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Surprise Guest

By Laura DePacePublished about a month ago 21 min read
Image by Laura DePace

“Dammit! Not again!” Alethea banged on her keyboard in frustration.

"Whoa!” Diana, her friend and coworker, cautioned from the next desk. “Be nice to the technology!”

“When it WORKS, I’ll be nice to it!” Alethea stormed. “I just lost the whole wretched document,” she fumed. “And it took me all morning to put the damn thing together!”

“Alright, alright,” Diana soothed, getting up from her own desk and coming over to Alethea’s. “Let me see if I can fix it.”

Diana took a look; she pushed a few keys, and the empty screen filled with Alethea’s document. “There you go, hon,” she said with a smile. “Never underestimate the power of Control Z!”

“Thanks,” Alethea muttered, embarrassed. “Again. You’d think I’d remember that by now.”

The women worked quietly for a while, tapping away at their keyboards. Finally, 5:00 crept around. Alethea looked at her watch, rose, and stretched her aching back.

“That’s it,” she said. “I’m outta here.”

“Wait up,” Diana said, rising from her own station. “I’ll walk you out.”

“Whatcha doing this weekend?” Alethea asked.

“We’ve got a family thing. Graham’s aunt’s cousin’s daughter is expecting her first baby at the end of June, so his aunt is throwing a baby shower.”

“Well, that will be fun!” Alethea responded, trying to sound enthusiastic. “All those cute little baby things, and … stuff.”

Diana laughed. “When’s the last time you went to a baby shower?”

“Like, never!” Alethea laughed. “No family. No babies.”

“You could always come with me,” Diana offered hopefully. “It would be so much more fun if you were there!”

“Hanging out with your huge, huggy family?” Alethea responded, shaking her head. “I think not!”

“Fine!” Diana replied, mock-angry. “I’ll go it alone.” She looked at her friend. “What are you doing? Memorial Day weekend, three days off. Got any plans?”

Alethea shrugged. “Nah,” she muttered. “I got nothing to do. As usual.”

“You should do something!” Diana urged her. “Surely there’s something you want to do!”

“Sure, sure,” she murmured. “Go on a cruise. Catch the next plane to Paris. Have a spa weekend.”

“Alright, alright,” Diana surrendered. “Do nothing, as usual.” She gave Alethea a direct look. “You really should get away,” she urged her friend. “You could really use a break. All these layoffs have been hard on everyone: twice the work, half the workers. Plus the constant worry that we’ll be the next to go!”

“Yeah,” Alethea agreed. “It’s been a tough year.”

Reaching her car, Diana turned and gave her friend a hug. “At least think about it. See you Tuesday.”

Watching Diana drive away, Alethea thought about it. A break would be wonderful! She was sick of work, sick of her tiny apartment, sick of Miami. She would love to get away. Three whole days! When she got home, Alethea threw a frozen dinner in the microwave and sat down with her laptop.

Hmm, what do I want to do, she thought. That I can do for three days and be back to work on Tuesday?

Scrolling along on a vacation rental site, she came across a picture of a lighthouse. “Ooh,” she cooed. “You beauty! I would love to spend time with you!”

She gazed longingly at the picture. White tower, blue sky, palm trees. Just gorgeous! I always wanted to live in a lighthouse, she thought. Ever since I read that book Keep the Lights Burning, I always wanted to.

“What the hell,” she said aloud, coming to a decision. “Why not?!”

She clicked on the picture and looked at the rates. “Oh,” she mumbled. “That’s why not.” It was unbelievably expensive, way beyond her measly vacation budget. “Probably already booked, anyway,” she muttered, clicking on the dates for the upcoming weekend.

“Huh?” she said, startled, sitting up straight. When she changed the dates, she saw that this weekend was available, after all. And really cheap! All the other dates were $200 per night; $300 on weekends. But yet, for this weekend -

“Well, that can’t be right!” she said. “Damn computer.” She got out of the page, then got back in. The price remained the same. For this weekend - only for this weekend - the cost was $50 a night.

She picked up her phone and called the number that was listed.

“Dream Vacations,” a crisp, efficient voice answered. “This is Amy. How can I help you to reach your dream?” the perky voice asked.

“Um. I saw an ad for a lighthouse to stay in,” Alethea continued. “I’d like to stay there this weekend.”

There was a moment’s silence on the phone. “This weekend?” Amy asked. “Do you mean, tomorrow?”

“Well, yes,” Alethea replied. “Your website says it’s available. And that it’s only 50 bucks a night.”

