"For the Love of Jasper" One-Shot Contest
Title: The Haunting of Seguin Island
Pen name: Little Miss Whitlock
Existing work: N/A
Primary Players: Jasper and Alice
Disclaimer: I do not own the following: Twilight and its characters belong to Stephenie Meyer.
To see other entries in the "For the Love of Jasper" contest, please visit the C2:
[ Jasper ]
As the sun began to set and the night air started to chill, I shrugged into my coat and slid on my boots. I stood up from the wooden kitchen chair and tugged my cap onto my head and threw my scarf around my neck. I opened the door and the crisp November air whipped across my face, making the small whiskers of hair on my face stand at attention. I leaned my head down and began the brisk walk towards the tower. I mentally reviewed the checklist of duties for the day:
Clean and polish the lens
Clean the windows in the lantern room
Shine the brass
Sweep the floors and stairs
Clean the tower windows and sills
Maintain the log book and daily activities
Take weather reading and record in log book
Take soundings of river and inlet channels
Maintain light station launch, clean house
Keep outhouse clean, stack wood properly
Tend to garden
Maintain clean uniform
Lend assistance to ships and sailors in distress
Being winter time, the garden didn't need tending. But everything else had been done over the course of the day, which started at an early 4:30 a.m. for me. Visitors were few and far between during the cold season, but I kept my uniform clean regardless. I took my job very seriously, and in this day and age, appearance was everything.
I walked up to the tower and cursed as I grabbed the door handle and my bare skin met the cold metal. I had forgotten to grab my gloves before leaving the house, so I had to turn around and brave the cold again. I pulled open the door, poked the top half of my body inside, grabbed the gloves, and shoved my hands into them as I trekked back towards the tower.
Once inside, I exhaled loudly. Although it was still cold inside, the wind was no longer biting at my skin. I cupped my hands together and breathed into the gloves, attempting to warm myself. I had a few more tasks to attend to before heading back to the house for the night.
I started climbing the steps as I did every day, the sound of my shoes hitting the metal reverberating throughout the tower. The wind was howling outside and I shoved my hands deep into my coat pockets. I was no longer out of breath by the time I reached the top—I had been working here as the lighthouse keeper for almost five years now, since Ephraim Marr's resignation in 1875. It wasn't a luxurious lifestyle or a glamorous job, but it kept me busy and my mind occupied.
Once I reached the top of the steps, I inspected the light, taking note of the amounts of kerosene oil left and the condition of each of the five wicks. I pulled my pocket knife out and began trimming the wicks, hoping they wouldn't smoke after I lit them. I added some kerosene, enough that the light would stay well-lit through the night. After checking the conditions of the light and the room around it, I was satisfied and headed back down the stairs. After I exited the tower, I shut the door tightly and locked it, hoping it would be enough to keep the wind from whipping it open during the night.
I walked back into my house and rushed to the living room, where I shook myself in front the fireplace, trying to warm myself back up. I pulled the gloves from my fingers and let them toast up, watching them return to their pale pink state as they thawed out.
After successfully warming myself, I peeled off my cap, scarf, and jacket and hung them back on the rack in the kitchen. I pulled out a cooking pot and walked towards my small pantry, peering in at all the choices I had. I was well-stocked for winter, knowing once the weather got bad no one would be coming to or leaving the island. I grabbed a can of bean soup out, opened it, and poured it into the pot which was now warming over the stove. I put the kettle on the stove as well, heating up water for a glass of hot tea.
When it was ready, I put the soup in a bowl and the tea in a mug and sat down at my small wooden dining room table. It was nights like these that I regretted being alone. While being a young and single lighthouse keeper had its advantages for the job, it left a very lonely lifestyle for me. Growing up on the mainland I had had a few girlfriends, but as time went on, none of them seemed to want to marry a man who was interested in lighthouses—they wanted men who were going to become doctors or business owners, men with the prospect of money.
So I had taken this job in the hopes of removing myself from the world around me and hoped to spend some time to find a true calling of sorts. I had a great love and respect for the sea—she was the gateway to foreign lands and the opportunity for expansion. I had loved reading about new expeditions and tales of explorations as a child, and hoped one day to sail the seas myself.
