Timothy Wilkie is a writer living on the water front in Kingston, New York. He has two grown sons: Justin and Blake, and his Golden Retriever Marley.

by Timothy Wilkie

Her trepidation and apprehension increased because the sky was blackening. Gray clouds gathered but no rain fell yet, although she knew it was coming. The blue patch that had fought so valiantly would soon surrender to the darkness.

Kim squinted out the car window at the road which wound around forever. She was young and in love. She and David were on their honeymoon. It had been a whirlwind romance but it felt right to her.

The rumble of thunder slithered across the land and the ice cold rain finally made its appearance, knotting her intestines up in a ball. It was getting to be night and she didn’t like the way this road wound around the cliffs with no guard rails.

David spotted the old lighthouse first and quoted: “It was along the night coast where eerie shadows labored in the dark all around the light. They were the ghosts of pirates and smugglers that had died upon the treacherous coast in the days before it cast its illumination upon the craggy shore.”

Kim continued for him: “She had seen the sea when it was stormy and wild and watched the white wispy clouds rise up at dawn. Her life there for the most part had been serene as long as she had asked no questions. She had walked the path that went along the jagged cliffs and had scanned the rocks below but to no avail. He was just gone; vanished into thin air. On a rainy night he had walked down to the lighthouse to check on things as he did every night and never returned.”

“You remember all that?” David asked.

She smiled. “As the night had grown cold so had her heart. It was cold from the fear that they who he had protected for so long had lured him to his death. The lighthouse without Elwyn was just a place of doom, drawing ships around the point only to crush them on the rocks. Elwyn’s family had always tended the beam.”

She stopped and then said, “Of course I remember your book. It was one of the things that attracted me to you.”

“Okay, I got one for you. Do you remember the character’s name?” David asked.

“Of course. It’s a ghost story about Henretta Green and the lighthouse.”

“Well,” David confessed, “this is the lighthouse I wrote about.”

Twenty minutes later they pulled down the driveway to the B&B. It was a little chilly after the rain, made more so by the wind that blew about their faces when they got out of the car. As she looked down at the inn, she bounced on her toes to keep warm, her arms folded tightly around her chest. “It’s perfect David, just perfect.”  


Kim slept late but she was dreaming of food, so she woke up hungry. She showered and headed downstairs, fully expecting that David would be waiting for her. She walked through the parlor and into the kitchen where their host Mrs. Tass had the table all set out with everything you could imagine and some stuff you couldn’t.

“Where’s my husband?” she asked. “I bet he’s pissed at me. He wanted to get an early start to explore the lighthouse and it’s already afternoon.”

“I don’t know dear; I haven’t seen him.” She was just a stick of a woman built like a ruler, straight up and down. “I figured being newlyweds, you were both sleeping in.”

Kim grabbed a corn muffin and started out the door. “I didn’t think he’d go to the lighthouse without me.”

“Well, if you want to follow him, you can’t miss it. Just go down the trail along the bluffs, but you be careful! It can be treacherous. You hear me, child?” Mrs. Tass warned. “When the tide comes in, those boulders get wet and slick with gull shit.”


The coast didn’t seem quite so terrifying as it had been at night. Even in daylight, the lonely beam of the lighthouse reached out into the ocean and revealed the craggy shore in waves. She passed through the layered shadows of the evergreens that dotted the bluff and saw no movement except the boughs that waved in the breeze. The shore was so rocky below that it was obvious it had no appeal to the surfers or the beach crowd; its emptiness making it a lonely place.

She saw the purple shadows of what the locals called the kings, which were simply the cliffs that faced out over the bay. White clouds scurried just below the bluffs like spectral hounds on a endless hunt.

Kim couldn’t help but remember when she and her sister had sat on the beaches at Cape Cod; two pale sisters from Boston on holiday listening to the breakers moan and shivering in the chilly air. She remembered what her father had always said: “If you don’t like the weather on the cape, give it a few minutes and it will change.” She imagined it was like that here, too, because it was a beautiful morning despite last night’s storm.

Kim watched as seagulls rushed, wrathful across the water, seeking fish for their supper. They stood far out on the rocky ledges but it was all dwarfed by the massive masonry of the lighthouse. It really was huge. It wasn’t just tall, it was big all around. She felt humbled by its size.

“David!” she called. Perhaps he was on the seaside and couldn’t hear her over the surf.

