Chapter 9.12 – Lighthouse

A blazing, golden beam of light breaks through the smoke and flames that greedily engulf the Barimen Estate.
Weak and incapacitated, Adam expends the last of his strength to escape the raging hell-fire surrounding him. He sails through the air in a lazy, ballistic trajectory. And he lands with an audible thud somewhere on the beach below the bluff.
Kacey had never really become comfortable using her innate abilities. It could be that in some way, the multiple instances of trauma she’d experienced as a result of her uniqueness has subconsciously suppressed them. She runs on foot down the bluff, and toward the beach where she begins to frantically search for some sign of Adam.
The new moon provides an inky darkness, through which only the eerie light provided by the burning estate seems to penetrate. A weak cough in the distance captures her attention. She focuses her eyes in the murky, smoke-filled air, and carefully scours the area. She finds him laying in a rough patch of singed beach grass. She immediately attends to Adam, gently hushing his incoherent mumbling; and squelching her urgent panic response. His condition is dire.
She has nothing to dress Adam’s burns, which require tending. Any thought of taking him  to the hospital is out of the question. She remembers her own captivity at the hospital while recovering from her own near-fatal wounds. By that time, a young and ambitious Jon Buford had already figured out her “gifts”. It was Buford who had her placed under constant surveillance under David’s nose. It has taken her decades to realize it, but Adam had saved her life the day she finally regained consciousness. The baritone choir that always accompanies his presence instructed her to flee Buford (see Chapter 3.?? – Voices).
Adam’s was the lone voice she had heard when she was contemplating suicide after David’s funeral (Chapter 4.12). And he had also helped a teen-aged Faith to clear the mountain of earth which had entombed her beneath Sunset Valley (Chapter 5.19). He has been the only constant relationship in her life. And as bizarre as it may seem, she’s really never actually met him.
Moving Adam, given his condition, seems counterproductive. But she heeds her intuition and it’s urgent warning to find cover away from the beach, and away from the estate. Reid had alluded to Hendrake’s return. After what she’d witnessed, she’s not sure how that’s even possible. But one thing is certain; something is going to happen here. And whatever it is, it isn’t going to be good.
Adam quakes from the pain of the burns that cover the majority of his body. He will heal. But it will not be easy. Kacey struggles under the encumbrance of Adam’s dead-weight  and only manages to get him onto his feet before the hair on the nape of her neck stands on end. She had hoped there would be more time…
Before she can complete the thought, a young man stumbles from out of the underbrush, then stands unsteadily before her. He bears some resemblance to Adam, but there is a toxic aspect of hatred hemorrhaging from his soulless, green eyes. He steadies himself in an effort to play off an almost drunken state. His hesitant laugh is enough to cause Kacey some uneasiness.
She had retrieved the weapon Reid used to slay the demonic beast. But with Adam’s full weight leaning against her, coupled with his sudden agitation, Kacey finds it nearly impossible to react. Then, in what must have been a colossal effort of self-discipline, Adam spits out a single, garbled word – Noah.
Noah frowns. Then through gritting teeth, he impatiently questions his brother as to why he insists on using the deprecated name. The name is Caine, and he promises to personally witness his brother speaking it using his last, dying breath. Another explosion inside the estate (this one being the largest yet) shakes the ground beneath their feet and deadens their eardrums for a moment. That was no simple fuel canister.
Debris from the blast plucks at the sand all around them. Distracted for a brief instant, Noah looks away to admire his handiwork. It is all the time Kacey needs. Adam crumbles to the beach immediately as she removes her support. She reaches nimbly backward and hefts the ancient weapon. The blade is still crusted with black gore.
Noah turns to see the evidence of his associate’s demise. He growls, pausing for a long time to think, then calls out the name Hendrake into the troubled air. He calls the name again, after there is no response – HENDRAKE! Noah’s murderous eyes narrow, and then he wisely takes a step backward. He curses under his breath while retreating quietly into a nearby shadow, then vanishes without a trace. Kacey breathes a very sobering, albeit anxious sigh.
She hobbles with Adam for a brief distance down the beach until she finds the object she had been looking for. Kacey had wanted to find a small boat that could be used to transport them to the relative safety of the lighthouse (a place where she had fled many times in the past). She has yet to fully comprehend exactly how her abilities work. Whether the boat had been here all along, she is unsure. Perhaps she created it herself out of sheer willpower, or summoned it here from another place and time. It could be any of these, or none of them. But what matters most, is that Adam be taken to safety.
Jopin is a rugged old-timer  hired to maintain the aging lighthouse and preserve it as a landmark. He had been watching the blaze from afar when he spotted Kacey in her boat. The weathered, old salt waited for Kacey at the shore of the small island where the lighthouse stands. Having felt no immediate apprehension about him, Kacey trusted her instincts and allowed him to help.
Surprisingly spry for his advanced age, Jopin had easily lifted Adam from the bottom of the boat and carried him up a long flight of stairs to the living quarters. He cursed a few foul oaths worthy of a sailor, when he saw Adam’s burns. Still, he did not hesitate in tending to them. Kacey wondered whether allowing Jopin to wrap a foul-smelling seaweed around Adam’s burns was a good idea. But it seemed to immediately sooth Adam’s quaking, and so she said nothing.
Afterwards, Kacey stands with Jopin on the lighthouse’s terrace, where they silently ponder the Barimen Estate’s destruction. If there was ever a time where the words “the silence was deafening” applied to a situation, that situation would be now. Eventually, Jopin’s harsh, gravelly voice marks the last of the flames dying out of view from their lighthouse perch. He points out that she and “her boy” won’t be able to stay here much longer. Kacey levels a measuring gaze toward the worn, old goat of a man. She knows, somehow, that Jopin is not referring to just the lighthouse.
Kacey squints suspiciously toward the old-timer when he speaks again. He recons that it would be best for her to go now and be back before morning, if she’s intent on finding whatever it is she’s yearning. Kacey again searches the man’s deep eyes, which give away nothing. He’s right, of course. When she first arrived, Kacey had sensed something very familiar near the estate. It was something that hadn’t been there before; something she had lost a long time ago. There’d really been no time to think about it or to investigate. But now she wonders what it might have been.
Kacey’s whisper is barely audible, and it’s tone conveys her anxious uncertainty when she asks Jopin how bad it’s going to get. Jopin breathes in a tired breath, then exhales very slowly. He regards her with ancient eyes that communicate more of a warning than a suggestion. He nods in the direction of the ruined estate, and mumbles thoughtfully.
As I said, you’ll want to be back before morning...

2 thoughts on “Chapter 9.12 – Lighthouse

  1. I started to read this wonderful book a couple months ago. I have to say you are an amazing writer. Never before have I felt the feeling of dread happiness sadness and love. I hope someday you can write and publish real books because this one is truly amazing.


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