Redemption (Part IV)

Without hesitating Josiah began to circle around the base of the lighthouse. He felt a calming relief on account of the dense cover that the rain afforded him, being unsure of where he was, or even when he was, and entirely unable to guess who might be watching. It was an unusually warm rain, and although he was getting soaked, Josiah appreciated how clean it made him feel. Although he hadn’t thought about it at the time, Josiah now realized that he had been drenched in sweat when he woke up and found himself still restrained in that dark room. A few moments later, he turned onto the path winding up to the door, now washed-out by the constant downpour, and he splashed mud and rain up onto his pants legs. When he reached the bottom of the steps, Josiah leaped up them in one bound.

Looking up, he saw that the red, wooden door was already opened, and had been for some time, judging from the amount of rainwater that had accumulated on the gray concrete floor. A golden key projected from the keyhole, obviously left behind in careless haste. Josiah stepped inside out of the warm rain into an even warmer, yellow light that splashed off of the walls and bounced down from above, reflecting off of the polished metal steps. A column of radiance dripped down through the hollow well girdled by the spiraling staircase. It wasn’t so much the intensity or color of the light that made an impression on Josiah, and neither was it the exceptional warmth. It was somehow denser and heavier than light, in substance more like water than that rarefied glow of photons, but even thicker: it was ever so much like honey.

Josiah started up the steps, wading through the dewy incandescence. The inside of the lighthouse tower spun before his eyes as his feet clanked steadily against the steps. The sense of urgency that had been driving him just a few moments before now seemed distant and obscure, as if clouded over by rain and fog, and the higher Josiah got up the steps, the more he began to feel utterly content in where he was. The light was growing brighter and warmer and thicker. When he was just a few steps from the top of the staircase, both of his feet landed firmly on the same step, and the sound of footsteps echoed off of the gray walls until it finally dissolved in silence. The lighthouse beacon was no longer revolving, but pointed straight through the doorway leading into the tower.

A carefree smile spread across Josiah’s face as he closed his eyes and basked in the warmth as if he were out tanning by the beach on a hot summer day. Then, just as clouds float in front of the sun and veil it for a while, so too the light dimmed, and with it the warmth fled. Josiah opened his eyes to see a spidery figure standing in the door frame, and as his eyes adjusted to the sudden darkness, he was able to discern an icy grin on the man’s face. His left hand held the familiar electronic device, not much bigger than his palm, down at his side, while his right hand was pointing a gun straight at Josiah. “Don’t feel so bad. There wasn’t really any way that you could have kept from giving in” the man said reassuringly. Josiah lowered his head and glanced down at his feet. Although what happened next may seem foolish to the reader, one must realize that to Josiah, there never was another option. The path lay clearly before him. Even when questioned about it years later, Josiah still described his actions as the only reasonable thing to do. What happened was this:

Without any warning, Josiah leaped up the remaining few stairs and threw himself into the wirey man with all of his strength, who collapsed from the impact, and the two fell onto the tower floor. Josiah wrenched the gun out of his hand and sent it clanging down the metal steps. Now recoiling from the unanticipated shock of being pounced upon and knocked to the floor, the thin man was beginning to fight back. That so much strength resided in such a small frame was surprising to Josiah, and it was all he could do to keep his arms pinned to the ground. After several minutes of struggling, Josiah was beginning to be worn out from restraining the man and was now only clumsily dodging the sharp and violent flailing of his legs. Knowing that he could not hold him down much longer, Josiah quickly lowered his face to the spidery man’s left arm and sank his teeth deep into his skin. The man let out an awful shriek as he relaxed his hand, instinctively retracting it toward his face. Taking advantage of the few seconds he had gained, Josiah snatched the reader up off of the floor and lunged back through the doorway.

The room whirled around him as Josiah bounded down the stairs. A few seconds later, he heard frantic footsteps in pursuit. As his heart raced frantically against the pace of his steps, Josiah reminded himself how much would be at stake in just the next few moments. Flying down the steps, the red, wooden door once again came into sight. The water was now so high that it was spilling out over the threshold. Rainwater splattered the wall as Josiah’s left foot landed in the puddle on the concrete floor. Springing seamlessly through the door-frame, Josiah pulled the door closed behind him. Leaning back with all of his might, Josiah hastily turned the key, still dangling in the lock. The bolt reluctantly slid into place. Not a moment later, the pain-wracked face of the spidery man smashed up against the small window set near the top of the door. The door shook violently as he tried to get out, and Josiah jumped back in fear. The wicked face then disappeared and the rattling halted.

Josiah let out a sight of relief as he glanced down at the reader in his hand. It was really there. Then, startled by the renewed jolting behind him, Josiah realized that the small wooden door wouldn’t hold much longer, not against a man of such hidden strength. Leaping down the steps, he sprinted north through the warm rain. Although no one could have seen him from but a few feet away, Josiah sped on through the starless night. The sand gave way beneath his feet, while the warm rain washed away the sweat and blood from his face.

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9 Responses to Redemption (Part IV)

  1. Carol says:

    Is this the end? Or will there be more??

  2. Ann says:

    What was the “reader?” How did it end up in the Elmo to begin with? Does the spidery man ever get out of the lighthouse? What will Josiah do with the reader? Is this really the end? I have lots of other questions, as well.

  3. Matt says:

    Theoretically it’s the end…but who knows… Nice job James. I particularly like the description of the light inside the lighthouse. As James mentioned in an earlier post, given the popularity of our current story (and how much fun we had writing it), we are likely to do more of this. I don’t know whether we’ll continue this story or begin another. Obviously James left this open.

  4. Matt says:

    Somehow I missed mom’s comment when I made mine. Many of those questions are still unknown (or at least up to interpretation). However, the reader was needed in order to read the data out of the cube.

  5. covingtonfamily says:

    I guess I was thinking that the reader and the cube were one and the same. I am just wondering more about this device. I knew that these questions had not been answered, I was just listing many of the questions that I stil have that are unanswered.

  6. Shirley says:

    Very well written. Like Ann, I have a lot of questions that are unanswered. I look forward to reading more, if you deside to continue.

  7. James says:

    Matt and I both thoroughly enjoyed this fiction project, and I feel confident that we will do something like this again. Whether we continue this story or not, I don’t know. If we decide to do so, it probably won’t be for several months. We are trying to cook up some exciting and entertaining ideas for the future, though.

  8. nopockets says:

    I actually kind of like the non-ending ending. I guess I’m just okay with coming up with my own end and explanation to things. In some strange way, I like things that don’t have closure, though I am not sure why.

  9. Susan Seaman says:

    I’m not like Katie! I like a neatly wrapped up ending. And preferably a happy one. I especially hate to be watching a TV show and have it say “to be continued.”

    Both of you have very good style, though, and I enjoyed reading the story!

    I think it would be interesting if you could include Katie and Lisa to contribute a section next time.

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