The Lighthouse Part Two
*** Disclaimer: This story is based on the St. Augustine Lighthouse. This story is not affiliated with the lighthouse or its staff. ***
Read part one
The dim green glow from the necklaces that hung around their necks did not illuminate the room. It was a small room, and from what Alice could make out. There was a rocking chair, sitting chair, and a few small tables. The main centerpiece of the room was a white fireplace.
Alice pulled away from Grace and lifted her glow stick to get a better look at the fireplace. A clock ticked away on the mantle, and beside it was a picture frame. The brass frame brass contained a black and white photograph of three children. Beside it, a flower rested.
“These children must be Elliot, Sally, and Reagan,” Alice whispered to Grace.
Grace walked away from a display she had been reading to look at the picture. They were all dressed in Victorian garb. Each looked far too young to have met with such an end. Grace shook her head and gestured to the display she had been reading. “This is what the house looked like when the family lived here. It also says that the spirits of the woman and her husband frequent the room.”
Alice felt the chill return to her bones as she looked away from the children’s photograph. A quiet creak caused both to spin. Alice’s heart pounded in her chest.
Grace held up her glow stick to cast a better light. Two people stood in the door and looked startled to see them. The men in the doorway wore green light sticks. The four exchanged a nervous chuckle.
“H-have you caught anything?” Alice asked as she tried to settle the quiver in her voice.
Grace laughed beside her.
“No, but we won’t know until we listen to this later,” one man said, holding up a tape recorder.
Alice smacked the side of her head. EVPs! Of course, why didn’t they think of doing that?
“We’ll head to the basement and leave the upstairs for you,” Grace suggested with a smile.
Alice and Grace proceeded towards the basement.
The metal spiral staircase led straight into darkness. Alice swallowed her fear as it threatened to freeze her bones. She wouldn’t freeze a second time in front of Grace. This was her idea. She took a deep breath and tried to keep herself from shaking.
The darkness of the basement was thick. Not even the light from their glow sticks could pierce through. Alice pointed towards the narrow hall that she could make out from the dark.
“The lighthouse keeper hung himself in there,” she whispered to Grace.
Grace looked around the room.“Weird that they have a basement in Florida. That’s the real oddity of this place,” Grace mused.
Alice turned and gave her a flat look. “What? You can’t expect me to take this too seriously.”
“You could try. Why don’t you record on your phone and we can ask questions? Sometimes ghosts’ voices can pick up on a recording,” Alice suggested.
“Why they can’t talk like us? You’d think they’d have their entire life to conquer such a feat,” Grace scoffed as she pulled out her cell phone.
“It’s about the energy they can gather. It’s too low for us to hear. We’ll listen to it at the hotel,” Alice said as she started towards the hall.
Grace hit record and pointed the phone at the darkness as they ventured forward.
Alice looked around the room and screamed. She back peddled straight into Grace as the dark figure towered over them.
Grace held up her glow stick and laughed. The green hue hit the figure and lit up a mannequin dressed in an old lighthouse keeper outfit.
Alice righted herself. Her heart pounded, and her ears burned with a hot blush of embarrassment. She glared at the dummy. Beside the mannequin stood two small wooden chairs.
“I’m glad I recorded that!” Grace laughed.
“Rumor says that those chairs are the spot where he hung himself. If you sit in them, the keeper will touch you. Wanna give it a try?” Alice beckoned, ready to move past the mannequin.
“Sure, I could use a break,” Grace shrugged.
They both sat in a chair. The chairs creaked.
Alice stared out into the darkness. They both sat in silence. Every nerve stood on end in Alice’s body. It was as if the darkness enhanced the rest of her senses. She could feel the slight breeze and smell the dampness of being underground. Alice waited, holding her breath. Would she feel a ghost’s touch? She didn’t feel like anyone was watching them.
“Anyone with us? Any ghosties want to talk to us?” Grace asked as she stretched.
“W-we heard that you hung yourself here. Why would you do that?” Alice asked.
The brave bravo once again threatened to slip away. Silence met their ears.
Grace gave an exasperated sigh. “This is silly. It’s only an empty basement,” she said as she stood, and gave the room a look around.
“Want to go try the lighthouse?” Alice asked. She had felt nothing in the room. It was as if this was only an empty room in the house. Alice groaned. It would be miserable if she didn’t find anything.
They walked back up the spiral stairs and out of the house. In the courtyard, the lighthouse towered above them. It looked massive close up. The white and black spiral paint gave it a macabre Victorian look. Grace nudged Alice.
