THE SECRETS OF BLACK DEAN LIGHTHOUSE
by JACK DEY
A haunting mystery with a sting in its tail.
Katie stood transfixed on the beach. Her hands shook slightly and her stomach tightly knotted. Her dark hair whipped around her face and stung her eyes, driven mercilessly by the approaching storm. This was the first time in years she had returned to Contention Island since… she pulled in a shuddery breath at the memory, hung her head in her hands and collapsed to the beach sand. The tears began all too easily again. The familiar ache returned as if it was just yesterday, let alone twenty years ago. Maybe it hadn’t been long enough.
Curled in the cold sand and with her face buried in her hands, she thought she had overcome the demons lurking in her past and was ready to make sense of the circumstances that had so drastically altered her life. Sobbing, she castigated herself for being so stupid. Obviously she was wrong and this wasn’t such a good idea after all. She raised herself to her knees, her tear stained eyes searching the blackness of the sea behind the breakers. Searching, always searching, just like in her nightmares.
A blinding flash lit up the dark winter night closely followed by a deep, opulent rumble. The intensity hit her in the chest, making her scream in fear and cover her ears against the tumultuous cacophony.
She had come a long way in her recovery just to be standing in this place, the place that had haunted her sleep and stolen so much of her youth. Over the years, the relentless nightmares and cowering fear had faded, giving her a reckless sense of strength, but tonight, she was living her past again. She imagined she was strong enough now and if she confronted her tormentor, things would change. Things would become normal. Whatever normal was. But standing here on Contention Island, it was all too clear she had overestimated her strength and wasn’t ready to take such a drastic step. She still had a long way to go to reclaim her life.
It had been a night exactly like this, dark and imposing, raging at the foot of an unnatural storm. The rain began with such tenacity, it chilled her to her core and she began to shiver. Raising herself to her feet, she kept searching the sky beyond the breakers, her arms crossed over her chest against the teeming rain and wind driven chill. Then she saw it, not once but several times. The walls of fear, undermined and partially dismantled by many years of absence from Contention Island, began to build its foreboding prison about her again. Katie grappled with the nightmare scene, clutching at her hair in desperation. Her mind refused to believe what she had just seen. It was still here, waiting for her to return. To trap her again. Her knees buckled under her and she collapsed to the sand, her mind shutting down under the immense shock.
From a place outside of her line of sight and buried in the night, another pair of eyes watched her motionless form with a cat-like stare. Stalking through the sand and leaning into the wind and rain, the figure stooped over the place she had fallen. Searching deliberately around the scene for prying eyes, he cautiously scooped the unconscious figure into his arms and effortlessly disappeared into the shadowy night without a trace, carrying his prey.
The sudden movement brought Katie around momentarily. She focused onto the black, cat-like eyes of her captor and screamed, but nothing came out. It was all happening again, as if history were repeating itself. She had been a fool, lured back into her past by the same events that had trapped her in her youth, seduced by the idea of gaining control over her nemesis and finally breaking free of his power. Her strength stolen – trying to stop the circle of events – her body went limp and she blacked out again.
A scream broke into his deep subconscious and activated his fight or flight sense. He sat bolt upright in his bed, ready to deal with any intruder. It took only a moment to realise where he was and what was transpiring. The dark room, only illuminated by the red digital numbers of the clock radio, was light enough to see the pained face of his wife battling in a nightmare.
“Becky, wake up!” he gently shook her awake.
The bedside lamp erupted, dividing the formidable darkness, paining their eyes and driving the world of fear back into the shadows. The confused look on Becky’s face, her brow moist from the battle, was an all too familiar indicator of the depth of her enchantment. Recognising the familiar world around her, she spoke, exhausted and in a low, perplexed voice. “What happened?”
“It was Katie again, wasn’t it?” the concerned voice of her husband, Brett, enquired as he pulled her into his arms.
“She was back on Contention Island,” the worried frown deeply furrowed on Becky’s face, her voice muffled in her husband’s shoulder. Becky hadn’t dreamt of Katie for years and now, for some reason, Katie was troubling her subconscious again.
Katie had been a regular visitor into the young couple’s lives at first. Unknown to Brett, Becky had been plagued by nightmares of Katie throughout her life. Once they were married, Katie’s invasion of Becky’s subconscious lessened, but was regular enough for Brett to form a picture of Katie and her troubled adventures through Becky’s commentary of the nightmares she suffered. Becky had no idea how she came to dream of Katie. She had never met a girl named Katie in real life, let alone become friends with one. Katie’s arrival back on Contention Island was not a welcome revelation. Brett now knew enough of the nightmares to surmise Katie’s anguish was set to get deeper and Becky would suffer as a result.
He had to get to the bottom of these nightmares, and find out who Katie was and why Katie affected Becky’s dreams so profoundly.
Adventure. Danger. Intrigue. Love. Courage. Redemption. Come on the journey but be warned, there is no turning back and the consequences will leave your head spinning. A haunting mystery with a sting in its tail.
Released 27 November 2014
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