BEWARE! DARK SEAS: The Lightkeeper’s Daughter by Danielle Mckinney
Welcome to Beware! Dark Seas Halloween showcase, an annual author & artist showcase that features talented creators. Come back each day, the entire month of October for a scare! Prepare for dark stories, myths & legends, and creepy creations that will make the hair on the nape of your neck stand up straight. May the water have mercy on your soul.
The Lightkeeper’s daughter
BY danielle mckinney
The rope hung from the bough of the lighthouse ceiling; it was the end of her. The end of her love came too quickly, and she could not grasp a future without her. The storm was brewing outside; lightning cracked the sky amongst the lighthouse spotlight. The light was supposed to guide those to safety but on the day her love died it did not. The angels in Heaven and the devils in Hell would no longer separate her from her love, her beloved Katherine. They had come so far that death would not stop their love. The girls loved each other more than love itself; even though her kinsmen never agreed nothing would separate her from her lover.
Not even death itself could stop her; she stepped on the chair taking the rope in her hands. The coarse rope scratched her soft hands as she placed the rope around her neck. A crack of lightning and thunder boomed the lighthouse almost sending her toppling off the chair to hang. No, she didn’t want it to be an accident her death; she wanted the control over her life and death.
“Stop!” a voice thundered in the lighthouse. The chair kicked over, and she fell into the darkness. She didn’t suffer as the fall had instantly snapped her neck. The last sight she saw was her lover Katherine, drenched from the storm, running to the sight of the hanged girl.
The jeep pulled into the rocky driveway. Diana climbed out of the jeep surveying the beach house. An old pick-up truck pulled next to her; Tim got out of his truck and his girlfriend (Diana’s sister) Melody followed. Kate, however, was hesitant as she remained seated in the jeep. She couldn’t believe that she let Diana talked her into coming. Kate wanted to spend the weekend with Diana but in the end, she caved in and came with her best friend Diana.
“Hey guys, come inside,” Jeremy yelled from the sliding door of the beach house.
Diana went back to the jeep to get her stuff. Kate got out of the jeep to help her with the bags. If I am going to be trapped here this weekend; I might as well make the best of it, Kate thought. Diana had told Kate about Jeremy and how they were the best of friends in elementary school. Diana and Melody moved away when they started high school but Jeremy and Diana still maintained their friendship as best as they could. The two girls grabbed their bags and headed over to the pick-up truck to help. Tim already had everything from the truck in his hands. Melody just stood by as the group headed towards the beach house.
“You need any help, Tim-Tim,” Melody asked, Tim looked at her with adoration in his eyes.
“I got it, Mel,” he replied.
“Yeah, Tim-Tim, let’s go,” Diana said mockingly. Tim would definitely get the girl back for calling him Tim-Tim. He didn’t mind if Melody had called him that but her kid sister knew better than to call him Melody’s pet name. The group walked inside and was greeted by Jeremy.
“So, the beach house has three bedrooms, um, I wasn’t expecting anyone extra coming.” Jeremy told the group.
“That’s cool, Kate and I can share a room. Pretty sure, Tim and Mel are shaking up together and that leaves the third room for you. If that is cool with you, Kate.” Diana said.
“I am good with that. I guess we should go get settled.” Kate replied.
“I’ll show you the rooms, follow me everybody,” Jeremy said annoyed, but continued to proceed down the hall showing the others the rooms. He led Mel and Tim to the room that they would be sharing and then took Kate and Diana down to their room.
“Well, here it is,” Jeremy opened the door and the girls walked in. It wasn’t too fancy; a queen bed and some fancy dressers.
“I’ll let you two get settled, then join me on the veranda for drinks with the others.” He left closing the door with a thud. Clearly, he didn’t want Kate there and he had made it abundantly clear in his annoyance.
“Some friend, we have been here for like five minutes and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t like me.” Kate dropped her bag on the bed. It thudded as it bounced off the bag. Kate knew she should have stayed home; Jeremy didn’t want her there and the only thing keeping her there was Diana.