But instead, I worked here on the island, aiding sailors and others in need of guidance and assistance. I felt it was a noble job. The only time I grew to dislike it was during the winter months when I spent my time alone.
I ate my supper leisurely and washed my dishes and put them away. I was about to head into the living room to read a book for a bit when I looked out the kitchen window and a flash caught my eye.
I leaned forward, peering out the window. A strong sense of intuition told me to travel down the island to the water's edge. I threw on my coat and hat, grabbing my lantern and heading back out into the night. It was much darker now then earlier, and the wind had a menacing bite to it. I used the lantern to guide me down the rocks toward the shore, but I didn't really need it—by now I knew the paths by heart.
As I approached the water's edge, I saw some wooden planks floating in the water—debris. A ship must have wrecked. I held the lantern out in front of me. I called out, my voice gruff in the night.
"Hello? Is anybody out there?"
The only sound that called back to me was the waves crashing against the sandy beach. I took a few tentative steps towards the water, my hand resting above my eyes to help me see.
"Is there anyone out there?" I called again, the blood in my body pumping and racing through me. There was enough debris to lead me to believe a small boat had crashed.
I shivered as the water splashed against my boots. I peered out again and gasped when I saw the body floating on top of the water.
"Hello? Are you alright?" I called out as I held the lantern out farther. When I received no response, I set it down in the sand, peeled off my jacket and scarf, and tossed them back towards the dry land. I began wading towards the body, unsure of what I would find.
The water was ice cold and I knew I didn't have long to retrieve the person if they were still alive. I swam out as quickly as I could, the water prickling my skin as hypothermia threatened to overtake me. I reached the body and pulled it close to me—it was a girl.
She was unconscious, for how long I wasn't sure, but still breathing. I swam back to shore as fast as I could, and carried her small, frail body onto the shore. I set her down and wrapped the jacket around her before scooping her back up as well as the lantern and heading towards the house.
Climbing the rocks was a bit more difficult, but I didn't give it much thought—my only worries were getting her inside and warm before she died. Hundreds of thoughts were running through my mind. What was she doing out in the water late at night? Where was she headed? What was she thinking?
I finally made it back to the house and kicked the door in, immediately bringing her to the living room near the fire. I set her down gently, checking her pulse. She seemed to be alright, but her body was in shock from the cold water. I realized I would need to get her out of the wet clothes, and immediately ran to my bedroom to retrieve fresh clothes and blankets.
I came back out to find she hadn't moved an inch, and my heart began to race. As I kneeled down next to her, I studied her features. She was tiny, but looked to be about my age, around 25, and had long, dark hair, but since it was wet I couldn't tell what color it really was. Even in a state of unrest, I could tell she was beautiful.
My hands began to tremor as I leaned over her body, beginning to undo the buttons of her dress. Not once in my life had I undressed a woman, and I was nervous as hell. What if she woke up? What if she thought I was taking advantage of her? What would she do?
What if she died, I reminded myself, and set back to work on my previous task.
My breaths were quick as I neared the buttons at the bottom of her dress. I pushed the wet fabric off her body and stared at her undergarments. My breath hitched as my eyes raked in her gorgeous body and small curves. Deciding to be a gentleman, I quickly removed my own wet clothing and threw on clean boxers and trousers. I stripped the poor girl and put my warm shirt on over her body, moving so swiftly so as to not look at her naked form. I pulled her body off the floor and tightly against my bare chest, tugging a thick blanket around her body. My hands roamed up and down her back, trying to create a warm friction to thaw her out.
I'm not sure how long I sat there repeating the same motions, but the wind continued to howl all night. I thanked the Lord for allowing me to find her when I did, and prayed for her safety. Eventually I began to grow tired, and laid our bodies in front of the fire. I spooned behind her, tucking her against me and hoping my body heat would be useful.
I awoke hours later, noting that some light was beginning to shine through the window. I looked down at the girl to see her sleeping peacefully, the peach tones seeping back into her skin. I sighed with relief as I realized she was going to be alright.
