The End of the Lighthouse

The End of the Lighthouse

A Story by Joℏn / Jack / Turtle / Kurmasana
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Short story for SDMB contest about two boys celebrating the opening of the first teleport to another world. 7/1/2011

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SDMB short story contest rules included maximum length, and mandatory inclusion of an image and three words:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/5505299107/

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“Live! From the future, it’s Adam Roe, grandson of the man we are here to celebrate today, microblogcasting to all 74 of my viewers. I’m at Pirates Cover, a cove under El Capitan, town of Sowassett, with the world’s second best view of the upcoming events.”


Adam angled his Omnicom away from his own beaming face, and onto the other teenaged boy, whose shoulder he had his arm around. Adam’s lighter skin, watery blue eyes, and sandy hair contrasted sharply with his companion’s darker skin, eyes, and hair.


Adam was also wearing beige cargo shorts and a dark blue t-shirt with a pop culture icon logo, whereas the other youth wore more casual island faire; Cubano button-down short-sleeve shirt with light stripes, and loose, gauzy white beach pants. They both wore sandals but had cast them off some distance behind them on the beach. All that kept them company now was a solitary backpack a few feet away.


“And this is Kir, my good friend from Indonesia. I chose him out of all 10 or so international friends to share this coveted spot with me. And he didn’t even have the courtesy to bring a bribe!”


Kir rolled his eyes; Adam continued, “Kir is short for Kirana, which appropriately for tonight’s event, stands for “beautiful ray of light.”


Kir replied “And Adam is equally appropriate, as the first man.”


“Now Kir - sure Kirana isn’t a girl’s name?” teased Adam.


Kir gave Adam a dirty look that couldn’t quite hide his grin as he pointed, and said “what’s that?”


Adam and couldn’t make out more than a blur on the surface of the water. “I don’t know, probably a Turtle?”


Distracted, he was off guard as Kir vied for the Com, wrestling it away from Adam. The last thing Adam’s viewers saw was them and the view spinning towards the ground, before the feed shut off. The two young men lay on their backs in the sand breathing heavily, exhausted wrestling.


Kir protested “bigot!”


“My viewers are used to my erratic sense of humor. That’s probably the least worst thing I’ve said this week,” countered Adam.


“Anyway,” corrected Kir, “I did, in fact, bring bribes.” He dragged over his backpack. He unzipped the smaller pouch, and produced two Zippo lighters, each engraved with one of their names.


Adam’s eyes widened as he took his, flipped the lid open, and flicked the flame into life. “Awesome!”


“It will come in handy when the big moment comes.”


Adam agreed, “Yeah hardly anybody has lighters now that all the smokers have gone over to e-cigs.


Concert cheering is all Coms now. Man, cigarettes were nasty, I’m glad that’s over with. Although, having a lighter almost makes me feel like I should take up smoking,” he joked.


Kir laughed. “There’s plenty of retro smokers. It’s just the cigarette smokers that have transitioned. Anyway, there’s another use for the lighters.” He brought a carton out of the larger pouch and handed it to Adam.


“Sparklers! That’s perfect,” exclaimed Adam.


Kir explained, “There’s already going to be bigger fireworks going off tonight, plus Customs, plus these are more fun, I think.”


“No arguments here,” said Adam, smiling. “It’s a national holiday after all.”


“More like =international= holiday, you mean,” Kir pointed out. “This is a historical moment for the whole globe. Now isn’t there something…”


Adam grinned as he caught the pointed, mock glare of Kir aimed his way. “I suppose you’ll be wanting something too?” Kir laughed. “Close your eyes and count to ten.”


Kir obeyed. “One...two...three” He heard Adam scamper off in the sand. “four…five…six.” He couldn’t hear Adam any more. “Seven-eight-nine-ten!” shouted Kir in one final burst. He turned around, but Adam was gone without a trace.


Kir couldn’t see anywhere that Adam could be hiding given the short time he had his eyes closed. “Adam?” he shouted. He heard a stifled giggle but couldn’t tell from what direction; it seemed to come from several places at once.


Kir looked down and his eyes traced the path of Adam’s footprints in the sand all the way to the dark rocky outcrop whose top held the ruins of El Capitan. But at the foot of the rock, they stopped. “Boo!” Adam’s head popped out of the rock about ten feet above Kir’s head, like some kind of optical illusion. Apparently the formation of the rocky wall was such that there was a hidden hole a third of the way up which was invisible to anyone looking from either the bottom or the top.


“How on Earth did you find that?”


“You forget,” reminded Adam as he climbed back down the cliff, “I’m a legacy!”


“You mean your grandfather?” asked Kir.


“More than that,” replied Adam, “The Wonders.”


Kir nodded, one of the few who knew about The Wonders, a longstanding, generally unknown network of seven sites around the world founded by enthusiasts of the original “World Wonders,” and each inspired by one of them.


At the top of the cliff overlooking the cove, sat the ruins of El Capitan, originally “The Lighthouse”. Whereas Kir hailed from The Garden, a very small island in Indonesia with a botanical garden, arboretum, and nature preserve inspired by the original Hanging Gardens.


“Being part of this Wonder means I’m privy to some of its history and secrets; being descendant of the original inhabitant gives me even. Since you come from a … and since the OmniCom is off…” Kir laughed. “I’ll let you in on my secret. There have been various periods of time when those hidden caves and tunnels have come in handy.”


“Pirates Cover!” exclaimed Kir.


“Yes,” explained Adam, “the tunnels were used for smuggling, although I doubt if the smugglers were your stereotypical pirates. However this,” pointing to the green bottle, “comes from its time as a Speak-easy.”


