PART FOUR: FEAR
Meanwhile, back at the lighthouse, just about the time that Marilyn first spotted the storm, Jonathan and Kevin were up in the tower changing out some of the bulbs that had burnt out. They chatted companionably as they worked.
Then Kevin brought something to Jonathan’s attention, “Dad, we had better order some more bulbs, and also some extra tubes for the radio, in case we get any bad storms. The weather forecasters have been saying that it is shaping up to possibly be a really bad season this year. I think it would be best to be prepared, especially where the radio is concerned, in case we need to call for help if someone wrecks on the reef just outside our cove, or to call the authorities if the wreckers show up.”
Even as he spoke the words, Kevin could not believe that “wrecking” was still being practiced in these modern times…but it was, and those who practiced it were totally lawless and cruel, not to mention being completely without compassion, decency or morals.
Jonathan looked up from where he was opening up a new box of bulbs, “You know, you are absolutely right, I also have been hearing reports on the possible severity of the storm season this year. I think we had better go ahead and make the call for the supplies we will be needing right now, the dock master should still be there. I will take the boat tomorrow morning and pick everything up. It should only be about a half of a day’s journey there and back, we will still have time to finish changing out all of these bulbs and maybe even get started on repairing that floor slate near the stove. Your mother nearly fell the other night when she turned too quickly and her heel caught the edge of it.”
Kevin smiled. His dad was so conscientious, not only about the lighthouse, but about his family. Kevin felt like he and his sister were the luckiest kids in the world to have such loving parents.
He spoke, causing Jonathan to raise his head and glance at him for a moment, “Okay, dad, I will go make the call right now. And I think I will go ahead and check the radio tubes, you know, just to be on the safe side.”
Jonathan gave him a nod and then returned to his task. Kevin went over to the table which was setting just beneath one of the large windows overlooking the cove and beach just below the lighthouse, and on which both the radio and phone were located. After making the necessary calls, Kevin checked out the radio and then went to stand in front of the window, looking out towards the mainland…
And what he saw had him giving a startled exclamation just before he turned and shouted to Jonathan, “Hey, dad, I really think you ought to come take a look at this!”
Jonathan, alerted by a strange tension in his son’s voice, did not ask any questions, but simply stopped what he had been doing and went to join Kevin at the window. When he looked out in the direction of his son’s now pointing finger, he felt a sudden eerie chill, for the entire sky over the mainland was almost pitch dark and even from there he could see the intermittent lightening flashes.
As Jonathan and Kevin both gazed out at that fast moving, lightening streaked darkness, they both knew that they were about to get hit by some very heavy weather. Jonathan turned his head, “Kevin, get on the radio and alert all of the warning stations along this part of the coast, tell them to get everyone that is directly on the coastline up to higher ground and to batten down the hatches. It looks as if this storm decided to jump the gun and make an early appearance, and it does not look like it is one that will simply blow over.”
Kevin, his face and voice tense, merely headed over and began making the calls. Once they were done, he went back to join Jonathan…
Just as the rain came down in a deluge that dropped the visibility to nothing in a matter of mere seconds.
All at once Kevin gave a strangled sounding gasp as he grabbed his father’s arm, “Dad! What time is it?” Jonathan glanced down at his watch and then looked back at his son as his face went deathly pale as he realized why Kevin had been so urgent in requesting the time.
Kevin spoke the words that were running through both of their minds and hearts, his voice choked with sudden fear, “Dad, mom and sis should have been headed back by now! They called earlier and said that they would be late returning because the cab had a flat and was late picking them up. They are going to be caught out on open water right in the middle of this storm!”
Jonathan reached up and lay his hand over his son’s, his own heart heavy. Unable to speak, he merely squeezed Kevin’s fingers lightly, and then turned back to the window. Kevin also returned his gaze to that lonely jetty jutting out into the frothing water.
They both turned their eyes towards the mainland the very moment their boat came into site…
And watched in horror as the wave lifted it and threw Marilyn and Marilla into the water before smashing the boat back to the surface, destroying it.
Father and son turned frightened deeply horrified gazes to each other, then without a single word, Kevin took off for the stairway leading downwards, with Jonathan only a mere heartbeat behind him.
Despite Jonathan’s being only a few seconds behind his son, Kevin was already halfway down the winding, circular staircase before he even reached the top of it.
Jonathan tried to hurry, but the shock of seeing the accident and the fear of losing his wife and daughter were beginning to cause the chest pains. He had gone to great lengths to hide from his family for as long as he could that at his last checkup the doctor had told him that the chest pains…and the numbness in his arms that sometimes accompanied them…were in truth mild heart attacks. They had only happened twice, both times during storms much like this one and both times while he was attempting to rescue someone.
The doctor had warned him that the next one might kill him.
So hurrying as fast as he dared, he held onto the stair railing as he made his way downward, trying to control his breathing and force himself to calm down.
He reached the bottom of the stairs just in time to hear the back door slam against the wall and knew that Kevin was already on his way to the beach.
By the time he reached the beach, his son was already swimming out towards the general direction where they had seen the boat go down, fighting the angry, surging waves every inch of the way.
All Jonathan could do was stand in frustrated, helpless silence as he watched his son risk his life in an attempt to save his mother and sister…
And know that he dared not try to help, for even now he could feel the sharp pain that always presaged the numbness growing in his arms.
TO BE CONTINUED…