101 Paranormal Writing Prompts book written by J. Dodson
Writing Prompt # 7- The Lighthouse
Stanly walks around the house, checking the darkest corners to see if he can see either the cat or the ghost of the old lighthouse keeper. Indy sits on the couch, watching him go on his ghost hunt while telling her everything that he knows about the house, the ghost, and the past of the lighthouse. Her parents are still not home yet and as soon as Stanly got to her house, the clouds began to darken and race across the sky, threatening to storm.
Annibel comes out of her room and sits with her big sister, watching Stanly. “I’m bored! Can we play a game now?”
“In a minute, Annibel. Stanly is telling me about the history of our place while trying to find the ghost that lives here,” Indy tells her.
“Oh, yea the ghost that ratted me out,” Annibel grumbles, leaning back against the couch and crossing her arms over her chest.
Stanly looks back at Annibel, raising an eyebrow, “Did you see the ghost, too?”
“No, we were playing hide-and-go-seek and he told Indy where to find me,” Annibel complains, wrinkling her nose.
Stanly looks at Indy who just shakes her head and rolls her eyes. “He didn’t tell me with words. He only showed me where to go. Him and the gray tabby I told you about,” she tells him.
“That gray tabby is his cat but she can’t be alive. The lighthouse keeper’s death happened 30 years ago and that cat can’t be alive for that long. They live to only be 16 years old tops.” Stanly jumps slightly when the sky rumbles close. “Shoot the storm is almost here, I better get back home before it gets worse,” Stanly says after the sky quieted down.
Indy stands up then jumps when her cell phone rings on the coffee table, placing her hand over her heart and laughing. Her dad’s picture pops up on the screen, telling her that he is the one calling and the one nearly giving her a heart attack. “Jeez, it’s my dad. Wonder what he needs.” She answers her phone, looking down at Annibel. “Hey, dad! Are you and mom on your way home now?”
“Sorry Hunny, but we are stuck in town. It is raining too hard for us to drive home so we have to stay here longer,” he tells her. “But I need your help, Indy. Remember when I showed you how to work the light at the top of the lighthouse?”
“Yea sure, dad,” Indy says, looking over towards the hallway.
“You need to turn it on for the ships right now, Hunny. This storm is going to be quite the doozy,” her dad says in a rushed voice.
“Dad, no one says doozy anymore,” she laughs. “And don’t worry, I’ve got this. You can count on me to get that lighted right after I get off the phone with you.” She says a quick bye and tells them to be careful, hanging up her phone. She looks over at her little sister, “You have to stay here. Dad needs me to start up the lighthouse.”
“Why can’t I come, too?” Annibel whines, throwing her arms down hard on the couch beside her legs.
“Dad says that you are too young to be up there,” Indy argues while she heads off down the hallway. “Stanly, dad says that the storm has already hit the town and it is really bad. You better stay here until it passes.”
Stanly and Annibel rush over to the front door and opens it just as lightning slices through the clouds and lighting up the surrounding sky. Rain slams down on the ground, causing a mist to spread across the ground which makes it very eery outside as well as very limited visibility. They glance at each other as Stanly shuts and locks the front door, closing out the cold wet storm.
“Yea, I better stay here but I need to call my mom to let her know so that she doesn’t freak out,” Stanly remarks, already pulling out his phone from his back pocket. “Then I will come with you, Indy. I really want to check out up there in the lighthouse and see how everything works. It has always been a dream of mine to go up there since we moved here when I was about 5 years old.”
“Sure but Annibel…”
“She can come, too. I will hold her hand and keep her safe,” Stanly says while he waits for his mom to answer. “Your dad doesn’t need to know that she had one little trip up to the top with us.”
Annibel squeals excitedly as she looks from Stanly, her new hero, to her big sister, the one who still has the last say. Indy stops walking and turns, glaring at Stanly for putting her in such a position but he has already walked away talking to his mom. She looks back at Annibel’s hopeful face, not sure if she should tell her sister no or take her with them. But before she can answer, the lights flicker as if to tell her to hurry up.
Annibel looks around her, sucking in her breath, as fear begins to etch over her face. One thing that freaks her out is storms and the power going out since she had a bad experience with that when she was a baby. Outside, they hear the desperate calls of a ship coming into port without any aide. Stanly quickly hangs up with his mom, telling her that he will call her later even though the sisters could clearly heart his mom still asking questions about where he is staying.
“Okay Annibel, you are coming but you have to stay close to me and Stanly, okay?” Indy tells her younger sister as they rush for the door leading up into the lighthouse. She plucks the key from the hook, quickly unlocking the door and pulling it open.