The tide was in and the waves washed inland, crashing on the rocks with a vengeance. There was nothing else to be seen except a vast expanse of ocean. Not a ship marred the view. When she turned, it was just the rocks and the lighthouse. Salt was in the air and a whisper of wind helped to fly the seabirds across the bay.

David was nowhere to be seen.

Kim made her way carefully along the rocks until she got down to the structure. On the wall was a plaque that read:


Wait, so David’s book had been a true story? All this time she was under the impression that it was fiction; a ghost story. She felt kicked in the gut.

Neither David nor she had ever been to this part of Maine before. Isn’t that what David had told her? Yet she realized that the descriptions of the lighthouse in his book were exactly how the structure looked in real life.

Where was David?

“David!” she cried. The waves came in hard and the surf silenced her voice. She seemed frozen upon the rocks stuck in place. This is crazy, she thought. Then she felt frightened. Could something have happened to David?

Maybe he’s down on the other side, Kim thought as she hung up. She followed the path around the lighthouse through the shadows. The sky suddenly looked peculiar; like a storm was coming once again, a big storm.

As she came around the far side of the lighthouse, she was deafened by the roar of the surf. Her heart pounded as the clouds thickened and went from wispy to dark and foreboding. The storm seemed to be coming right up the bluffs as the wind tried to lift her off her feet and throw her to the rocks.

Tuffs of tall yellow grass growing all the way to the treeline on the bluff were her only witnesses. She raised her hand to her forehead to shade her eyes as she looked out at the expanse of ocean and the coming storm. The veil of fog and rain closed in on her as the temperature plummeted. She pulled her coat tighter around her. She decided right then at that moment she hated that lighthouse. She hated the sun-scorched grass and the silence and seclusion of the place; the way the air felt sick and heavy with salt. 

Most of all, she hated that she was starting to question her husband.

She began climbing the rocks to the lighthouse. When she reached the structure, she saw that the entrance door was slightly ajar. She was surprised that she hadn’t noticed it before. She took one last look at the rugged shoreline before she entered.

Standing just inside the door, she yelled up the metal stairs. “David?” It had to have been him who opened the entrance door. Who else? There was no one else around except Mrs. Tass and Kim couldn't imagine her climbing on those rocks she wasn't a young woman.

The place smelled very old and decrepit. Inside, the floor panels were pulled up and the paint on the walls (a plain institutional gray) was peeled and had big black spots mildew on them. Surprisingly, the windows were all intact and had been closed up tight, making the smell inside musky and damp.

It was chilly, vacant, and bare and for some reason it reminded her of the old pool room at the YMCA. Her sister Amanda use to take her there so they could watch the boys swim. Maybe it was the hollow echo of the place like voices on tile walls and cement floors of the YMCA? Who knew? 

This was no YMCA because it gave her the Hebe-jeebees. The goosebumps were all lined up in tiny little rows on both her arms, and her hair follicles stood at attention.

The dulcet sound of the lighthouse as it breathed wind up the metal stairs muffled something terrifying. It was a soft, plaintive moaning from somewhere deep within the structure. A streak of lightening and the strong smell of sulfur suddenly assaulted her senses. Covering her nose and mouth she muttered out loud, “Something is rotten in here.” It stunk of soft, mushy, decaying flesh, like an animal beside the road left to fester and bake in the sun.

Apprehensively she took a few more steps inside. The storm had gotten worse and logically she knew she should head back, but she was worried about David. Kim stood there dead still and then took a step back. Despite her worry about her husband, primal fear made her want to take flight.

The structure moaned and groaned as the storm pressed hard against it. The reflections of flashing lights made images of huge insects battling one another on the walls. Hairy spider legs flailed out at crab like pincers while bug eyed antenna waved uselessly in mid-air. They stared at her helplessly like a fly caught in a web.

Her heart raced in her chest as she turned to leave. She had to get back to the inn!

Her eyes strained in their sockets as she moved back down the stairs. Shadows loomed all around her with jagged edges and razor-sharp claws. By placing her right foot on the bottom step, she knew she was ignoring everything that she valued in her life: her new husband. Despite her intense love, she knew she could not look for him any longer.

Her palms were sweaty and she wanted to run out of that place and never look back, but it was getting hard to see and she need to move slowly so she would not slip and fall. Automatically her left foot followed her right and all she could hear was the sound of her own ragged breath.

Just then there were two loud thumps from upstairs. “David!” she cried out.

