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Fractured Lighthouse

by D.J. Rivera 10 months ago in fiction

I take a few steps and see a candle in the window like a lighthouse shining a beacon of hope for a desolate ship at sea.

All I remember is being surrounded by darkness. Then I was thrust back into the light when the feeling of a thousand small serrated blades raged across the skin covering my face like a cold shower after a rough night. My eyes were welcomed with a barrage of wind and snow like arrows descending upon me from a massive enemy force.

I wake up in a cloud of haze with no memory of how I got there at all. There is a gash on my forehead that throbs with agony every breath I take, adding to the misery of coming to in the middle of nowhere during a formidable blizzard.

The wound, no doubt, confirms any suspicion regarding my unconscious state and perilous predicament. The question remains by who or what? Unfortunately, no clues or hints present themselves as to what occurred. I was surrounded in darkness, and given the state of things, there isn’t much time to wait for answers to arise.

What I do know for sure is that it is freezing, and I’ve got to find shelter. There isn’t much to see except an empty void of white. The scattered winds billow across the land like a Banshee's cries, and the entire winter wasteland sounds like a valley of tortured spirits moaning for salvation.

Just when I think to give up and succumb to the heinous conditions, I notice in the distance a flicker of light. I take a few steps and see a candle in the window like a lighthouse shining a beacon of hope for a desolate ship at sea.

Every step is more complicated than the one before it, as the sub-zero temperatures begin to sting every nerve my body has to offer. The blood flowing through my legs and feet begins to chill to an uncomfortable degree, making it even harder to balance over the ice that hides beneath the layers of snow blanketing the ground around me.

Twice I avoid the harsh consequences of a misstep and a slip only to lose balance the third time, forcing my left kneecap to take a pounding from the rock hard ice in order to prevent my head from taking another costly blow. Wet, frozen, and beaten, I lift myself back to my feet and carry on with the candle in the window as my guide.

After a few paces, I notice something else in the window. A dark, lifeless silhouette looms behind the candle. It was less that I could see it with my eyes but deep down sensed an eerie presence watching over me, sending a shock of trepidation to my core, but what other choice did I have? Whether the storm in my current pathetic state or take my chances with a mysterious figure within the safety of four walls and a roof? I cautiously choose the latter and make my way to the door.

A thundering crash is heard coming from within the house; the unmistakable sound of a body falling down a flight of stairs was, without a doubt, the very thing my ears just registered. There is no doubt in my mind that's what it was.

I put my ear to the door, and before I am able to call out to see if anyone is hurt, I hear someone gasp for air. An unpleasant array of coughs and gags associated with vomiting follows with an encore of inaudible sounds, leaving me no choice but to dive head first into the unknown.

As I enter the derelict cabin in the middle of nowhere, there is no light to greet me, only a nasty, stale stench that fills the air. The smell of mildew and rot violently attacks the nostrils, almost as if trying to warn any who enters to turn back before it’s too late.

The little light that does shine in shows a distressed room with withered furniture consumed by mountains of dust and vast civilizations of cobwebs blanketing every corner like clouds in the sky. With one step taken, the door slams shut behind me, leaving me blind in a pitch-black maze of mystery.

A skin-crawling sensation begins to take over like a thousand insects running up and down my arms and legs. I’ve never been a fan of bugs or rodents. The fear of being buried beneath the Earth with a bunch of creatures slowly eating away at my body leaves me in an utter state of disgust and panic. If this is hell, then the devil has definitely done his homework.

Before I can utter a phrase, a faint whisper can be heard in the distance. I can’t make it out, but I know it's coming from a different place every time I listen to it. And each time it makes another raspy noise, it seems to get closer and closer. Frozen in fear, I close my eyes, hoping it passes me by and doesn’t persist in its pursuit.

Then silence envelops the room. Not a sound for miles, it seems, even the howling of the blizzard seems to have ceased. All of a sudden, two feet from my ear, a demonic swine torturing squeal erupts into the walls of my eardrum, shaking my very soul and causing me to fall over onto what feels like a rocking chair that breaks my fall by breaking into pieces.

Before I can get back to my feet, something grabs my arm as if its life depended on it. Without hesitation, I reach out and somehow find a piece of the chair. Just as I strike the unknown assailant, the word "STOP" is yelled before the impact of the blow cuts off the rest of his message. The recoil sends me stumbling backward, tripping over a table of sorts only to fall through the floor into the dark abyss of a basement that lies beneath this sinister shelter.

