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Mr Lighthouse Man ©

 

by

 

Alan Hewison

 

 

 

The phone rang. ‘Hello?’ I said, there was no one there. I hung up. All the lights went out.

I must have dozed off.

I lay for a moment to collect myself, whilst doing so I heard the generator start and saw all the lights come on again.

A few thoughts struck me. One; that's only the second time in a hundred years the lighthouse light has failed and two; the emergency generator started automatically and temporarily restored the electricity. This enabled the lights to return which was a really good thing for a lighthouse.

I rose from my slumber, stumbled into the room where the electrical fuse box was situated and gently studied it.

Suddenly a little voice said: ‘It was Brian who fused all the lights. I think he’s had a terrible shock.’

I looked around but couldn’t see anything or anybody. Then the same voice spoke again. ‘I’m down here,’ it said.

I looked down and saw an elegant grey mouse raised up on hind legs, with an expression on his face indicating a tear was about to form in his eye. Again it spoke: ‘I think we’ve had an accident.’

‘Have we?’ I said in a surprisingly calm voice.

‘Yes, Brian the explorer has explored a bit too far and blown a fuse in more ways than one.’

‘Hang on a second,’ I said, ‘who are you?’

He regained his composure, stood to attention, folded his arms across his chest and lifted his head.

‘Ah yes, I’m George and I’m a lighthouse mouse, in fact, I am the head of all the lighthouse mice.’

‘Oh, are you? Well hello George, nice to meet you. Is Brian inside the electrical fuse box?’ I asked.

‘Yes I think so, can you get him out and we’ll give him a proper state burial?’

‘Oh, is he royalty then?’ I politely enquired.

‘No, after what’s happened I think he’s just in a bit of a state.’

I opened the fuse box and there was Brian, stuck behind two fuses, stiff as a board.

George gently asked, ‘Can you get him down? I’ll arrange for the lads and Marilyn to carry him outside.’

‘Err, Marilyn?’

‘Yes, she’s the backbone of the team.’

I switched the fusebox off and removed Brian the explorer. ‘Here he is; I’ll take him outside for you if you want me to?’

‘No no, union rules, we’ll do the taking out thank you; err, no offence.’

‘No, no offence taken. By the way, why haven't I met you before?’

‘Ah, you weren't around the last time the big light went out. It was long ago, before your time.’

A little troop of mice came in, took hold of Brian and marched him out, as they went George shouted, ‘see you later.’

I stood slightly dazed and perplexed but outwardly managed a rather satisfying smile.

Slowly and thoughtfully I replaced the fuses, stopped the generator, turned the switch and the main light came on.

‘Jolly good,’ I whispered.

 

 

 

 

 

The Loom ©

 

by

 

Iris Welford

 

Aunt Jane was my godmother. My mother and I visited the large, rather untidy house infrequently even though she and her husband Jack lived a mere two miles away. Jack on the other hand, had a splendid garden filled with flowers and immense hydrangeas which were his pride and joy. Jane was always pleased to see us but in her eccentric way would not offer a cup of tea until we were about to leave but that did not matter because I was intrigued with Aunt Jane’s latest project.

She invited me into her world where an eight-foot-tall loom filled the front room. She told me she was making cloth of many colours with patterns that she had devised and, flicking a switch, the contraption sprang into action. The constant clack, clack, clack as the shuttle sped backwards and forwards was loud. Dust motes filled the air as the cloth grew. Aunt Jane’s face grew redder in the heat. Finally, she stopped and asked if I would like to see other cloth she had made.

We climbed to the top of the house to a room which was filled with rolls of material, all carefully wound around cardboard cylinders. Every colour, every variety of cloth seemed to be stacked orderly in contrast to the rest of the house. I asked her what she did with these rolls of cloth and she told me they were sold to famous fashion houses ready be made into stunning clothes for the rich and famous. I was impressed.

A few years later, Jane died. After the funeral, Jack gave me a painting which was a self-portrait of Jane working on her loom; at the time she had progressed into her artistic phase. He told me she was thrilled I had taken an interest in her cloth making. I took the painting home but had reservations about hanging it in my minimalist loft apartment and relegated it to a cupboard in my spare room.

One chilly evening, a few weeks later, the wind was howling around my building blowing along the eaves, creaking the roof timbers. I had become indifferent to the noises this old former warehouse made but I noticed a new peculiar rattle that seemed to come from my spare room. I investigated but found nothing untoward until I opened the cupboard. I had forgotten Jane’s painting and took it out. It seemed different to the last time I saw it. Her face seemed to be looking at me and the cloth on the loom appeared to have grown. I pinched myself, shook my head and hastily put the painting back in the cupboard.

I thought no more about the incident until a few weeks later when we had a major storm. Again, the timbers groaned and I heard the clack, clack, clack of the loom. I took the painting out of the cupboard and studied it. I was sure the cloth on the loom had grown and Jane’s face was not only looking at me but seemed more intent than before. I noticed her brow was furrowed and her lips seemed more open as if she was talking to me. I shuddered but left Aunt Jane propped by a window instead of the dark cupboard.

It seemed the winter would never end. Rain and wind had become the norm with flooding all over the country. A calm evening a week or two later, the clack, clack started again. I looked at Aunt Jane. Her mouth was definitely open and seemed to be saying “Go”. I felt afraid, was Jane trying to tell me something? I could not sleep that night and prowled around the living room. The wind had increased and the street lights below began to flicker as rain started. I heard an ominous creek from the spare room then an almighty crash. Grabbing my coat, mobile and bag while jumping into boots I hurtled towards the lift door and pressed the red button. Slowly the rickety lift wound its way to the top of the building. I opened the gate, pressed ground and felt myself shaking as I descended into darkness.

In the eerie morning light, I could see that the roof had collapsed. “You were lucky to get out Miss, you could have been killed.” A young fireman put his arm round my shoulder. “Guess you had a guardian angel.” I nodded and noticed that in the rubble where some of my belongings lay, was the painting. I picked it up and rubbed the dirt away. Aunt Jane was smiling that little ‘pinched mouth’ smile that I remembered well.

 

 

 

 

 
   

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