As soon as the door opens, the gray tabby rushes past the teenagers and 8-year-old kid and disappears up the dark stairs, her tail swishing back and forth to tell them to hurry. Indy flips on the lights and hurries up the stairs after the cat, followed closely by Annibel. Stanly stands dumbfounded for a minute before the sound of pounding feet pulls him free of his trance. He rushes up and joins them on the first landing where Indy is handing Annibel a flashlight. She hands one to him as well, shuts the doors, and begins to race up the stairs again as another horn from the distressed ship blares a bit closer than before.
Thunder slams the sky while the rain seems to be pelting the lighthouse even harder and faster as if it wished to break through and drown everyone inside. Lightning blinds the group through the small windows that run up along the lighthouse but it doesn’t stop them from hurrying.
Below her, she can hear her sister’s feet begin to slow. “Indy, I can’t keep up,” Annibel gasps, stopping and bending over to catch her breath.
“Stanly, stay with her!” Indy calls back, going up and around above them.
Stanly stops beside Annibel, wheezing and gasping for air himself, waving at Indy to say okay but she doesn’t see as she is already up and around the corner out of sight. He leans against the wall looking at Annibel when an older gentleman in yellow rain gear rushes past them, a slight breeze hitting them as he passes, and the gray tabby rushes up behind his rain boots. Stanly nearly chokes on his breath when he sees the old lighthouse keeper, his eyes growing as big as saucers. Annibel squeaks in fear and hugs Stanly close as she watches the ghost and cat rush past.
Stanly squeezes Annibel’s shoulder, “He isn’t here to hurt us only to help. Can you run again?”
She looks up at him and nods, still spooked by seeing the ghost but wanting to get to the top with her sister. She lets go of Stanly and begins to run up the stairs again following the ghost up the stairs. Stanly brings up the rear, nearly jumping out of his skin when the thunder pounds the sky directly above them, telling him that they are now directly in the store. The two finally reach the top but Indy is nowhere to be seen. The door that leads outside swing open and closed in the wind at the top of a ladder off to the left of the stairs.
“Indy?” Annibel screams, fear returning.
“Indy, where are you?” Stanly yells as rain filters inside through the flapping door.
They hear a scream for help over the howling wind and rain coming from outside the door. Annibel lets out a whimper as she grabs Stanly’s arm, tugging on it as she stares up at the door.
“Annibel, you stay in here where you will be safe,” Stanly directs her. “I will go out and get your sister.” He untangles himself from the kid’s grasp and climbs the ladder to head outside.
He carefully climbs out onto the platform that goes around the lamp part of the lighthouse that is used to clean the large glass pieces. He grabs onto the railing as the wind shoves him around, trying to push him off and to his death.
“Indy?!?” Stanly yells at the top of his lungs to be heard through the storm. “Indy, where are you?”
“Stanly,” a voice calls, barely being heard in the crazy weather.
He looks around but doesn’t see Indy anywhere on the platform which could mean only one thing. His grip on the railing tightens more until his cold hands are white, “Indy?”
“Stanly, over here,” a male voice says in his left ear.
Stanly turns to his left quickly, his tennis shoes slipping on the wet metal. He holds on tight to the railing as he steadies himself and looks to see the old lighthouse keeper waving for him to follow. Stanly makes his way over to where the old man stands and looks down to see Indy dangling over the side, clinging for dear life. He can tell that she is growing tired and if he didn’t help her right away, she would plummet to her death.
“Indy, give me your hand,” he shouts to her as he reaches down over the railing for her hand.
Indy looks up at him and reaches up, grabbing his hand with her cold slippery hand. His hand grasps hers tightly but he knew that he will need help pull her to safety since they are both wet and that makes their hands very slippery; he can already feel her fingers beginning to slide away from his. As if reading his mind, the ghost pulls energy from the storm and grabs onto Indy, leaning out over the railing to grab the back of her shirt.
“Pull!” Stanly shouts, pulling on her hand while the ghost pulls up hard on her shirt.
Soon Indy is laying on the wet platform, gasping for air, shivering from the cold rain and terror of nearly losing her life. She looks at Stanly sitting and gasping for air and then up at the ghost who has his hands in his pockets, staring down at them. She smiles at them grateful for the two for saving her life. The blind ship cries out for help again from the dark lighthouse, the sounds closer than before.
“We need to get the light on,” Stanly says as he helps her stand on her shaky legs.
