Originally posted 2015-11-06 17:00:44.
He had seen the light from some way off and started walking towards it. It took him through the woods, along the beach and up a cobblestone path to a small cottage that stood overlooking the sea. An old man was standing in front of the cottage, looking through the front window. He jumped when Jonny approached.
“You scared me son,” he said, giving Jonny a quick look. “Don’t want to be doing that to an old man. Not here anyway. This place doesn’t give me the creeps.”
“Yes,” said Jonny, “The light…”
“Aye the light. I know. It’s a mystery. Comes on most nights but the house has been empty for years.”
“I know you’re going to say it’s some sort of automatic light, a security device, that kind of thing. But no son, can’t be that, no electricity here. It’s something else.”
“What?” asked Jonny, looking at the man. The man didn’t answer. Instead he walked over to the door and gave it a hard push.
“Locked,” he said, “No one knows who the owner is. The old woman who had it has been dead twenty odd years now. But someone owns it. It’s private property. Signs go up now and again but the kids knock them down.”
He walked back to Jonny. “Tradition has it the woman who lived here had a son. He went missing out at sea. Went fishing and never came back. Every night she used to light a candle for him, hoping to guide him home. Crazy stuff. And then she died but the light … well you get what I’m saying. Strange things go on here. Strange things indeed.”
He sighed. “Listen to me rabbiting on. Talk about crazy. The wife thinks I’m getting senile. I’d better be off now. Too much cold air’s not good for these bones.”
With a wave he walked off into the darkness. Once he’d disappeared Jonny looked back at the window. There was definitely a light coming from inside the house. He walked over to the door and gave it a push. It opened soundlessly. He hesitated just a second and then entered the house. It was just as he remembered. Nothing had changed. She must have told them to keep it the same. Even on her deathbed she’d have been full of orders and demands. That was her way. Command and conquer.
He walked into the living room. A candle was burning on the windowsill. Except not really. It was just a faint outline of where a candle would have been, years ago. But the glow was real.
“I’m sorry,” he called out to the empty room. “I shouldn’t have left you. I shouldn’t have run away.”
Silence, but the glow seemed to deepen. She was waiting. Again he hesitated for a moment then he spoke.
“I’m home and I’ll stay.”
It was all he could do now. It was all he had left. The light surged upwards in response and he thought he detected a faint hint of her perfume. Then the light disappeared and the scent faded. He was alone in the dark, just like he’d always been.