I removed myself from behind her and went to my bedroom, changing into clean clothes and brushing my teeth and hair. I went back into the kitchen and warmed the stove, putting the kettle on to make some tea.
I sat down at the rickety wooden table and put my head in my hands. Again, I silently prayed, asking God to protect this young girl and to give me the strength to be able to help her recover. After the kettle whistled, I made two cups of hot tea and took them into the living room. I sat down on the floor in front of the fire and gently nudged the sleeping girl.
She stirred slightly, and jumped when she opened her eyes and saw me staring at her. I jumped a bit myself, almost spilling the tea.
She scooted away from me, looking around the room before turning back to look at me. "Who are you? Where am I?"
I held up my hands in a gesture of truce. "My name is Jasper Whitlock. I'm the keeper here at the lighthouse on Seguin Island. I found you last night in the water."
Her grey-blue eyes stared back at me. "You-you rescued me?"
I nodded. "You were unconscious when I found you, and I brought you here. You should drink this," I said, handing her the mug of tea.
She took it and pulled it to her lips, letting the hot liquid slide down her throat. After a few moments of silence, she looked back at me. "What happened to my clothes?"
I blushed slightly and looked down at the floor. "I had to remove them because they were wet. I'm sorry; I didn't look at your body, Miss."
"It's Mary Alice. My name is Mary Alice Brandon."
"I'm sorry, Mary Alice, I meant no disrespect."
Her small, now warm, hand gently touched my forearm. "Thank you, Jasper, for saving my life."
I nodded. "Can I ask—what were you doing out there?"
Her eyes became cloudy. "I had gotten into a fight with my Pa, and took the small boat at the dock. I wasn't planning on going anywhere, but the water was awful rough, and I couldn't control the boat. The last thing I remember is hearing a cracking noise, and feeling the cold water. Then nothing."
I swallowed hard. "You could have been killed."
Her gaze dropped to the floor. "I know…it was stupid of me to try to run away. Sometimes he just makes me so angry!" Her fist connected with her leg, a slight slapping noise echoing throughout the quiet room as skin met skin.
I watched her; more like studied her. I hadn't been around a girl in at least a few months, and wasn't sure how I was supposed to act with her sitting there in my clothing.
She caught me staring and smiled softly.
I coughed. "You must be hungry."
She shrugged. "A little."
I stood from the floor and made my way towards the kitchen, pulling out the small pot and a can of soup from the pantry. I turned around to find her watching me in the doorway. My clothes swallowed her, and she had to keep hold of the pants to keep them from falling off her body.
"Sorry about the clothes—they're probably a bit big."
She laughed softly, and I was reminded of tinkling bells. "Yes, but its fine."
I stirred the soup and gestured for her to take a seat at the table. I pulled some glasses from the cabinet and opened the ice box, and pulled out a few cubes that I had cut earlier from the block that was supposed to last me through winter. I poured two glasses of water and set them on the table. I dished a bowl of soup and grabbed a spoon, setting it down in front of her. I sat down across from her and urged her to eat. She poked at the soup with her spoon before digging in elegantly. I assumed she'd had lessons on etiquette.
I smiled, relieved that she was recovering quite nicely. She giggled and my eyes flickered over to her.
"It seems silly to be eating soup for breakfast," she commented.
I blushed, feeling like a fool. "Sorry, I'm not used to being traditional around here. It's usually just me," I apologized softly.
"You don't have to apologize, Jasper."
I looked up at her and returned the warm smile she was giving me. "Well, feel free to use the bath, or take a nap; really, anything you want to do will be fine. I've got some duties to tend to so I probably won't be back before lunch time."
She nodded. "Will you be taking me back home today?"
I sighed, rubbing my hand on the back of my neck. "I don't really know how to tell you this…"
Her face went blank.
I inhaled. "I can't leave the lighthouse, in case I'm not able to get back. And since its winter, there won't be any boats coming to bring supplies…"
"None?" she asked frantically.
I shook my head. "None. I'm very sorry, Mary Alice. If a ship does come by, I'm sure they wouldn't mind giving you a ride back home. But until then, there isn't much else I can do."
