I was inspired to write a short story by Devin Berglund’s blog on Blue Monkey Writing. Check it out!
She talked of her trip to the coast and the stories she gathered and it reminded me of a story I saw at the Tybee Lighthouse in Georgia. Here is my version of that encounter.
View from the Tybee Lighthouse.
by LaDonna Cole
Kip hunched over and blew warm breath into his fingers then reached for the light house door. It opened into his face and he lurched back.
“Sorry Kip,” Keeper Mark apologized. “I’m so cold, I couldn’t wait for you another minute.”
“No worries,” Kip laughed. “The sun will be up soon. Should warm a bit then.”
“I’ll go see if Mary has some porridge ready.”
“You’d best leave Mary alone. She won’t take kindly to you traipsing around her kitchen.” Kip slapped Marc on the back and passed into the base of the light house and began to climb the spiraled stairs.
He could just imagine the uproar that would soon be pouring out of the kitchen. Mary of the red hair and Irish temper was a great cook, but she was not one to wrangle with. Kip would sooner wrestle a swamp monster than tangle with an Irish cook. He pictured the monster in his head and drew a comparison between the fiery Mary and the Slimy Monster. Yep, Swamp Monster, any day!
A hissing sound drew him up short.
He stopped and listened, turning his head left, then right.
Was he imagining things? Maybe the back of his coat was rubbing against the stairwell. He stepped forward and heard the hiss again.
He climbed up and peered around the corner to the upper levels.
What in heaven’s name? Kip climbed three more steps craning his neck to see around the winding stair case into the dark heights. The third window landing came into view and he could see the swath of light sweep by from the great lamps above, then the bright moon, low on the horizon.
The moon blinked out suddenly, then reappeared. Something was in the window moving back and forth.
Kip swallowed and took another step up to get a better look. The lighthouse beam cut across the ocean and back lit the creature.
The largest snake Kip had ever seen sat coiled in the window landing. It lunged at him and Kip fell backward and went down hard on the steps, thumping down several before he could stop his fall. The long creature kept coming and Kip let out a yelp and tore off down the stairs screaming. “Swamp Monster! Swamp Monster!”
He hit the bottom of the stairwell and burst through the door. Henley the grounds keeper drew up next to him.
“What’s the ruckus, Kip?”
“Sssnnake! Fourteen feet long!” He pointed behind him into the lighthouse.
“Aow!” Henley grunted in disdain. “Y’ ain’t gonna let a little garden snake turn ya yeller, are ya?”
He tromped up the three stairs and backed out. “Holy mother of…” He burst out of the door. “It’s huge!”
Kip ran through the Keeper yard. “Snake! Snake! Snake in the lighthouse, it’s huge! Fourteen feet at least, bring a spade!” Keepers poured out of the barracks with whatever instrument of attack they could find.
Mary and Mark ran out of the cooking house. “What’s going on?”
Kip grabbed Mark’s collar. “Man, didn’t you see that huge snake sitting in the third window landing?”
Mary yelped and ran back into the kitchen.
“It’s fourteen feet long if an inch, I tell ya!”
“No, I didn’t” Mark snapped his head toward the lighthouse where Henley and three other men with various farm tools stood at the door, pointing and yelling.
“Let me get the shovel.” He ran to the tool shed.
The screen door slammed and Mary came out with a steaming pot of boiling water.
They all converged on the lighthouse and stood in the grass at the bottom.
“Ya ready?” Henley paused with his hand on the door knob.
Several nods and determined faces met him.
“Ahhhhhh!” Henley opened the door and three men rushed in hacking as they went followed by an army of pitch forks, old boots, and torch sticks.
A flurry of strikes and blows rang through the lighthouse accompanied by grunts and yelps. When the dust cleared, Henley exited with the fourteen foot snake, minus ten feet, draped across his spade and tossed it to the ground.
Mary doused it with boiling water just to be safe.
The lighthouse was once again secured against intruders, even the slithering kind.