“He’s just surprised that I brought someone that’s all.” Diana walked over to Kate’s side of the bed, “I just want us to have a good time this weekend.”
“I know,” Kate looked to Diana, taking her hand, “we can unpack later, let’s go join the others.”
The girls joined hands walking down the hallway past Tim and Mel’s room. The couple hadn’t closed the door and were making out on the bed with no care in the world. The two girls just stood there; it was Diana who knocked on the door alarming the couple to intruders on their make-out session.
“Um…Jeremy wanted us to meet him on the veranda for drinks if you two aren’t too busy.” Diana said casually as she continued to lead Kate towards the veranda.
“Maybe…we should go out there,” Tim said. Mel, however, completely ignored him and kept on pulling him closer. This was a weekend for them too as much as it was for her sister and her sister’s friends. She wasn’t going to let that stop her from being with Tim. “Come on, Mel, we really should go, I bet Jeremy is waiting for us, too.”
“Spoilsport,” Mel pushed herself off Tim. She walked to the mirror and straighten her hair making herself presentable for her host.
“Let’s go, at least make ourselves known. I promise to make it up to you tonight.” Tim said and jumped off the bed pulling Mel from the mirror. The couple joined the group on the veranda. Jeremy had already started pouring drinks from the mini-bar. Kate and Diana sat in lounge chairs with glasses of sangria in their hands. Mel opted for a beer and grabbed one for Tim. The couple had similar tastes when it came to liquor; either it was whiskey or beer and Jeremy didn’t have any whiskey so the couple settled for beer.
“So, we saw this creepy lighthouse and graveyard coming up here,” Kate asked.
“Yeah, it’s been there since like the 1800s; I think it’s haunted. A girl committed suicide in the lighthouse and that year, there was a horrible shipwreck. No survivors.” Jeremy replied, “The graveyard was added by the town; there was a lot of family members burying empty caskets. Been there ever since although no one is buried there anymore.”
“Well, if it’s haunted, we should check it out.” Diana said excitedly. She had never been to a place that was haunted.
“It’s all locked up; the caretaker only comes by once a month to take care of the graves.” Retorted Jeremy.
“No one will be there to catch us, and I’m pretty sure Tim can break into it.” Diana replied vigorously.
“I am good at getting into places that seem to be tricky to get into. Tools are out in the truck, too.” Tim looked at Mel, knowing that she would be down with breaking into the lighthouse if it meant some alone time.
“It’s pretty risky, though, we could still get caught,” Jeremy was going to talk them out of it. All he wanted to do this weekend was go to the beach, swim and possibly get with Diana. He just didn’t expect her to bring along her friend Kate. But he knew that if didn’t take Diana to the lighthouse then the rest of the weekend would suck; she wouldn’t be mad at him but he knew that she bring it up at any chance she got.
“Sounds like you are scared? You said it was haunted. Bet it’s not. Just some urban legend to keep away the teens from breaking in and having a kegger.” Kate said.
“Fine, I’ll take you guys. But if we get caught then it is on you.” Jeremy replied, he wasn’t going to let Kate get to him. He would take them to the lighthouse but he knew he would regret it. Diana was excited to go; this would be the best weekend. Little did the group know what awaited them at the lighthouse.
The group approached the graveyard first. It was nighttime when they were able to get Jeremy to take his boat out to the island that held the lighthouse and lighthouse keeper’s house. Tim passed out the flashlights from the boat’s pack and brought his bolt cutters from his truck. Diana walked amongst the tombstones with Kate trailing behind her. All the graves were from 1812, all victims of the shipwreck except for one. Kate stopped at one grave, bringing Diana to a halt. It wasn’t a unique grave but it had a picture of the deceased. The grave said:
Born: September 8, 1862
Died: July 20, 1880
Beautiful, even in death.
“She looks just like you Diana. Even has your name,” Kate stated in shock. The resemblance was uncanny. The deceased girl could have definitely passed for Diana’s twin.
“It’s weird, we’re even the same age.” Diana murmured. It was strange to see the photo reflecting herself from the 1800s. She traced the words with her fingers gliding over each letter. She was entranced by the grave, and Kate had to pull her back.