As I lay on the cold concrete, I see the light from the door opening and the roaring sound of the storm trickle in before the assailant vacates the premises with the door shutting behind him. Just as I thought about resting in the dark, the march of an army of insects and the war cries of a battalion of hungry rats echoed from the shadows. I quickly looked for an exit.

The ground leading to the stairs was moving like ripples across a stream, and the epicenter of the nerve-racking sounds of bugs and mice was standing between me and the way out. Luckily there’s a vintage dumbwaiter in this place. I make the bold decision to scale the shaft to safety, for at the top, I can see the flicker of light from the candle in the window.

The layer of cobwebs and dust increases every inch I rise. Out of nowhere, something begins flapping at the back of my neck. I can’t get it and can barely free a hand to swat it away without falling. Then more and more of these unseen attackers take me by storm. I continue to pull myself up and escape the fleet of bats whose naptime I rudely interrupted.

Out of the darkness, I pull myself into the light and quickly shut the door keeping the winged rats at bay. Maybe I really am dead, and this is my damnation. My thought’s quickly migrated elsewhere as I approach the window with the candle.

As I look out the window, I see someone coming toward the house. At first, I fear it’s the attacker returning to finish the job but also entertain the thought that it could be just another person looking for shelter from the storm.

As the individual gets closer, I make a startling discovery. The person is me. It can’t be. He even slips and falls the same way. Panic rips through me like a shot of adrenaline through the heart. I had to warn myself to stay away. Before leaving, I put out the flame acting as the bait for this detestable and, dare I say, demonic deception.

Recklessly running down the hallway towards the stairs, the unbelievable notion that just I saw myself out the window plagues my thoughts and surprisingly causes my reflection on a wall mirror to shake up my steps enough to warrant a nasty and loud tumble down the stairs knocking the wind right out of me leaving me gasping for air like a man in quicksand. Instead of mud and dirt, cobwebs, dust, and spiders fill my lungs, causing the contents of my stomach to project from my mouth onto the dark floor.

I struggle to find the words to warn my double of the treachery at hand, but my lungs are too busy fighting off foreign invaders, subduing every breath with the sharp pain of suffocation. Loudly I exclaim that he needs to escape, but all that leaves my lips are faint whispers disappearing in the darkness after the door slams shut once again.

Regaining my composure, I save my breath and get as close as possible, trying not to scare my doppelgänger any more than he already must be. The lack of oxygen causes my larynx to let out a defining squeal in a desperate attempt to gain the air my body desperately needs, causing my counterpart to fall and break the chair. Before I could even react, he rose back to his feet to clock me with a piece of the chair, causing him to fall into the basement.

At that point, I decided it was every me for himself, and I was going to break this Hellish cycle once and for all, running out of the house into the frozen wilderness and hopefully to freedom.

I make my way as fast as I can back into the heart of the blizzard, only concerned with never experiencing that haunting ordeal ever again. I look back to see the candle in the window burning bright once again. A cruel trap of despair disguised as a beacon of hope. This time thing will be different. This time I’ll finally break free from the fractured lighthouse’s web of lies.

As I continue to make haste away from the evil, the candle in the window begins to fade in the distance. As I turn back around, the comfort of hope returns along with the memory of how slippery the ice is below the snow, and most important of all, how I was knocked out in the first place as I once again slip into a tree head first thrusting me back into the dark once again.

I wake up in a cloud of haze with no memory of how I got there at all. There is a gash on my forehead that throbs with agony every breath I take, adding to the misery of coming to in the middle of nowhere during a formidable blizzard.

The wound, no doubt, confirms any suspicion regarding my unconscious state and perilous predicament. The question remains by who or what? Unfortunately, no clues or hints present themselves as to what occurred. I was surrounded in darkness, and given the state of things, there isn’t much time to wait for answers to arise.

What I do know for sure is that it is freezing, and I’ve got to find shelter. There isn’t much to see except an empty void of white. The scattered winds billow across the land like a Banshee's cries, and the entire winter wasteland sounds like a valley of tortured spirits moaning for salvation.

Just when I think to give up and succumb to the heinous conditions, I notice in the distance a flicker of light. I take a few steps and see a candle in the window like a lighthouse shining a beacon of hope for a desolate ship at sea.

fiction
D.J. Rivera
D.J. Rivera
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D.J. Rivera

For more stories, articles and great content make sure to check out WrittenByDJR.com and ProducedByDJR.com. Also make sure to check out my work on Vimeo, Amazon Prime, and on Twitter @WritttenByDJR.

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