I turned away from her as I saw tears welling up in her eyes. I hoped she didn't think I was lying—if there was any way that I could get her back to her family, I would.
I threw on my coat and scarf, crushing my cap on top of my curly, wild hair. I stepped out of the house and headed over to the tower, unlocking it and all but running up to the top. I leaned against the rail and exhaled deep breaths, fighting the urge to wretch. I felt so guilty about Mary Alice being trapped on the island with me—inside I felt like an ogre in a fairy tale, trapping the beautiful woman in a tower.
After the nausea subsided, I put out the light from the wicks and began performing my daily duties, grabbing a rag and beginning to clean the windows of the tower. I worked for hours, putting all of my strength and focus into this lighthouse which had been my home for the last couple years. I didn't even break for lunch, too nervous to face the girl in my house.
It was late afternoon and I was still up in the tower when I heard the metal door creak open. I leaned over, polishing the lens with the cloth when I heard footsteps on the metal stairs. I held my breath, waiting for the person to show their face, knowing it was her.
She coughed softly, alerting me to her presence. When I looked over, she had a mug in her hands, and quietly held it out for me. I took it and nodded my appreciation, taking a drag of the warm liquid as it burned deep in my chest.
"I'm sorry," she said, staring down at her feet. I noticed she had put on her shoes which had luckily dried over night. She was still wearing my clothes, but they didn't look as baggy as before.
"S'okay," I said, handing the mug back to her.
She picked at the shirt she was wearing. "I hope you don't mind, but I found a sewing kit and I figured if I was going to be here a while, I might need to wear something I don't have to drag around."
I shook my head. "What's mine is yours now."
She blushed slightly, kicking at the rail. "You didn't come in for lunch."
I rubbed at the lens. "I wasn't sure if you'd want to see me," I admitted.
"Jasper, this is your house. You rescued me from death—I owe you everything; you owe me nothing."
My heart skipped a beat, and I had to splay my palm against the lens in order to keep myself standing. I looked over at Mary Alice and my body ached to pull her near me; I had never felt this strongly about anything in my entire life, and I wasn't exactly sure what this meant.
"You don't owe me anything," I choked out, barely a whisper.
She placed her delicate hand on my forearm and my eyes shot up to hers. Without another word, she turned and retreated back down the tower. I waited until I heard the door open and close before I exhaled loudly.
Feeling like a coward, I kept cleaning and doing repairs around the lighthouse and the grounds to occupy my time, trying to put myself back together. How was it that this little woman could just show up in my life and turn around everything that I had ever known?
After the cold wind had sufficiently chilled me to the bone, I headed in the house, surprised at the smell of food. I stripped off my coat and hat, plunking them onto the coat rack. "Mary Alice?" I called out.
"In the living room," I heard her say.
I walked through the kitchen and found her curled up on the small armchair, flipping through one of my books. I watched her, her eyebrows furrowed together in concentration as she read the pages. I coughed softly, leaning against the doorway.
She looked up at me and smiled. "Hello, Jasper."
I rubbed my hand on the back of my neck. "Did you have a good day?"
She nodded. "I kept myself busy. Dinner will be ready soon if you're hungry."
I nodded. She knew I had to be hungry—I had skipped lunch. "I'll set the table," I said quietly, heading back into the kitchen. The good smells were teasing me, and I peaked into the pan, finding beef stew simmering. My stomach growled in appreciation and excitement of a good meal.
I grabbed some plates and silverware, setting them on the table. I got out two cups and set some water on for tea. Mary Alice came in a few moments later, lifting the lid on the pot and stirring around the stew. She inhaled and let out a small "mmm" of appreciation.
I went to the sink and washed my hands, and when I turned around, Mary Alice had dished up two plates of soup as well as some biscuits. I took a seat and she set the plate down in front of me before taking her own seat across from me. I smiled at her and she nodded her head, lifting her spoon.
I took a bite and my stomach groaned in happiness at how good it tasted. I'm sure my mouth was falling apart, and I heard Mary Alice giggle slightly. I looked up at her.