“Ratcliff, I know that name, it was the girl who committed suicide in the lighthouse. Her father was the lightkeeper; he got blamed for the shipwreck. The lighthouse was supposed to signal ships in bad weather that it wouldn’t be safe to land but that night the lighthouse remained dark. He was just destroyed when his daughter ended up killing herself. The lighthouse has been dark ever since, some say they can still here the girl swinging in the lighthouse.” Jeremy recounted the tale with a darkness; he had been scared of the lighthouse. He never knew why he feared the building.
“What a tragic end,” Diana muttered. The group continued towards the lighthouse. The doors were padlocked but that would not stop Tim. He pulled out a pair of bolt cutters that he always kept in his truck. The chains snapped and fell to the ground, Tim opened the door. All the group could see was darkness, there was no light that illuminated from the lighthouse. Diana walked in the lighthouse, pulling Kate along with flashlight in hand. “Are you guys coming or not?”
Mel and Tim followed the girls with Jeremy trailing behind. He was hesitant to go into the lighthouse, but he decided to go in. If Kate could face the lighthouse then surely, he could. The parlor area of the lighthouse was dank and dirty. The air was musty, of course no one had been there in at least a hundred years. Chairs and furniture were overturned and broken. On one side of the room, there was a piano. Diana went over to the piano and started plucking some of the keys. She played a melody with one hand.
“Well, no one had been here. Place smells like shit. I wonder if any wild animals have gotten into the lighthouse.” Mel said smelling the air. The group continued to explore the place. A scream chilled the air and made the teens jump.
“What the hell was that?” Jeremy exasperated. He moved closer to the door; it had started raining and thundering. The sky flashed with lightning. “No, no, no. Looks like we might be suck until the storm is passed.”
“It might have just been a wild animal. I mean this place has been abandoned for over a hundred years.” Diana explained, trying to rationalize the noise the group heard.
“You ever heard any animal make a noise like that,” Tim said.
Mel hit his arm, “You’re not helping.”
“Well, we might be stuck here for the night. Let’s search for a place to sleep instead of the ground,” Kate suggested, “then in the morning we can leave, and the storm will have passed by then.”
“Kate’s right, might as well make best of the situation we are in.” Diana responded in earnest. The group continued to search through the parlor. Tim and Mel went off down the hallway to search for a place that they could be together. The couple found a bedroom; it was small with a dresser, a small canopy bed and a vanity. The wallpaper had peeled off and was a pale pink. This was definitely a girl’s room. The vanity held picture frames, perfume and an elegant hairbrush. Mel pulled Tim on the canopy bed in an embrace. The couple was finally relieved to be alone, away from the group. It was getting a little too hot and heavy for the couple; Mel pulled her top off revealing her bra. She straddled Tim on the bed but she pulled away when she heard a thud coming from the other side of the room.
“What was that?” Mel said, she got off Tim and stepped off the bed. She took the flashlight in hand and pointed it to where she heard the thud.
“It is an old building, pipes creek, the others could have accidently hit something.” Tim rationalized. Although, Mel was not too sure. She continued to point her flashlight to where she heard the noise and the doorway. Tim pulled her back, kissing her.
“Get out of my room,” a voice whispered, Mel jumped off the bed and hurriedly placed her shirt back on. Apparently, Mel was the only one who heard the voice.
“Hey, what gives? I thought you wanted it to be just us.” Tim stated, annoyed.
“Get out of my room!” the voice screamed, Tim heard it this time, jumping off the bed. The couple ran out of the room; they got the message loud and clear. Mel thought she saw something in the mirror, but she wasn’t sure. In the corner of her eye, the mirror showed the transparent, pale visage of a girl in a white dressing gown.
Diana continued to walk through the lighthouse with Kate and Jeremy in tow. She felt drawn to go up to the top of the lighthouse for some weird reason. Kate was anxious, and she didn’t want to go up anywhere. It wasn’t safe to be in the lighthouse, Kate thought. Another scream rang through the lighthouse making the teens jump. Diana rushed up the stairs of the lighthouse towards the scream.
