In honor of National Lighthouse Day today I decided to just do a quick little brainstorm for the opening to a short story using a lighthouse as a prompt! It features a character that will likely appear in future writings, though this doesn’t really get into him at all. Here is what I came up with…
As he ran, Addison Faulkner squeezed the life preserver to his chest like a snake constricting its prey and jumped overboard. He could feel the heat from the fire behind him even as he plummeted towards the cold ocean. He closed his eyes and braced himself for impact. When it came, it struck as a turbulent roar and the image of the lightning striking their ship flashed before his eyes again. Addison surfaced and swam away as fast as he could until finally he looked back towards the smoldering ship. He could see small ant-like people jumping off as he had.
Suddenly, he heard the rumbling of more thunder and silently wondered if he might be safer back on the ship. He started to swim back toward the wreckage, hoping to find some sort of raft to rest on when he realized that the rumbling wasn’t thunder. As if on cue, the remainder of the ship exploded into a maelstrom of flame.
Addison released his life vest and ducked under the water as a hail of heat and sparks spewed outward. He held his breath as long as he could and finally resurfaced. The scene had changed dramatically. Addison’s heart dropped as it flashed back to the horrors he had seen during his six month tour in Afghanistan. Flaming debris floated everywhere and the sea boiled where the ship used to be. An arm floated by and then dipped backwards into the depths, fingers outstretched, longing to touch the air.
Several minutes must have passed, but Addison couldn’t recall any of them. He wiped vomit from his lips and washed his mouth with salt water, the lesser of two evils. After pulling himself up onto a nearby piece of wreckage that still floated he screamed to into the air, hoping for survivors. As he listened for any response, his hope dwindled. There was no way anyone could hear him though the wind and rain—at least that’s what he told himself. It was more likely that his shouts fell on dead ears.
Addison lay on his rubble raft and waited for the storm to ease. After what could have been hours it finally did. He propped himself and looked around. He could no longer see where the main wreckage occurred, though it had probably sunk completely by now. A few pieces of debris floated here or there, but still no people. He looked to the horizon, but it was still too dark to see any sort of land. He was lost and alone. Just as he considered sleeping, he saw it. Far on the horizon a speck of light appeared.
Then it was gone.
It blipped again and disappeared, like an EKG after successful resuscitation.
Then again. And again.
Addison overflowed with hope. It was a lighthouse.