Amy laughed. “Surely you’re mistaken,” she responded, not quite as perkily. “We don’t -” There was a pause. “Unless - do you mean - you don’t mean Palm Point. Do you?”

Alethea looked at the screen. “Yup, that’s the one. Palm Point Light.”

“Oh.” There was a moment of uncomfortable silence on the other end of the line. “Are you sure you want Palm Point?” Amy asked.

“Do you have another lighthouse that’s available for 50 bucks a night this weekend?” Alethea asked.

“No, Ma’am. But -”

“Is there something wrong with Palm Point?”

“Oh, no, of course not!”

“Then I’ll take Palm Point.”

“Yes, Ma’am.”

In no time, Alethea was all set for her mini-vacation. Amy had given her directions to the lighthouse and told her where she could pick up the key. Alethea packed a bag, plugged the address into her GPS, and was on her way at the crack of dawn Saturday morning.

She pulled into the parking lot of Lou’s Goods, the tiny general store where Amy had directed her to pick up the key. A bell jangled as she opened the door. The place was empty except for an old man sitting behind the counter. Must be Lou, Alethea thought with a tiny smile.

“Help ya, Miss?” he asked.

“I just need a few things,” Alethea replied. Picking through what supplies there were in the tiny store, Alethea filled a basket with coffee, eggs, and a few easily-prepared meals. When she brought her hoard up to the counter to pay, she added a bottle of wine. Considered, and added another bottle.

As Lou rang up her supplies, she added, “Oh, and I need the key to Palm Point Light.”

The man froze mid-ring, staring at Alethea. “Palm Point Light?” he asked hoarsely.

“Yes,” Alethea replied, confused. “I’m staying there. The lady said I could pick up the key here.”

The man stared at her, slack-jawed.

Impatient now, and a bit put off by his bizarre reaction, Alethea snapped, “Do you have the key or not? What is wrong with you?!”

The man straightened abruptly, shaking his head. He turned back to the wall behind the counter and took down a large cast iron skeleton key from a hook. With a very unnatural-looking smile, he handed the key to Alethea. “Here you are, miss,” he said, a little too-heartily. “Have a nice stay.”

That was weird, thought Alethea, returning to her car, grocery bag in one hand, the curiously heavy key in the other. Cool key, she thought, examining the elaborate antique.

A very short time later she was pulling slowly up the crushed-shell drive leading to the lighthouse. It looked just like it looked in the picture: a cleanly shining white tower, topped with a sparkling light housing that cast rainbows in the Florida sun. My lighthouse, she thought proprietarily. All mine!

In minutes, she had moved in.

The main floor of the lighthouse was a tiny apartment, complete with a miniature stove and refrigerator. A little table with a checkered tablecloth sat beneath a window. There were two rocking chairs, a small dresser, and a double-sized bed with an antique-looking hand-stitched quilt covering it. Large windows, equipped with storm shutters, looked out over the sea.

A cast-iron spiral staircase curved upwards from a niche tucked away in the back of the room. Alethea climbed up it, slowly and carefully, keeping a tight grip on the iron rail. Halfway up the stair there was a heavy wooden door. She opened it and peeked inside, then stepped into the room. It was a tiny bed chamber, holding a small wooden rocking chair; a battered wooden dresser; and a small bed with its own hand-stitched quilt. Under the tiny window there was a wooden trunk that brought to mind stories of pirate treasure. Alethea couldn’t resist a look inside. But there was no treasure; all that it held was a few dusty leather-bound books. Mindful of her dust allergy, Alethea gently closed the “treasure chest” and slipped out of the room.

Climbing all the way up the spiral staircase, Alethea stepped out onto the tiny balcony that circled the top of the lighthouse, the light itself. It was very windy up there, and Althea found herself clinging to the iron rail. But the view! What a view! She could see for miles along the shore in either direction, as the peninsula swept back from the lighthouse that crowned its tip. In the other direction, the sea sparkled, gentle swells building to break in a foamy crown against the rocks of the Point.

Beautiful! Alethea thought, stirred by the beckoning sea. So beautiful!

She stayed in her bird’s eye perch until the chill of the ceaseless wind sent her back inside. After carefully descending the spiral staircase, she grabbed her jacket - and a bottle of wine - and set out to explore the beach. My beach, she thought. All mine! She walked up and down the beach for hours, picking up shells, laughing at the little birds that ran in and out with the waves. She watched the sun set in a blaze of red glory, then made her way back to “her” lighthouse.