“Booze!” Said Kir. The U.S. had come to its senses and lowered the drinking age to 18, but they were 17 and Kir came from a mostly Muslim country. Grinning in approval, “wow, a speak-easy, a smuggling cove, a lighthouse �" your Wonder seems a bit more interesting than mine.” “Jealous?” asked Adam. “Your Wonder is plenty cool too, mine is just perhaps salacious I think we’ve also had a library, a cult, a temple, and a student house.”


“Cult, really?” asked Kir incredulously.


“Well, during the hippy commune era, centered around a strong personality figure.”


“Hah!” replied Kir.


“Of course,” finished Adam, “after was a final attempt at restoring the lighthouse to its original historical form, but it accidently burned.” Left, a large circle of stone at the top of the cliff. “Inside the ruins, as a tribute to my grandfather, who invented transit technology, and his ancestor, who first inhabited the lighthouse, and the over-all metaphorical nature of lighthouses... inside the ring of stone sits the transit gate, which will beam the first man to Mars back to Earth.”


They were silent for a moment, thinking about the momentous occasion. In honor of Adam’s grandfather, and the resultant first ever interplanetary transit beam, today was the first National Roe Day.


Kir was reminded, by a glint of refracting light, about the bottle. “So what is it?”


“Strawberry/kiwi infused mead,” replied Adam. “Hope it didn’t turn into vinegar.” He couldn’t remember the details from the film he had seen long ago with that plotline. He popped off the cork and started to take a swig, but it caught in his throat and he sputtered and coughed while Kir was dismayed. Adam said, “ Not vinegar. Just a bit stronger than wine. But still delicious. Just need a wee bit smaller Swig.”


Kir laughed and grabbed the bottle, and carefully tipped it into his mouth. “Mmmmm, strong, but good. And perfect timing.” He pointed to the horizon, where the sun was a few degrees away from setting, and they both plopped down.


“How can we see the sunset? Aren’t we on the north shore facing north?” asked Kir.


“Colloquially,” replied Adam, “it’s considered the north shore. But Long Island is actually at a little bit of an angle and faces slightly northwest. Between that and the fact that the Earth is tilted, and that it’s summer, we get to see the sunset from what we call the north shore.”


They both fell into silence as the sun began to set, moving only to take the occasional swig of hard mead. The burgeoning buzz only intensified the beauty of the sight. Although they were the only ones privileged enough to have access to the beach around the cove and under the cliff that supported El Capitan, they were far from alone in the larger sense.


The cove was a tiny circle of water attached near the mouth of the harbor, beyond which was two jetting sand dunes defining the opening. Although it had been arranged to have the cove be free of boats, the harbor itself, and the sound beyond it, were crammed with celebratory sea craft. And at the head of the harbor, the relatively small village was so packed with people, Adam felt like it had turned into Times Square. Beyond the harbor lie the Long Island Sound, and beyond that a thin strip of Connecticut outlined the horizon, silhouetted by the nearly vanished sun.


The sky lit up in colors other than the usual blue, a light haze and a few clouds turning yellow, orange pink, and purple. The shallow water at the edge of the cove barely covered undulating ripples of sand under the surface.


Eventually it turned dark, and the din of the celebratory crowds in boats, in the village, and at the transit site at the top of the cliff, became a loud roar. Electricity was in the air as the anticipation of people nearby, and those around the world, became overwhelming. The teens each lit a sparkler. The one-minute silent countdown timer was projected into the sky. “It’s like New Year’s Eve and the Fourth of July!” said Adam.


“Well we do have sparklers and a countdown,” agreed Kir.


As the count reached to seconds, the various crowds began to shout the numbers, and the pair looked up at the cliff. “Ten! Nine! Eight!”


“But we’re still missing something,” said Adam as he turned towards Kir.


“Seven! Six! Five!” shouted the crowd.


“What’s that?” asked Kir, facing Adam.


“Four! Three! Two!”


“A New Year’s Eve kiss,” replied Adam.


“One!” shouted the crowd as the transit beam shot down from the sky and into the ruins, and Adam and Kir’s lips finally met. Adam couldn’t be sure if his heart was beating so fast because of the kiss, or the fear at the thought that something would go wrong with the transit beam.


It didn’t matter though, the kiss was perfect, made even more ridiculously romantic by the crowds cheering and fireworks going off, which he easily imagined as being just for them.


And little had Kir known, but Adam had surreptitiously reacquired the OmniCom earlier and had been broadcasting their kiss and everything before that during the minute

countdown. Kir finally noticed the Com sitting in Adam’s hand, plumb with regards to their kiss in the foreground and transit beam in the background, and he disengaged.


“Really?” asked Kir.


“Hey, it’s a historical moment!” defended Adam.


“The transit beam or the kiss?” asked Kir.


“Both!” answered Adam, and realigned the OmniCom to the transit beam, as it shuddered and started to include a humanoid form. The various crowds started to light up their Coms in solidarity as the transit beam blinked out and left only an illuminated astronaut. Adam and Kir raised their antiquated Lighters.


Kir said to Adam and the offending OmniCom, “Wow, the future really is bright!”


And he was right. The ruins marked the end of The Lighthouse, but the beginning of a new hope, and a new ray of light for world.  🐢

© 2017 Joℏn / Jack / Turtle / Kurmasana


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Added on August 25, 2017
Last Updated on August 25, 2017
Tags: story, fiction, scifi, science fiction, short story, lgbt, YA, teen

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Joℏn / Jack / Turtle / Kurmasana
Joℏn / Jack / Turtle / Kurmasana

Port Jefferson Station, NY



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