"You, you have some on your chin," she said, gesturing with her napkin towards her face.
I wiped at my chin with the back of my hand and felt my cheeks heat up. "This is great," I said, attempting to change the subject.
"Thank you," she said softly. I looked up and caught her staring at me. When she realized I had seen her, she darted her eyes back to her bowl. I smiled to myself, enjoying the company rather than always being alone.
We chatted lightly about our families back home, and I told her about my history with the island and the lighthouse. In turn, she told me about her family, growing up with her two older brothers and parents. We washed the dishes together; me helping her dry and put them away.
I excused myself to take care of some maintenance before coming back in for the night.
She looked up at me with curious eyes. "Can I come with you?" she asked politely.
I bit on the inside of my lower lip, contemplating the appropriateness of me taking her with me.
"Please?" she asked again. "I was so bored all day. I'd like to see what you do."
I nodded, heading into my bedroom and pulling out another cap and extra scarf. I grabbed an extra coat, knowing it would be too big on her, but I didn't want her catching a cold. I went back out into the kitchen to find her eagerly waiting by the door. I held the coat open and she snuggled herself in it, pulling it tight around her body and inhaling deeply.
I flopped the cap on her head and pulled the scarf around her neck. She giggled at me and waited while I tugged on my own gear. I opened the door and held it open for her.
"Thank you," she said as she walked out into the cold and shivered.
"Come on," I urged, gently pushing her towards the tower. "You'll freeze if you don't keep moving."
I walked briskly behind her, pulling the door open and ushering her in.
"Whew!" She exclaimed, shaking in place, trying to work off the chill.
I nodded and started climbing the steps. I kept my ears open, listening to see if Mary Alice needed any help. When I got to the top I began gathering oil for the wicks.
"Every night after dinner, I come up here to check the oil levels and light the wicks—there has to be enough oil in the wells to make it last through the night," I explained.
"Can I light one?" She asked.
I smiled. "I think that would be alright." I pulled out a measuring stick and showed it to her. "I place this in the oil well, and when I pull it back out and it hits this line," I said, indicating a full line marked on the side, "then there's enough oil for the night. But if not, we have to fill the well."
She studied the stick intently, watching as I dropped it into the first well. I pulled it back out and held it up towards her.
"More oil!" she shouted.
"Correct," I said, smiling at her enthusiasm. I poured some oil and dipped the stick again, this time finding it up to the right level.
I let her measure the next one, studying her as her eyebrows furrowed together in concentration.
"Very good," I congratulated as she finished all on her own. We finished the rest together and locked up for the night, shuffling back into the house and laughing.
"That was…surprisingly fun," she noted, shedding the overly large coat and scarf.
"Yes," I agreed, taking of my coat, too.
"Go sit and relax, I'll make us some tea." She began pulling out the kettle and adding water, turning on the stove. "Go. Shoo!"
I held my hands up in resignation. "Alright, alright," I muttered as I walked into the living room and stoked the fire, trying to warm up the small house. Once I started to feel toasty, I removed my boots and set them next to my armchair, stretching my legs out towards the fire. I leaned my head back and closed my eyes, letting myself doze.
I jolted awake as I felt Mary Alice's foot nudge my calf. "What? Huh? I wasn't sleeping!" I called out.
She jumped back but managed to catch herself before spilling the two mugs of tea in her hands. "I'm so sorry, it was an accident! Well, it wasn't exactly an accident, but I didn't mean to startle you!"
I laughed, taking one of the mugs from her hand and sipping it. "It's fine; no harm done."
She sat on the floor, curling her legs up beneath her as she stared into the fire and drank her tea. I studied her, from her tiny nose to her milky white skin. The more I got to know Mary Alice, the more my mind began to weave intricate stories about her past or the things that her and I could do together during the warmer months on the island. Perhaps I had been alone for too long, and my mind was getting the best of me, making me wish and want for things. I had always wanted to settle down eventually, but convinced myself that now was not the time in my life.
But now…now that this girl, this woman, this angel was here…
I shook myself out of my mental daydream and looked down into my mug, scowling at myself for being so bold.