“It’s only two-hundred and nineteen steps. That’s not too bad,” Grace said sarcastically. She pulled her blonde hair into a ponytail. Alice gave her an unnerved smile. The candy she ate on the drive now felt like a bad idea.
The entrance of the lighthouse was a narrow white hallway. As Grace and Alice entered, their footsteps echoed against the walls. The marble floor did nothing to muffle the sound. The hall opened into the tower. Both Grace and Alice looked up. The staircase hugged the wall, creating a winding spiral. Alice also noted that jeans were not the proper attire for this event. Two-hundred and nineteen steps didn’t feel like a huge number when they were driving. Now the steps stretched before them, and the task was daunting.
Grace slapped at Alice’s hand. “Stop pulling at my shirt,” she hissed.
“I didn’t pull your shirt. I was looking at the stairs like you were,” Alice stuttered.
Grace rolled her eyes and started walking up the steps.
Alice groaned and climbed. Fourteen stories was a crazy number. Why didn’t I prep for this amount of exercise?
They climbed the steps at a fair pace. The first few landings passed without remark. By the sixth one, Alice’s chest was heaving. Her heart thundered against her ribs for a different reason. Her legs wobbled as she stopped on the landing. The sweat made the jeans cling to her legs like a second uncomfortable skin. Alice stopped to catch her breath and looked at Grace. She looked as winded as Alice.
“This is awful,” Grace panted.
Alice let out a breathy laugh. Her body wouldn’t allow anything more than that. Everything within her felt like it would burst. “We’re halfway,” she said as she wiped the sweat from her forehead.
A giggle sounded above them. Both Alice and Grace froze.
“Did you hear that?” Grace asked and looked at Alice.
Alice was moving. She looked up towards the landings above. Her heart stopped, and a small shadow stared back at her. Alice’s entire body went cold as fear coursed through her blood like ice.
Grace moved towards the railing as the shadow ducked away from the railing.
Alice raced towards the steps and took them two at a time. There was something up there.
Grace rushed after her. The giggle had chased the weariness out of them both. Grace hadn’t seen anything but that small laugh… it sounded childlike.
They burst from the top of the lighthouse. The coastline and the town stood, stretched before them. Grace’s breath caught at the view. The buildings twinkled like the stars above them. She marveled at the beauty spread before them.
Alice doubled over, breathing heavily. One of Alice’s hands held the lighthouse as she tried to ignore the height. “There was nothing there! Did you see anyone on the way up?” Alice heaved as she tried to catch her breath. Her body shook from exertion and fear.
“No, I didn’t see anyone. A worker could have left a radio on to scare us. After all, they have to give us what we paid for,” Grace said with a shrug as she looked at her friend. “Are you doing, ok? You’re shaking.”
“I don’t like heights,” Alice admitted as she sat on the red-painted metal floor. The floor felt cool against her legs. The jeans she wore still stuck to her legs with the sweat of running up the steps.
“Why would you climb fourteen stories?” Grace asked with a laugh.
“We’ve gotta catch proof about ghosts,” Alice sighed.
Grace laughed again. The giggle had shaken both of them.
Grace moved towards the railing and leaned on the metal railing. The view around them was incredible. The wind wound in her hair and kissed her sweat covered face. She could not fathom why Alice was a frightening mess. Alice looked as though she was having an anxiety attack whenever they entered a room. Something tugged at the hem of Grace’s shirt. She looked down and saw nothing there. Her eyes moved to Alice. She was still holding onto the wall for dear life.
“Can we go down?” Alice begged.
Grace nodded and headed towards the door. A quiet giggle sounded behind them. Alice froze, and Grace whirled around.
“Stay here,” Grace ordered. She walked around the top of the lighthouse. She scanned for any speakers, radios, or audio devices. There had to be a reason. There was always a reason. Grace moved around the railing twice, both times, coming up empty.
Furious, Grace stormed Alice. She descended the fourteen stories first with Alice right behind her. Grace would not be a fool. Perhaps Alice called ahead, and this whole thing had been a setup. Was that something Alice could do? Grace scoffed. Of course, it was.
Behind Grace, Alice was having a hard time. She watched each step as she gripped the banister. Each grate of the staircase reminded her of how high up they were. Alice held the railings of the staircase with white knuckles. She would not allow some ghost to push her… or allow herself to slip now.
The trip down proved to be easier than the trip up. As soon as they entered the courtyard, Alice fell onto the grass. Her legs wobbled as if she had gotten off a trampoline.
“Got any explanation for those giggles?” Alice asked.
Grace growled under her breath. “The last place to check is the lighthouse gardens.” She held out a hand for Alice.
Alice took it as Grace hauled her up.