The wind howled. It howled day and night. Like a hellish beast, it crawled up from the sea cliffs and whispered among the dark evergreens. It made dry limbs snap and the ferns shiver along the damp path to the lighthouse. The lightkeeper’s muddied boots fell heavily in the puddles. He bent his head against the rain but hardly noticed the cold. All he could think of was his wife.
She had begged him to stay in. She said she could not bear the wind any longer. Let the light go out, she said. Let the ships crash. Let the ocean take the sailors. She did not care. She wanted to return to their home, a cottage far from the sea.
He had told her that she was just tired. She had not been sleeping, not for some time. When he did not work the night shift, he would find her checking every window in the house to be sure it was locked or scribbling letters to her sister, though she would not be able to send them for weeks.
He could hear the wind even as he carried oil up 201 steps to the lamp. Once lit, he stood before the flame and welcomed the warmth, knowing he would have to brave the elements to keep the windows clear.
It was while he stood on the walk outside the lantern room that he happened to look down. The light passed through the darkness, and he saw her silhouette in the fog. Her nightgown billowed out behind her. Her hair rose in long wisps.
For a moment, he thought she was coming to find him, but she flew past the lighthouse at an alarming pace. It struck him at once. She was running for the cliff. He shouted her name. The wind swallowed it. She spread her arms wide, her feet caressed the air, and then, she vanished.
When morning came, he moved, pale as a ghost, through the empty house. He checked every window. Then, he sat down at her writing desk. His hands shook as he unfolded her last letter.
I will give the wind my voice to remind you why I have gone.
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