"Tell me more about the lighthouse and the island," Mary Alice asked, looking up at me with eager eyes.
"What would you like to know?"
"I heard," she said as she leaned closer towards me, her voice turning to a whisper, "that it's haunted."
I small laugh escaped me as I shook my head. "That's an old wives' tale—I've been hear for almost five years now and I have never seen or heard any ghosts around here."
Her smile dropped and was replaced with a frown.
"But I can tell you the story of Edward Masen."
She raised an eyebrow. "Edward Masen?"
I nodded. "He used to be a lighthouse keeper here about twenty years ago."
She set her mug down on the floor and hugged her knees to her chest. "Was he killed?"
I set my mug down on the end table and brushed my hands over my knees. I leaned towards Alice and spoke in soft, gentle tones.
"Edward Masen had just been hired to be the new keeper, and was young, much like me, around 22, 23. He was excited about being able to combine his love for the sea with being able to provide for his family. He was newly married to his wife, Isabella. The story claims she was the most beautiful woman on the East coast, and Edward was head over heels in love with her.
"At first they were very happy, spending time together exploring the island and making this very house into a home for the two of them. But after they had settled in and life became more routine Isabella became very bored. Edward did everything he could think of to insure her happiness, but no matter what he did, she still remained unhappy.
"Distraught, Edward talked with some of his friends and family from back home. Together they came up with a plan, and one day a piano was delivered to the Lighthouse before winter set in. One afternoon, Edward and a few helpers carried the piano, inch by inch, up the rocks and to this very house. Isabella was ecstatic about the present, thanking Edward profusely and humming all day long while it was brought into the house and then tuned.
"But Isabella had a problem—she could not play the piano without sheet music. Edward felt like failure, but luckily the piano had come with one piece—Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. Storytellers claim that Isabella set out to learn the tune, spending most of her days and into the late nights plunking away at the keys. Edward was grateful that his wife was now happy once again, so he never complained.
"Winter set in, and much of the water iced over, preventing any other deliveries or boats to come in. Isabella finally learned the tune, and since she could only play while reading sheet music played the song over and over. Edward began to go crazy, and often would leave the house for hours, walking the grounds, tending to the lighthouse, simply so he wouldn't have to listen to her playing.
"Once spring came around and the ice had melted, Edward sent away for more sheet music for Isabella, in hopes of finding relaxation for the both of them. But to his dismay, even though she had new music, she would still only play the Moonlight Sonata. The story says that one night, Edward finally cracked under the stress and pressure.
"While Isabella was sitting at the piano, Edward snuck quietly out to the shed behind the house. There he grabbed an axe and crept back into the house. While Isabella was playing, it has been said that his green eyes turned a dark black and he lost control, pushing her away from the piano and hacking it into pieces. Isabella cried, begging him not to do it, but he was too far gone.
"He told her to stop crying, but she refused. Filled with rage and anger, he turned the axe on his wife and chopped her into pieces as well, nearly decapitating her. After he was finished, he realized what a horrible thing he had done, and, overcome with guilt, took his own life.
"When ships passing by noticed the lighthouse was not lit, they stopped to investigate. Once they had climbed the rocks, they found the remains of Edward and Isabella Masen. Sailors buried the remains somewhere in the forest behind the lighthouse. To this day, it's been said that on a still and quiet night, you can hear Isabella playing the Moonlight Sonata. And, if one is very lucky, or unfortunate, however you look at it, they will hear the cries of Edward Masen from the top of the lighthouse, mourning in the guilt of what he has done."
I looked over to Mary Alice, and she was visibly shaking.
"So, you've never seen them?"
I shook my head. "Not since I've been here. People have come to visit and say that they've heard Isabella playing, and my mother claims that she's seen Edward."
Her eyes were huge, staring straight at me. "So why do you think you haven't seen either of them?"
I picked my mug back up and took a sip of the now lukewarm tea. "I guess I don't really believe in it. I mean, sure, I believe that the story happened—there's records to prove Edward Masen was the lighthouse keeper and he lived here with his wife Isabella. And there is proof that they both were killed on this island. But what I don't believe is that their souls still haunt this island."
