Unbound Story One: What Is There To Love?

To the lighthouse
Category: Reading

   First prompt:

Irresponsible Seaside Romance by Jean Atkin

 

I Capture the Castle

One Dimensional Man

Take a Girl Like You

Full Tilt

To the Lighthouse

 

***

 

What Is There To Love?

By George Anderson

 

    The beam from the lighthouse exposes me on the rocks, before the night swallows me up once more.

 

   I have fallen a long way. I must look very small to you.

 

    Nobody here wanted the lighthouse. It was forced on us. The people like nothing better than a good shipwreck. It provides the occasional luxury. And any crewman with the agility to make it ashore in one piece – well, they’re a valuable addition to the gene pool. The weak perish but the strong sometimes survive.

 

   Why would anybody want an expensive big light to turn away these gifts of the sea – these boxes of blood oranges, timber for the taking and strapping sailors with a glint in their eye like mica.

 

   We stopped short of luring ships onto the rocks, but saw no reason to actively repel this fabulous flotsam and jetsam.

 

   But our rulers in The Castle forced the lighthouse on us, as they have forced much else besides. We are a small country, dominated by our bigger neighbour.

 

   I’m an ardent and passionate patriot. I have dedicated my life to the cause.   I was just ten years old when I decided I would fight to win her, this glorious country and her feisty people.

 

 I grew up in the youth movement. We were a tiny minority back then, going off to camp in the caress of the land. We talked politics round the fire, and roamed the country learning the romance of feldspar, garnet, gneiss and schist.

 

  By the time I entered my twenties the movement was beginning to make headway with the people. And I was rising through the ranks.  I emerged as thrusting leader of the movement and we were on the point of taking the people with us to an ecstatic new future.

 

  But naysayers seduced the people with scare stories. I was jilted when it came time for the final push.

 

   What is there to love?

 

   People come and go like the tides.  Only the land is constant.

 

  In my despair I longed to return to its sweet musty soil. I was drawn to the mountain slopes, and tantalising glimpses of rivers that might pull me under. But it is the salt tang of the coast that attracts me most.

 

   And so here I am on this shore as the light makes another pass.

 

   I find a tempting cleft.

 

   I touch it briefly with a finger and find a slick of algae that will ease my way.

 

   Specks of quartz glint through the slime as the light sweeps over again.

 

   It seems like the sea hisses as the hot beam rushes over it, but I realise it is my breath, which is coming heavy now.

 

   And it feels like the light is caressing my bare behind with each sweep. 

 

   My movements fall into its rhythm.

 

   We are going full tilt.

 

   And I love my country.

 

***

 

Next week's prompt: Burning house - what object would you save? Give us your answers on facebook and twitter to inspire our next writer, Kirstin Innes.

 

For more information on 'It Will Be All Write On The Night' at Unbound, Edinburgh International Book Festival, go to previous blog post.