“Diana, we don’t run towards the screaming,” Kate exasperated. Jeremy ran out of the lighthouse towards the boat. The storm was the least of his worries. He reached the boat and tried to start it. He didn’t care if he left the others. The boat keys turned over and the engine muttered and fizzled out. Jeremy looked back to the lighthouse, and he saw something that made his skin creep. A girl in white dressing gown was watching him from the tall windows of the lighthouse.
Diana continued to run up the stairs of the lighthouse closer to the scream. She was met face to face with the ghost of Diana Ratcliff. The girls looked exactly alike, long wavy brown hair and the same height with piercing brown eyes. Diana felt like she was going to scream but no sound came from her mouth. She was frozen in place with a ghost from the eighteenth century staring her down. Only one word escaped from Diana’s mouth, “Why?”
“Why?” the ghost snickered with a cruel smile painted on her lips, “Why did you disturb my resting place? You brought those people here. You brought him here. But I’ll show you. I’ll show you how I died.”
Diana closed her eyes. When she opened her eyes, she started to see through the dead girl’s memories. It was her and Kate at the beach playing in the water. Chasing and splashing each other but it wasn’t Diana but the ghost. The ghost was dressed up in a beautiful white dress and was barefoot. Kate wasn’t in a dress but trousers with a white dress shirt and a blue patterned vest. She knew it was Kate from the way she smiled as the girls laughed. That smile could light up Diana’s day.
“Katherine, stop.” The ghost spoke first. Katherine has pushed her in the shallow of the seawater. Diana replied and pushed Katherine in the sand and getting on top of her. Katherine embraced her as the two shared a kiss. But their privacy was short lived as Jeremiah watched from a higher sand dune.
“This is why you spurned me, rejected me for her.” Jeremiah shouted to the girls.
The memory shifted to a tearful Diana saying goodbye to Katherine at the dock. Katherine would be sent away. All because the two of them fell in love. Jeremiah (who was the mirror image of Jeremy) had gone to his father, a rich merchant who could send anyone away. So, Katherine departed on the boat into the storm that would end up killing her. Someone had let the lighthouse light go dark as the ship tried to make it back to port. The ship was torn on the rocks sending sailors and passengers to the dark sea abyss. And so, the ghost shifted the scene one last time to her death. Diana held the noose in her hand as if she were in the place of the ghost. She placed it around her neck as she stepped up on the chair. She almost fell off in the process, but she caught herself. She wasn’t ready to die, and if she died it would be from her taking the leap into the afterlife to join her beloved Katherine. Thunder boomed in the background as the doors to the lighthouse were opened. There was Katherine drenched in water, running towards Diana.
“If you will not love me in life then maybe in death,” Jeremiah sneered as he kicked the chair and Diana plummeted to her death. Except it was different this time, Diana was shifted back in reality with the noose still around her neck but was being held up by Kate.
“Help, help me get her down,” Kate screamed. Mel and Tim rushed towards the couple, taking the chair to Diana to step on. She pulled the noose off her and climbed down to Kate. The two hugged and Diana pulled Kate into a kiss. Something Kate had been wanting to do but never had the courage.
Kate pulled away from Diana, “How did you know?”
“I guess, it took a haunted lighthouse to see what was right in front of me.” Diana responded.
“I want off this island and out of this lighthouse. No more haunted places, just the beach. The nice, warm sand and a drink in my hand.” Mel exasperated, ushering everyone out of the lighthouse. The group got to the boat, but Jeremy wasn’t there. Diana looked back and saw Jeremy on the beach, but it wasn’t Jeremy. It was Jeremiah.
“Thought you could get away from me, you bitch.” His face contorted, and eyes pitch black as he approached the boat. The haunting was not over yet.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dani loves horror movies ever since she saw Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers with Danielle Harris. She loves vampires, her favorite movie is Interview with a Vampire. She reads constantly and mostly books about the supernatural and is also a paranormal investigator. She currently works at a call center for a life insurance company but is pursuing her master’s in library science to become a librarian. She currently writes for pophorror.com.