She walked in the door - and stopped dead. There was someone there!

“Hey!” she said. “What are you - “

The figure turned to face her. It was a young woman, dressed in a Laura Ashley-style dress of blue-and-white calico with frothy lace at the wrists, neck, and hemline. A snowy white apron, tied at neck and waist, covered the dress. She was young, probably 17 or 18. Dark hair cascaded to her waist, and her eyes were the deep-blue color of the sky and the sea. When she smiled - and she smiled now - a deep dimple appeared in each cheek.

“Why, hello!” she said, in pleased surprise. “How nice to have company! I was just about to make tea.”

The woman held a tea kettle in her hand, and a teapot was set out on the table, with a blue-flowered teacup beside it. “Oh, my, we’ll need another cup!” she exclaimed, turning to take a matching cup from the cupboard. Returning, she carefully poured boiling water into the waiting teapot.

“Won’t you join me?” she asked Alethea, graciously inviting her to the table.

Stunned at this unexpected turn of events - and yet, somehow, charmed by the young woman - Alethea found herself moving to the table to take a seat.

“Oh, this is nice!” the young woman said, with another dimpling smile. “I’m Stormy,” she said. “And you are…?”


“Oh, my, what a pretty name!” Stormy smiled.

Thank you,” Alethea responded. There was a short, awkward silence. “Um - Stormy? That’s a - uh - very unusual name.”

Stormy smiled. “Yes, it is different, isn’t it? I was born during a terrible storm. And I d - “ She paused, stumbling over her words. When she continued, Alethea had a sense that she had changed direction, substituting a different sentence from the one she had started. “I do love a good storm!” she finished. “Tea’s ready!” She carefully poured a cup for each of them. “Sugar?” she asked, indicating a glass dish full of sugar cubes. Alethea shook her head, took her cup, and sipped delicately. Stormy dropped two sugar cubes into her own cup with a smile, stirring it in with a silver spoon. The women studied each other over the rims of their cups.

Alethea returned her cup to the saucer with a sharp click! “Look,” she said, “I don’t mean to be rude, but who are you? And what are you doing in my lighthouse?”

“Your lighthouse?” Stormy questioned.

“Well, alright, it’s not technically my lighthouse. But it’s mine for this weekend!”

“Excuse me?” Stormy asked gently, confusion clouding her eyes. “What do you mean?”

“Well, I rented it,” Alethea explained. “From the vacation rental website. 50 bucks a night, and it’s mine for the weekend.”

“Oh, dear!” Stormy responded. “There must be some kind of a mix-up. This lighthouse is mine for this weekend. Every year.” She dropped her eyes, studying her tea. “Just for this weekend,” she repeated softly.

The women fell silent. Then their eyes met, studying each other.

A tentative expression crossed Stormy’s face. “Maybe … we could share it?” she suggested timidly.

“But -” Alethea protested.

“I’ll stay out of your way, if you like,” Stormy offered in a rush. “I’m very quiet, you won’t even know I’m here!” Her eyes begged Alethea to agree.

Alethea studied her innocent, hopeful face.

Sensing weakness, Stormy pushed ahead. “It would be so much fun to have company, don’t you think?” she offered in a rush. “We can talk, and drink tea - or wine, if you like. We can have the best sleepover!”

Stormy waited, hands clasped, a look of pleading on her face. Alethea sat, mind blank, floored by the unexpected request. It was surprisingly difficult to say no.

“Do you like history?” Stormy asked unexpectedly.

“History?” Alethea repeated.

“History of this lighthouse!” Stormy rushed to explain. “I can tell you all the stories about this lighthouse, all about its history! All the keepers who lived here, their families. The shipwrecks, the rescued sailors!” She peeked at Alethea pleadingly. “You’d like that! Wouldn’t you?”

Alethea felt herself weakening. After all, she thought, what’s the harm? She seems like a nice enough kid. Almost like a friend. Might be fun to have a sleepover with a friend…

“Okay,” she finally agreed.

“Yay!” squealed Stormy. “Oh, this will be so much fun! You won’t regret it!”

Looking around the room, Alethea had a thought. “Wait. Where are you going to sleep? There’s only the one bed here.”

“Oh, that’s alright, my room is upstairs, the tower room.”

“Your room?” Alethea questioned cautiously.

Stormy seemed to catch herself. “I mean, I can stay up in the tower room,” she corrected. “I’ll be fine up there, it’s a perfect little room for me!”

Giving her a puzzled look, Alethea decided to let it go.

