The Lighthouse

15-year old Zane sat in the warm sand in front of the broken-down beach-house he'd been hiding in. Looking down the beach he could see it was totally deserted. Not that he was surprised at this. This whole town had only about 50 people in it, and almost seemed to be isolated from the rest of America, like maybe it was an island floating out in the middle of no-where, drifting slowly along and keeping to itself. Indeed, this town certainly did keep to itself, and for that reason had seemed unaffected by the pulse, and remained the same as it had for centuries.

It was the perfect place for a kid like him to hide, even though he was an `outsider', and the townspeople had a natural distrust for others of that kind.

There was absolutely no law-enforcement here, and no communication with the outside world. But there was also no chance of anyone suspecting Zane of being a `killer' anyway.

He smiled and looked out to the sea, watching the sun set on another uneventful day. The light breeze blew through his light blonde hair, and the salty ocean smell that seemed to be everywhere made him smile even more.

A sudden noise made him look up and check his surroundings. He relaxed when he saw that it was only an old fisherman who'd come down to watch the sunset. Zane silently hoped that he'd be left alone. No such luck.

"Hey there little feller. What's your name?" Zane flinched at being called little, before continuing to stare at the man suspiciously. "A bit shy are you? Well then, my name's Bill." The fisherman reached his hand out to Zane, who took a few seconds to decide whether this guy was a `danger', before shaking his hand.

"My family named me Zane." He said in his usual, quiet tone.

"Well that's a nice name. Hello Zane." Bill sat down next to him and waited a few moments before continuing. "Can't say I've seen you around here before. Where's your family?"

"Uh...my brothers and sisters all live in other cities. I live alone." Somehow, Zane felt he could trust this man, and didn't think it was necessary to lie to him.

"I see..." For a few minutes nothing was said, the two of them just sitting in a comfortable silence.

Bill shifted his gaze to a notebook the Zane was holding. "What have you got there Zane? If you don't mind me asking."

Zane held up the book. "You mean this? Oh it's just a...story that I was writing..."

The fishermen looked surprised. "You're a writer?"

"I...guess I am..."

"You don't meet many writers these days. Especially ones your age. What do you write about?"

Zane hesitated. "Anything really...sometimes I just write whatever I see. Or sometimes when I have nightmares, I write them down too. It helps to sort out how I feel..."

The old man looked at him sympathetically, it was easy to tell that Zane was one very troubled young Man.

He nodded at the notebook that was now lying in the sand. "What's that one about?"

"It's about a- family."

"A family you say? Keep going."

"Brothers and sisters all living in a house, out in a forest..."

"Now why are they living in a forest?"

"Because no-one will find them there. They'll be...safe. No one will hurt them, or take them away. And they'll all stay together forever."

"And why are people trying to hurt them?" He silently urged Zane to continue, feeling he was getting closer to the real mystery of this boy.

"They don't understand us- I mean them. So the kids have to keep hiding."

Bill nodded, looking at Zane sadly. He wished he could help the young boy, though he could think of nothing that would cure the pain that was shining through Zane's eyes.

"What's it called?"

"It doesn't have a title. I've been trying to think of one for a while." Zane once again looked out to the ocean, his eyes scanning the horizon. "Bill? What's that?" he asked, pointing to a tall tower standing on some rocks out on the distance.

Bill again looked at him with a surprised expression. "That's a lighthouse son. Haven't you seen one before?"

"What's a lighthouse?"

"Well, it's a tower with a light in the top. At night the light shines out over the sea, warning sailors to be wary of the rocks near the shore."

"So the lighthouse guides them?"

"That it does."

"It...stops them from crashing. It keeps them safe?"

"Yes, I suppose it does." He looked at Zane curiously. Zane almost seemed to be talking to himself, and looked like he was in deep thought. Bill thought this might be a good time to leave the young boy. "Well I'd better be getting home now. It was very nice to meet you Zane. I hope we see each other again."

"Yes...goodbye Bill." Zane gave him a quick smile before going back to his deep thinking. Bill smiled back and then silently walked away, stopping briefly to look at him once more, and hope that whatever demons were chasing him would eventually disappear and give him peace.

`The lighthouse,' Zane thought, `I like it- not directly relating to the story, and although it doesn't mean anything, it could somehow mean everything.' Those kids could use a lighthouse, something to guide them, to keep them safe and stop them from crashing. `I think just about everyone could use a lighthouse of some kind...' Zane yawned, then opened his eyes in surprise. It wasn't often that he felt tired, but for some reason he just felt very relaxed after finally deciding on a title for his story. `I guess I'll just go find somewhere to sleep...'

Zane stood up and gave a final look out to sea. He smiled, the closed his eyes and tried to imagine what his siblings were doing now. Were they thinking of him? Were they also wishing that one day they would be together again? "My brothers and sisters...wherever you are, I hope you are all safe, and that you all have a lighthouse to guide you and keep you out of danger. I hope- no, I know- that one day we'll find each other again. I miss you all so much."

Bill stood in the distance watching Zane for a little while longer, before finally turning around and walking away, leaving with the knowledge that maybe he'd helped Zane find a little bit of peace.