Part Two of the Keeper
Here you go, part two of the Keeper. Enjoy! For those of you who missed Part one, find it here.
The Keeper, Part Two (All Rights Reserved)
The voices began as he reached the bottom of the stairs. They began as faint whispers coming from just beyond the walls of his two small rooms. He had gotten used to them. They had been the background noise of his life since coming north and easy to ignore like the buzzing of a fly.
Not tonight. Not with the full waxing of the moon and the darkness nearly overcoming the light. Tonight the voices would be raised to the noise of a crowded ale house.
He pressed his hands against his ears and tried to block out their tempting voices. The soft, alluring voices of women, the commanding voices of men and the gentle tyranny of children all demanded that he come into the darkness.
“Come, Keeper, come to us”
“Come out, walk into the sea, be done with your duty.”
“You have been abandoned, why fight it?”
He sat on his bed and put his head in his hands. After a few moments, the volume of the voices seemed to wane a bit, and he looked up. He took in the small space that had become his whole life. A wooden table where he ate his meals stood just to his left. A bookshelf containing all the books he could carry in his pack lined the wall to his right. The door to the kitchen stood in front of him. The sight of it reminded him that he needed to eat.
The Keeper also hoped the task of making his meal would drowned out the voices that had begun to raise their voices again.
“Come to us, Keeper. You can forget everything, here in the dark.”
“No more pain”
“No more struggle”
“Shut up” he yelled at the wooden door just to the left of the kitchen.
All the voices snickered.
Furious with himself, he walked into the kitchen to make his dinner. He lit the stove to cook his dinner and grabbed two potatoes for his soup. Taking a knife, he sliced into the potatoes. Each thrust made a dull thud against the wood of the cutting board. Grabbing some herbs, he sliced with a few more quick cuts. He grabbed a metal pot and walked to the metal water pump at the center of the kitchen. With a grunt, he put all of his weight on the metal handle and began to pump the water. After a few quick thrusts, water poured into the metal pot filling it half way.
He lifted the pot on to the stove, threw in his chopped ingredients and set down near the stove. He realized the voices had stopped, the slight hiss of his cooking soup the only noise keeping him company in the candlelit room.
The Keeper liked the silence even less. He couldn’t remember the last time the darkness had stopped whispering to him. The more he thought about it, he realized it had never stopped whispering. With a grim smile, he realized that he almost preferred the voices.
The low boiling in his pot shook him from his thoughts and he stirred his soup. He cleaned up the rest of his two rooms, picking up the various clutter from his day, and grabbing a book from his bookshelf.
After spooning his soup into a hardened clay bowl, he took the bowl and his book to the small wooden table near his bed. He sat down and stared at the soup. The Keeper didn’t feel like saying the blessing of Keepers, his normal routine at dinner. He was pretty sure he didn’t believe it anymore.
Why keep saying it?
For what matter, why did he keep doing his duty at the lighthouse. Why didn’t he just let the fog have this whole light forsaken place? Why not just walk into the fog and be done with it?
No. No. Say the blessing.
The words seemed to come from outside him and not from the voices outside. Whether they came from another part of his brain or not, he didn’t care. The spell had been broken. He understood that even if he didn’t feel like saying the blessing, it was important. If anything it kept him connected with something good.
Or, at the very least, it kept him from going insane.
He bowed his head and mumbled,
“Thank you, o Great Light, for the meal you have given. May it nourish me as guard the light you have given to us.”
He ate with the energy of a man who had just fought a real battle with flesh and blood opponents. He didn’t even have the strength to read the book he had gotten off his shelf, a book of children’s tales that he had read to his son.
When he finished, the Keeper stood up from the table and heard his name.
“Come, Joshua, come to me.”
He gripped the back of the chair to prevent him from falling.
“Don’t look startled, my Flame.”
My flame. The term that she had breathed into his ear every time they had made each other cry out in passion.
“Come out, my flame, come to me.”
Tears streaming down his eyes, he couldn’t stop himself. He walked to the door. Gripping the handle, he did something he should never have done on the night of the waxing moon.
He went outside.