"You don't believe in…ghosts?" she whispered.
"I'm assuming that you do?" I asked.
She nodded. "I certainly do! Great-Grandpa Brandon used to haunt my family's cabin—I saw him when I was a little girl. I woke up in the night from a terrible dream when I saw him, standing in the doorway, watching me. I screamed, and he walked over and soothed me, telling me that I was alright, that he was my Great-Grandfather, and that he would always be protecting me."
I was slightly intrigued. "Did you ever see him again?"
She nodded. "When Grandma Brandon passed away, I saw him at the funeral. He was in the back corner. When I left the room, he grabbed my hand. I promise you, Jasper, I never felt more at peace than I did at that moment."
I ran my hand over my face, inhaling deeply. When I looked at her again, she was staring at me with such strength and belief. How could I tell her I still didn't believe?
"You don't understand because it hasn't happened to you. I don't fault you for being a skeptic," she spoke quietly, studying the floor, her finger running across the grooves in the woven rug.
Watching her and seeing her conviction made me ache; it made me want to believe.
We sat by the fire for what felt like hours, not talking, just watching the flames and enjoying the warmth. After a while, I caught Mary Alice stifling a yawn.
"It's getting late, you should probably get some sleep," I said, standing and wiping my hands on my pants.
She stood as well, taking our mugs in her hand. "If you'll just get me a pillow and a blanket…"
I furrowed my brow.
"So I can sleep?" she asked, staring at my quizzically.
I shook my head. "You can have the bedroom. I will sleep out here."
"I couldn't impose that on you," she began, rambling about how wrong it was to put me out of my bedroom.
I held up my hand. "Mary Alice, stop. You're going to stay in the bedroom and that's final." I walked over to the closet, pulling out an extra blanket, and retrieving the extra pillow from my bedroom. I grabbed my pajamas and walked back out into the living room, tossing them on the chair.
"Jasper, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to be so harsh earlier…"
"Don't worry about it. I want you to be comfortable while you are here."
She smiled weakly. "You are a real gentleman, Jasper Whitlock."
I fought the blush I felt creeping up on my cheeks. "My parents taught me to never disrespect a lady, that's all."
She closed the distance between us and placed her hand on my forearm again, giving it a gentle squeeze. "Thank you, really."
I swallowed thickly and nodded. "You're welcome," I somehow managed out.
"Goodnight, Jasper," she said softly, releasing my arm and walking towards my bedroom. She shut the door quietly and I exhaled loudly.
I looked around the living room and picked up my pajamas, walking into the closet and changing in case she walked back out. After stumbling into some coats, I managed to slip the pants on correctly and button the shirt.
I unfolded the blanket and set the pillow on the couch. I sprawled my body out across, groaning at the lack of comfort from the springs beneath me. I pulled the blanket across me and closed my eyes, listening to the crackling of the fire. I got up and added a few more pieces of wood to last through the night and settled back on the couch.
I laid there for a while, thinking about Mary Alice and how my life had changed in the last day that she'd been here. It was hard to believe that one woman could make that much of a difference in me so soon.
Eventually I drifted off to sleep, but woke up later as I turned, trying to get comfortable, and heard a strange noise. I rubbed at my eyes and sat up groggily. I waited for a few minutes and didn't hear the noise again, so I shifted back down into the couch and shut my eyes.
As if on cue, just as I was falling back asleep, I started hearing the noise. Instantly, my heart stopped beating and I don't think I was breathing. Far off in the distance I could hear a tinkling sound…
Piano keys. Moonlight Sonata.
"No," I groaned, feeling my heart drop down into my stomach. I took a deep breath and listened again.
Moments later, I heard the song begin again followed by a moan. I knew it wasn't from Mary Alice because it sounded like it was outside.
My hands started to feel clammy and I think my pulse was beating in my temples. I thought about getting up and investigating, but was too terrified to even move.
The song kept stopping and repeating, with an occasional moan. Could it really be Isabella and Edward? And how come it had taken five years for them to come to me?
"I'm just paranoid," I said to myself. "I'm just worked up over something that isn't real."