The evening passed quickly and pleasantly. Stormy was full of stories of the lighthouse, which Alethea found fascinating. There was nothing Stormy didn’t know. She knew all about all of the Keepers who had ever lived there; she knew the names of their children and grandchildren. She could tell the tale of every major storm that had battered Palm Point, every shipwreck, every sailor saved and every sailor lost. She even knew the pets: the long succession of lighthouse cats and dogs, their names and the years they had “served” here.

Alethea was enchanted by Stormy’s tales. They talked far into the night, finishing off the first bottle of wine. Finally, well past midnight, Alethea could no longer hide her yawns, and admitted that she had to hit the sack. Stormy seemed strangely reluctant to let her go.

“We have all day tomorrow,” Alethea reassured her. “And all night tomorrow night! If I don’t go to bed, I’m going to fall asleep right here at the table!” she ended with a laugh.

Stormy rose. “Good night, Alethea, my friend. Thank you for letting me stay with you,” she said politely. “It’s been so much fun! I can’t remember when was the last time I had so much fun!”

“It was fun!” Alethea agreed. “It’s been a while since I’ve had this much fun, too. A sleepover!” she smiled.

Unexpectedly, Stormy suddenly embraced Alethea in a tight hug. Surprised, Alethea hugged her back. She sensed a great sadness from Stormy, and bent to see her face. She could see tears standing in her eyes. “Hey, hey!” she exclaimed. “None of that! We’ll have fun again tomorrow! It’s not like we’ll never see each other again!”

Nodding sadly, Stormy clasped Alethea’s hand and turned to climb the spiral staircase. “Good night!” she said softly. “Sweet dreams!”

“Good night!” Alethea responded. “See you tomorrow.”

Wrapped warmly in the quilt, Alethea was asleep nearly as soon as her head hit the pillow. Tired from the busy day, and the long evening of chatting, she thought she would sleep well and soundly. But, although she slept, and she dreamed, her sleep was troubled, and her dreams anything but sweet.

She dreamed of pounding storms shaking the lighthouse, wind screaming, glass breaking. In her dreams, she saw Stormy, struggling in the wind as she staggered along the rocks of the point. The waves pounded her, again and again, knocking her off of her feet. Each time she fell, Stormy struggled back up and kept going. Alethea called out to her, knowing she was in danger, begging her to come back. But Stormy kept going, heedless of Alethea’s calls. Alethea tried to follow her, to bring her back, but she couldn’t make any progress. Each step she took, the waves pushed her back, one staggering step forward, two soaking steps back. She slipped on the seaweed, falling, scraping her shins, cutting her hands. Stormy continued, just out of reach. Finally, as Alethea watched, helpless, a huge wave rose up out of the sea, the big “Seventh Wave” of legend. Alethea screamed a warning, but she knew that Stormy couldn’t hear her. The wave crashed over Stormy’s head and swallowed her up.

“No!” Alethea woke up, screaming. Her heart was pounding, her throat as raw as if she really had been shouting to make herself heard over the waves. Fighting to escape the terrible dream, she rose from the bed. She felt a strong urge to go up the spiral staircase to check on Stormy. She even began to climb, making her shaking way up five steps, ten. Then she stopped herself. “Don’t be ridiculous,” she whispered. “You go barging into her room like a crazy woman, you’re going to scare the daylights out of her!” She forced herself to turn and climb back down. She sat in the rocking chair, trying to calm herself.

Slowly it dawned on her that she really was hearing the screaming of the wind, the pounding of the sea. It sounded like a huge storm had blown in while she slept. Odd, she thought, the weather forecast didn’t say anything about a storm… As she rocked, the sound of the storm dissipated. She glanced at her watch; nearly dawn. Exhausted, she crawled back into bed, wrapping the quilt around her again.

She woke late, having missed sunrise by hours, still feeling groggy from her unsettled night. She got up and made a pot of tea. Sitting at the table, she looked out the window onto a beautiful blue-sky day. Blue as Stormy’s eyes, she thought with a smile. Guess she slept in, too. Well, it was a long night. I hope she slept better than I did!

Reluctant to disturb her lighthouse-mate, Alethea quietly dressed and made her way out onto the beach. She was surprised to see no sign of the violent storm that had disturbed her sleep last night. The beach was strewn with shells, same as it had been when she arrived yesterday, but she didn’t see the seaweed and driftwood piles that usually followed a big storm. Bemused, she returned to the lighthouse.

Still no sign of Stormy. She looked at her watch: 10:30! Surely Stormy should be up by now!

