“There Are 216 Steps to the Top of the Lighthouse”

There Are 216 Steps to the Top of the Lighthouse

small-bay-lighthouse-by-leolo212-on-pixabay-

There are 216 steps to the top of the lighthouse. Except for today. Today there are 215.

The world is shrinking, I am told. I believe them.

There are 215 steps to the top of the lighthouse. Except for today. Today, there are 209.

A man rode by this morning. He carried a heavy gun on his hip. His horse looked half-dead. He asked me how many steps there were to the top of the lighthouse. I told him 209. I lied. Today there 184.

He knew I lied. I could see it in his eyes, in the twitch of his cheek when I told him. I think maybe he wanted to laugh.

I don’t think it’s funny. The world is shrinking.

There are 184 steps to the top of the lighthouse. Except for today. Today there are 121.

That is a good number. Eleven times eleven. What? You don’t think I know my numbers? Of course I do. I count the stairs in this lighthouse every day when I check to make sure the lamp is lit.

The lamp is never lit, though. It is my job to look but it never is. No ships come by anymore. Why come here? For a small lighthouse?

How small, you ask? Who are you? Another man? Do you have a heavy gun on your hip, too? Where is your horse?

No matter. I’ll tell you.

There are 121 steps to the top of the lighthouse. Except for today. Today there are 44.

The lighthouse is small. I do not know how such a small lighthouse can be useful when the large ships come by. Maybe that is why no ships come by anymore. The rocks would crush them. The monsters would feast on any who reached the rocks.

You didn’t know about the monsters, did you? Don’t worry. They don’t come very close. Except today. Today they come very close. Listen. You can hear their claws, their bodies dragging. They are hungry.

Don’t go to the lighthouse. You can’t. Only I can go, just to check the lamp and count steps. You can’t go. You won’t fit.

There are 44 steps to the top of the lighthouse. Except for today. Today there are 12.

The monsters are very close. You should go, man with questions. This is not your place.

Don’t worry about me. The monsters won’t hurt me. I’m already dead.


I sat down Wednesday night for Sarah’s regular Wednesday night create-along with not a single idea in my head but with the determination that I’d write something. Be warned, there is no obvious story behind the story or even beyond it. There are elements that seems to crop up in stories I’ve written before and stories I’ve not written but would like to write. There might also be hints of elements of stories you might have seen before from other writers, though I assure you I had no one’s work in mind when I wrote this.

In fact, I didn’t have anything particular in mind when I wrote this. I hope you like it, though.

(Photo Credit: Leolo212 on Pixabay)

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