I dozed back off, waking up later as the piano music was louder, much closer now. It sounded like it was right outside the house. My body instantly tensed underneath the blanket, and for a moment I contemplated reverting back to my childlike ways and hiding under the covers.
"I'm sorry, I'm so sorry," the voice of what I could only assume was Edward Masen's ghost called out.
At that point, I determined that I was now a believer in ghosts. A cold sweat broke out all over my body, and a chill had come across the room. The logs in the fireplace sizzled as if someone had just poured water over them, the room darkening.
I felt goose bumps crawl up my arms, the hairs on the back of my neck standing straight up. This was no longer happening outside—whoever, or whatever, this was, was in the room with me.
"W-w-who's there?" I called shakily.
No one answered.
I waited for something—anything. But nothing came.
A rattling noise came from the kitchen, like someone was searching in the pantry.
"Our Father, who art in Heaven," I began, terrified out of my mind.
My breath hitched in my throat.
"Jasper!" she called again.
I tried to blink back the fear that was causing my hands to clench up and slowly removed the blanket from on top of me. The noises were still faint in the kitchen and I slowly crept towards the sound of my name.
I turned the door handle and pushed slowly, trying not to startle her.
She was there, sitting in the middle of the bed, huddled under the blanket, her head poking out. Her eyes were wide and she looked like she was shaking.
I crossed the room and sat next to her. Without a second's notice, she flung her body at me.
"Jasper," she called out sadly.
I wrapped my arms around her body, rubbing her back gently. "It's okay Mary Alice."
"Did you hear?" she asked, her face buried in my chest.
I nodded. "Yes."
"Do you believe now?" she looked up at me with wide eyes.
I gulped and nodded. How could I not?
"I don't think they will hurt us, but it's just so sad. They can't be together and are doomed to spend eternity apart."
I nodded, still rubbing her back. Her shivers had subsided, but now it was a comforting gesture for me as well as her.
"All this time they never showed until you came here," I said to no one, staring towards the door. The sounds had stopped finally and I felt my heart rate going back down to normal. Now I was concentrating on the fact that I was touching Mary Alice, in my bed, in my house, alone.
I sighed. "Do you think you can go back to sleep?" I asked politely.
I felt her body tense next to mine. She looked up at me with sad eyes. "Please don't leave me. I'm not scared now, but if they come back…" she began to panic.
"Shh, shh, it's alright, you're alright," I whispered softly, my hands rubbing her back again.
"What if they hurt you?" she asked.
"Why would they want to hurt me?"
"You're the new keeper," she said as if that made it clear.
I raised an eyebrow. "Yes?"
"They usually don't want new keepers around."
"I've been here five years. If they had wanted me out by now they would have done so already."
She hugged me tighter. "Please don't leave me."
I stared at her, mesmerized. "I won't. Now lay down."
She stretched her legs down the bed and pulled the blanket snug to her body. I laid my body near hers, but not touching.
"When I was a little boy, my mother used to always recite this Bible verse to me when I was scared. Would you like to hear it?"
She nodded and scooted closer to me, pulling my arm around her body. "I feel safer this way," she said softly. "My mother would always hold me when I was scared."
My body felt alive—more alive than it had ever felt. All the nerves in my body felt like they were standing on end, flickering underneath my skin. I was tingling—no longer from being scared. My hand tucked gently on top of hers, giving her a reaffirming squeeze.
"Be strong and of good courage; be not frightened, neither be dismayed; for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9."
"That's lovely," she said softly, her voice fading as she drifted to sleep.
"Mmm," I agreed.
She fell asleep shortly after, tucking her body even closer to mine. I watched her chest rise and fall with her even breathing, and smiled warmly to myself. For the first time in my life, I felt truly content.
"You are lovely, too," I whispered in her ear as I dozed off to sleep.
A/N: Hello dear reader, hope you enjoyed the story! Please leave me a review and let me know what you thought!
The lighthouse and its location are real: Seguin Island is off the coast of Maine. Lighthouse keepers and visitors to the island have reported hearing piano music, stemming back from the ghost story.