Alarmed now, she made her way up the spiral staircase to the heavy wooden door. She knocked gently on the door.

“Stormy?” she called. No answer. She knocked again, harder. “Stormy!” she called. Still no answer.

She gently turned the knob and peeked into the room. There was no sign of her new friend. The room was as neat as it had been when she peeked in yesterday. The bed hadn’t been slept in. There were no clothes hanging on the hooks. She crossed to the dresser and checked the drawers. Empty.

“What the hell…?” Where was she? It was as if she had never been here!

Worried now, Alethea got her keys and her purse and drove into “town” - Lou’s place. Alethea burst through the door and marched up to the counter. Lou stared at her in surprise, startled at her abrupt entrance.

“Somethin’ wrong?” Lou asked. “You OK, Miss?”

“I want to report a missing person,” Alethea stated.

“A missing person?” he asked. “Who’s missing?”

“Stormy,” Alethea said, “Stormy… well, I don’t know her last name, but -” She stopped mid-sentence. Lou was staring at her, white-faced.

“Is this some kind of joke?!” he demanded angrily. “You think this is funny?!”

“What?!” Alethea gasped, taken aback by his unexpected anger. “Of course I’m not joking! What kind of person would joke about a missing person?! I tell you, she’s missing, and I’m worried about her!” She stared challengingly at him.

Lou studied her face, judging her reaction. “Where is this person missing from?” he asked.

“From the lighthouse,” Alethea explained as patiently as she could. “She stayed at the lighthouse with me last night. But this morning, she was gone! Something must have happened to her!”

“Thought you were staying at Palm Point by yourself,” Lou said. “That’s what you said, anyway.”

“Well, I was staying alone,” Alethea explained. “But there was some kind of a mix-up with the rental, and she was supposed to be staying there alone, too. She said that she stayed there the same weekend every year. We got to talking, and we decided that we could both stay there, together. She said that she would stay in the little tower room, that she stayed in that room every year, and-” She stopped, arrested by Lou’s expression. What is his problem? she wondered. He’s looking at me like I’m crazy!

“What?!” Alethea demanded. “What is wrong with you?”

“Why don’t you come on over here and have a seat,” Lou offered, waving to a stool by the counter.


“Please,” Lou said.

“Fine!” Alethea snapped, taking the seat. Lou sat on another stool beside her.

“So, you say this person-”

“She has a name!” Alethea corrected. “Her name is Stormy!” She glared at him.

“Sure, sure,” Lou said agreeably. “So - Stormy. She stayed at Palm Point Light with you last night?”

“Yes,” Alethea said stonily.

“Can you describe her?” he asked.

“Of course. Young, probably 17 or 18. Pretty, with long dark hair and the bluest eyes I’ve ever seen. As blue as - “

“As blue as the sky and the sea,” Lou muttered under his breath.

“Why, yes!” Alethea exclaimed. “You do know her?”

“Maybe, maybe,” Lou said. “Keep going, please.”

“But if you-” She gave him an odd look, then continued. “Yes, so, long dark hair, blue eyes, dimples. A very pretty girl. She was wearing a cute Laura Ashley dress,” she continued. Seeing Lou’s blank look, she elaborated. “A blue and white dress, ruffly, with a cute apron.”

Lou nodded.

Exasperated, Alethea said, “Look, do you know her or not? Can’t we get some kind of search party out looking for her? She might have been hurt in the storm last night!”

“Storm?” Lou questioned.

“Yes, storm,” Alethea repeated. “A big storm blew through last night. Shook the lighthouse, and the wind was screaming. Surely you noticed?”

Lou stared at her for a long minute. “No,” he said flatly. “No storm.”


Lou shook his head and rose. He walked slowly across the room and stopped in front of a picture that hung on the wall. Carefully taking it down, he returned to the stool beside Alethea, gazing intently at the picture. Looking at Alethea, he turned the picture over, showing it to her.

“This her?” he asked.

There, in the picture, was Stormy. Long dark hair. Same dimples. Same dress. No blue eyes in the black and white picture, but there was no doubt in Alethea’s mind that this was Stormy.


Leaning forward to look closely at the picture, Alethea strained to read the date. 15 March 1912.