Kim froze; all her breath felt trapped like there was none left to use. She felt like someone had a noose around her neck and was pulling it tight. Something told her that was not David. She tried to listen harder but all she could hear was her own breath and the pounding of her own heart.

When she finally reached the entrance door, she discovered it was closed. Kim tried putting her shoulder to it, and it slammed open wide, spilling her into dim light of the day. She stumbled and collapsed on a slippery rock.

She quickly scrambled to her feet. Suddenly she heard the metal entrance door moan behind her and she spun around on her toes and swung wildly. Something had been there; she had felt the weight and its breath on the back of her neck.

I’ve got to get out of here! she thought as she made her way towards the shoreline. She knew, she just knew, that she was being followed. The presence did not feel like it loved her; it felt like an enemy.

Tears of terror streamed down her cheeks. Why had she decided to come here all alone? She should have listened to Mrs. Tass. This place was treacherous, just like the innkeeper had told her.

Just then David appeared in front of her. “Oh my god, David!” she cried in relief. Then she hesitated, feeling uncertain. Something wasn’t right with David.

“Sweetie, you can’t go,” David told her, his voice raised to be heard above the wind. “Don’t you remember the ending of my book?”


She reached up and touched a bump on her forehead and it hurt so she left it alone. She must have fallen and hit her head. Wait! she thought. She had looked for David and found him. So why was she lying on the metal floor in the darkness of the lighthouse?

The inside of the lighthouse would have been very dark, except for the incredible brightness of the lamp as it traveled across the ocean. It lit up the room in waves as it moved from window to window. She thanked god for the lamp, or else she would be in total darkness inside, even in the daytime.

Using the metal railing at the bottom of the stairs, she stood up slowly. She had no dizziness so she was probably all right; no concussion.

She headed for the entrance door, remembering that she had done that same thing earlier. She could hear a certain ferocity to the storm. So it was still raining, she thought. As she grabbed the doorknob to give it a twist, it didn’t budge. You’re locked in! her brain screamed.

With the storm and the booming of the surf, she knew her screams would never be heard. David had acted so strangely, and it had to be him who locked her inside the lighthouse. What had he said? Wasn’t it “Don’t you remember the ending of my book?”

And she did remember.

She dug in her pants pocket and couldn’t believe that her cell phone was still there. Could she get reception inside the mason walls?

She called Mrs. Tass. It rang twice and went to voicemail: “You have called The Gables. If you wish to make a reservation, please leave your name and number and I will call you back.”

“Mrs. Tass! I’m in the lighthouse! I’m in trouble! Help me!”

She hung up and dialed 911. She heard the ring, but then suddenly it was quiet. Oh no! she thought frantically. She had been so focused on her husband the night before that she never plugged it into the charger.

She hadn’t realized how tense she was until she tried to get her muscles to unwind. Her eyes were wide with terror as she scanned the upper levels of the light house. In a flash of the lamplight, she saw something with slumped shoulders. It was standing still about halfway up the metal stairs. She couldn’t tell for sure in the moving lamplight, but the thing looked like it had horns.

Impossible! Her fear was causing her to imagine the impossible.

What was that? She swore she heard a ghostly sigh. And then a horrible laugh reverberated off the concrete walls.

Kim threw herself against the door again with no result. Then she eyed the windows. Could she reach one and pull herself up and out? She headed towards the nearest window, her hands groping the walls to steady herself.

Just then her feet hit something lying on the floor and she tripped and went down, banging both her knees. Her legs were scraped on the cold, rough concrete. She screamed out in pain and frustration and helplessness, the sound echoing up and down and back and forth and all around her. It was like the lighthouse itself was mocking her.

Something was lying on the floor. It looked like David except something was off; something was wrong.

“David!” Kim screamed as the creature lifted itself to an upright position. She could see it wasn’t her husband; it was a monster that resembled a distorted version of her husband. He stunk of sulfur as he pressed her to the floor and put his hand over her mouth.

As she lay, suffocating, she could see another form behind David. The woman watched as the creature positioned itself, panting and moaning.

Then the woman said, “I am Henrietta Green, and I have been haunting this lighthouse until I could find a victim to replace me. A curse has dictated that there must always be a ghost in this lighthouse for all time. I am going to be replaced by you, Kim. That’s how I will be free to leave this earth. I was trapped in this lighthouse until I found another to take my place. David was never his name; he made it up and married you to lure you here. David’s real name is Elwood and on certain times of the year, he can portray himself in human form. As you can see, that time of year is over.”