The ghost leads them back inside where Annibel is sitting on the ground and playing with the gray tabby, thankfully being distracted for the time being. Stanly helps Indy find a seat and looks for a blanket to wrap around her to warm her cold wet bones.
“Stanly,” she shivers. “Get t-t-the l-l-l-light on.”
The old lighthouse keeper waves Stanly over to help him, unable to do anymore since he had used up all of his energy with saving Indy. He flickers a little as he begins to face but does his best to stay there with them so he can help Stanly. He points here and there, making motions to pull this or twist that, and in a few seconds, the lighthouse springs to life, the light skipping out over the ocean and through the rain. The ship honks twice in appreciation and changes its course so that they don’t hit the small rocks protruding just a bit above the rocky waves. Finished with his task, the ghost disappears in order to rest after having to use so much energy in order to stay with them.
“Let’s get you back downstairs and into some dry clothes with a fire going in the fireplace,” Stanly tells Indy as the teen stands with his help, still shivering uncontrollably.
An hour and a half later, both Stanly and Indy are dry, sipping on some hot chocolate while Annibel plays with the tabby in front of the roaring fire. Stanly is wearing Charles’ clothes even though the clothes are very big on him. Outside the storm slowly passes into a quiet whisper. Charles and Tanya park beside a stranger’s car an hour later and rushes inside to see what is going on and to see who is in their house without their knowledge. The light soars proudly overhead, steering the ships away from danger in the dark cloudy day.
“Indy? Annibel?” Tanya says as she heads inside with Charles at her heels still eyeing the other car.
“Mom, dad!” Annibel excitedly squeals as she jumps off of the ground and races to hug her parents.
“Who is here with you two?” Charles demands. He then sees a teen boy sitting on the couch beside Indy wearing some of his clothes, practically swimming in them.
“Mom, Dad, this is Stanly, a friend of mine from school. I invited him over after I saw the ghost of the first lighthouse keeper.” She holds up her hand before they could scold her. “Then the storm hit and he had to stay here with is since you told me that it was really bad to drive in it. And I am glad that he did because when I went up to the lighthouse to get the light on, the lens was very foggy because of the weather changing so quickly, so I had to clean it. While I was out there, the wind started to pick up and the metal was slippery under my shoes. I didn’t have the chance to change shoes because here was a ship already coming. Anyway, I slipped and fell, sliding off of the edge. I was able to grab on and held onto the railing until Stanly and the ghost got up there. They pulled me back on the platform and then back inside where they could get me warm again. Stanly got the light started with the help of the ghost.” She looks thoughtful for a second and looks towards the hallway. “What is your name by the way?”
Stanly looks over as well, “I would love to know that as well. No one knew your name nor could they find your wallet with and ID after that night. They only had rumors of your name since you liked to keep to yourself.”
Charles, Tanya, and Annibel all look towards the hallway, Annibel the only one with a smile on her race since she has met the ghost and is no longer afraid. Both parents jump when they see the old lighthouse keeper towering into the hallway.
“Jud,” the ghost whispers. He points at the cat, “Tigress.”
Annibel goes back to playing with Tigress, “Is she a ghost too, Jud?”
Jud nods his head slowly while Tigress lets Annibel’s hand melt through her ghost body. Annibel tries to bet her again and Tigress allows her to do so, purring with each scratch from the girl.
Annibel grins, ‘Cool, we have a ghost cat.” She keeps scratching behind Tigress’s ear.
Charles stares at Jud for a moment before he clears his throat to catch the ghost’s attention, “Will you stay here with us, Jud? You and Tigress?”
“I ain’t going nowhere and no Tigress won’t either,” Jud tells him.
Charles swallows a bit and looks at Tanya, “Well, I guess we will just have to get used to another haunted place.”
Tanya shrugs, nodding her head, “At least Jud and Tigress are nice. I think we can deal with these two adding to our little family if Jud and Tigress would like to be a part of our family now.” She looks at Jud who nods his head. She smiles and looks at her kids and Stanly, “Remind me to tell you about the ghost that lives at grandma and grandpa’s house.”
The kids all perk up at the mention of a story about another ghost that lives in the house they love to visit in the summer. Tanya chuckles and goes to sit on the couch with Stanly and Tanya while Charles closes the front door, blocking out the cold wind and goes to sit in his favorite rocking chair to listen to the story. Annibel plays with Tigress while Jud leans against the wall and Indy and Stanly finish their hot chocolates.
“Well, I first saw the ghost when I was 4-years-old,” Tanya begins as the weather outside begins to calm down more.