that?”
“Where are we going, Mr. Dutch?” Luci asked.
“To see if your mom wants to tour Sweet Red.” Dutch headed down the hill.
Browsing the brochure rack, Mom turned as we entered, “Matt, Luci…where have you two been?”
“Sorry, Mom,” looking down. I wished Dad were here.
Luci continued, “Mr. Dutch invited us all to see Sweet Red. Can we go, Mama?”
Mrs. Williams picked up Sweet Red’s brochure. “I think it would be a great adventure! Thank you, Mr. Dutch, for offering to take us.”
Nearing the larger red lighthouse, he took out a fistful of keys. He chose an old fancy key. With a loud creak, the door opened.
Luci followed Dutch inside holding his big hand with her tiny one. As our eyes adjusted, we could see that the inside was larger than it looked from the outside. Inside was a cozy living room with a fireplace, a chair, small table with a lamp and a Bible, and a radio. A kitchen area was on the other side.
“Where do you sleep?” I asked.
“There’s a room off the kitchen where I sleep. I haven’t been getting a lot of sleep lately though.”
“Why’s that?” Luci wondered.
“There’s been a loud squealing noise every night for the past week outside. I can’t figure what it could be. I’ve been trying to find it…that’s when I came across you two. Running a lighthouse is so important. The light must shine brightly for all the ships to see.”
“Where does the light come from?” Luci asked.
“Let me show you.” He opened a door where there was a staircase circling up.
We kept going in circles as we climber higher and higher. My legs felt heavy as we reached the top. Dutch opened the hatch, and we crawled through. Inside, was a huge light.
“Look! I can see everything!” Luci was jumping by the windows that encircled us.
Mom held us close.
Looking down the hatch we came in, I said, “It sounds close, doesn’t it?”
“Well, closer than it normally does. Let’s go back down…but stay close to me.” Dutch’s look was intent.
Quietly, we made our way back down the stairs. At the bottom, Dutch slowly opened the door to the rest of the house and peered inside.
Suddenly, Mom gasped as a shadow ran past the window. Dutch grabbed the lantern and ran outside. I followed behind leaving Mom and Luci inside. I felt safe with the huge man, and knowing God was with us, too.
Tripping as I ran down the hill, I began to roll like a ball. I hit somebody and the force made them fall over me. The young man moaned as he attempted to sit up. Dutch arrived within seconds carrying a device that the young man dropped.
“This looks like the culprit.” Dutch turned the player on to release the bone chilling squeal, and then off, just as Mom and Luci arrived.
“I want my player back!” yelled the young man.
“Zach, why have you been trying to scare me?”
Zach sat silently looking down.
“I don’t think your mama will be happy to hear about what you’ve done. Your dad was a good man, served his country well, and I know you miss him terribly…we all do.”
I looked at Zach, “Your dad died in the war, too?”
I began to understand the war going on inside of Zach…and I gave him my hand to help him up. Perhaps this war, we could fight together.
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