The Nubble

“I don’t know, Elsie,” I heard myself say to the only other being in the room.  “It looks like nasty out there.”

Elsie looked from me to the front door, as if to say, “Yes, I know, but we have to go out there.”

I grabbed a nearby lantern and a rope as I unconsciously braced and swung the door open. I struggled to shut the door behind me. It was worse than we thought: the rain, a horizontal onslaught, tore at our bodies, pushing us like puppets against our progress toward the sea. Adrenaline rescued our muscles, steeled our resolve, and heightened our senses–we both knew something was wrong. I turned off the lantern, its light bouncing uselessly against the wall of water. We listened, but I only heard the wind battering the trees and the rain pounding the earth.

Elsie raised her nose against the air, trying to inhale her way to that which we knew, but could not identify, much less locate. She looked at me and seemed to shake her head.

And then we realized: the light had not moved. It was not sweeping and circling. The light had halted in one bright place, its pie shaped beam stagnant, swathing the rest of its path in a dangerous murky gloom. How long had it been this way?