Stunned, she looked up at Lou. “I don’t understand,” she said flatly. “It’s her. I swear it’s her! But-”

Lou nodded. “Yeah. But.” He took the picture from her nerveless fingers and gazed at the figure there. “Stormy Marie Evans. Distant cousin of mine, actually. Died in 1912. Just a few months after this picture was taken. Daughter of the Keeper back then. They called her Stormy because-”

“Because she was born during a big storm,” Alethea interrupted. “She - she - told me…”

“Died in a big storm, too,” Lou added. “As the story goes, her little dog ran out on that rocky point, and she went out after him. Big wave took both of ‘em out.” He turned a long, solemn look on her. “Happened May 26th, 1912.” He pointed at the calendar. “Today’s the 27th.”

Alethea stared at him, stunned. “You mean she - “

Lou nodded. “Yup. She died. Over 100 years ago to the day.”

“But I saw her! We had tea! We talked half the night! She knew everything there was to know about the lighthouse….”

Alethea looked at Lou. “You don’t seem that surprised,” she observed. “You should think I’m crazy. But you don’t, do you?”

“Well,” Lou said thoughtfully, stroking his chin. Coming to a decision, he continued, “You’re not the only one who’s seen her. There’s been stories about her ever since - oh, ever since she died, I guess. Her ghost seems to hang around that lighthouse right around the time she died, every year.

“Vacation rental outfit picked up the place for a song, some years back, and fixed it up real nice. People stay there all the time. Get married out there. Honeymoons. You know.

“ ‘Cept this weekend, right around Memorial Day. Seems it’s a tough sell this weekend. Not many people want to spend the weekend with a ghost,” he smiled. “Seems like you got along pretty well with her, though. Good for you. Good for her, too. She must get lonely.”

“So,” he said. “Whatcha gonna do? You gonna stay another night?”

Alethea thought about it. What was she going to do? She had paid for two nights. Should she stay? Or should she head back to Miami early?

“I don’t know,” she said thoughtfully. “I guess I’ll head back out there for now, anyway. All my stuff’s there.” Looking at the blue sky, she added, “And it is a beautiful day.”

Alethea returned to the lighthouse. Looking at it with new eyes, knowing the tragedy it held, it was still beautiful and peaceful. She went inside, rocking for a few minutes as she considered her decision. The spiral staircase invited her to climb to the top again, to take in that beautiful view.

She couldn’t resist stopping at the heavy door of the tower room, opening it, and stepping inside. Still no sign of Stormy. She walked over to the chest, lifted the lid, and looked at the books it held. Picking one up, she realized that they were journals, hand-written in a spidery hand, ink fading with age. Lifting the top one, she opened it to the last page. She took the journal to the window, squinting to make out the faint writing.

"It is such a beautiful day!" she read. "Sunrise was so pretty, all red and purple. They say 'Red sky in the morning, sailor take warning,' but I’m not afraid of a storm. Storms are so beautiful out here at Palm Point. When I took my walk this morning, I noticed the waves are getting bigger. They’re pushing much higher on the beach than they usually do. Mama says I must stay in the lighthouse. She says this is going to be a big storm. She’s afraid of the storms, but I love them! They’re so exciting!"

The journal ended there. A chill ran down Alethea’s spine as she made out the date: 26 May 1912. The day she died.

Suddenly feeling like an intruder, Alethea gently replaced the book in the trunk, just as she had found it. Gently closed the lid of the trunk. Slipped quietly out of the room.

She climbed to the top of the lighthouse and stepped out onto the balcony, holding tight to the rail. The wind whipped tears to her eyes. Just the wind, she thought. I’m not crying. Blinking them back, she turned and descended the stairs again, all the way to the bottom. Grabbing her jacket, she continued out the door and down to the beach.

She walked up and down the beach. She looked to the point, where the waves gently lapped the rocks now. Pictured the raging storm she had seen in her dream. She turned back to face the ocean, sitting on a chunk of driftwood, staring out at the ceaseless waves. She watched the sun sink into the sea, a fiery red ball. Red sky at night, sailor’s delight, she thought. Finally cold, she got up and returned to the lighthouse.

Reaching for the doorknob, she hesitated for a moment, uncertain, hoping for… What? she thought. Hoping for what? Taking a deep breath, she opened the door, stepped into the room…

A figure stood by the stove, turning as Alethea entered, a dimpled smile lighting her face.

“Why, hello!” Stormy said, in pleased surprise. “You came back! How nice to have company again! I was just about to make tea.”

Short Story

About the Creator

Laura DePace

Beaches and mountains, quiet forests and sleepy gardens, stormy nights and sunny days, full moons and starry skies, sunrises and sunsets. Joy, sorrow, love, and life. These call to me, and I wish to tell their stories.

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