Lighthouse Keeper Redemption

The Lighthouse Keeper Redemption”

Novel 1

Teri Raes

 

             “Nothing in this life happens by accident, but is always for our greater good.”

 

The chime of Jack’s cell phone exploded the silence.  Jack sat up erect and grabbed the phone from the table.

“There is a boat limping across the Bay.” Paul’s voice was calm, with the tone of agent’s instinct.

“Where are you?”

“I’m on top deck of the lighthouse.”

“Work your way back to the house.  I will meet you up top.”  Jack jumped out of bed and pulled on his jeans and shirt.

“Shanon stay here.  An unidentified boat is coming across the Bay.  Paul is on his way.  Lock the door behind me.”  He raced into the closet, grabbed his forty-five-caliber Smith and Wesson.  Shanon stood up.  Jack kissed her head.  “We will take care of this Shanon.”

She locked the door behind him slipped into jeans and sweater.  Directing the telescope, positioning it toward the back yard searching for Jack and Paul.  Adrenalin pulsed through her body, leaving her face hot in anger.  “How many more will come?  Why is the price of truth paid only in death?”  Shanon spotted two dark figures in the garden.

The shadows moved to the back door.  Shanon listened but could not detect movement in the house.  She slid Sammy into the closet.  Instinct and self-preservation cloaked her being.  Removing the poker from the heath of the fireplace placing one end into the fire.  Knowing it was not Jack or Paul in the garden.

Heavy footsteps rushed up the stairs.  A strange calm fell over her removing the poker from the fire.  The doorknob turned back and forth.  Shanon did not speak.  Lifting the poker above her head, she stared at the door.

“Mrs. Smith, come of there or I will come in.”  The man’s tone was deep, chastising.  I know you are there Mrs. Smith.  Be cooperative, come out now!”  He spoke in direct order.

Shanon moved without sound to the opposite side of the door knowing the door was a weapon.  Leaving the poker resting on the hearth, donning fire retardant gloves, a smoking log would be the first defense.  Running to the smoke alarm outside the master bath waving the smoldering log.  Logic in the midst of duress guided her.  The security system would set off the alarms alerting authorities.  The deafening clamor from alarms in ten rooms would be a noted distraction.  In seconds the alarms blared.

The intruder walked to the hall phone dialing the fire department.  “Yes, this is Jack Smith, disregard the alarm at Seabrook Manor, an accident under control.”

“Yes sir, thank you for calling.”  The operator replied.

Shanon dropped the smoking log into the fire.  Steeping away from the door it exploded from its frame.  With poker held behind her back she faced the intruder.  His white blonde hair pulled back in tight ponytail, ashen skin, deep set dark eyes wearing a smile of sinister consequence sought to disarm her.  His cold, narrow eyes fixed on the prey, intoxicated with the hunt.

Shanon met his stare focused only on his destruction.  In her mind, she heard Jack’s words, “Never look at the target just take the target in the most vulnerable spot.”

“Jack does not deserve such exquisite flesh.  You have a choice.  You can just lie back on the bed or fight.  I do enjoy the fight.”

“Never allow words to take away your focus Shanon”, Jack’s words again filled her mind.  In one exact move, Shanon drove the poker into his face.  He staggered reaching like a rabid animal for the poker.  Shanon raised the poker again smashing the metal rod against this head.

Jumping over his body racing into the hall.  Cautiously descending the stairs quickly, quietly she reached the last flight. Shanon knew safety was in the passageway.  Still armed with the bloody poker she raced to the library bolting the door.  Safety was found in the underground passageway.  The tunnel was dark.  Grabbing the flashlight moving into the weapons room, Shanon took forty-five from the cabinet.

Shanon proceeded down the passageway stopping to pull a blanket from the cot.  Grabbing scissors cutting the blanket into long strips to wrap her feet.  In haste she dressed without thought of shoes.  The snow was deep, temperatures twenty degrees below freezing.

Ascending the tunnel stairs to the living area of the lighthouse.  Paul was missing as well.  Survival was the overwhelming emotion.  Walking out the lighthouse door stepping into the wet, cold snow.  The wind was howling, visibility poor, obscured by blowing snow.  The woods were the first defense.  Jack taught her to use the elements as protection.  She had to go back to the house.  Jack and Paul had to waiting. Reaching the end of the woods, wide-open space was between her and the home where she and Jack were sleeping only an hour before.

Standing at the edge of the forest accessing her next move as severe cold tormented her body.  The light beam passed.  A disturbance in the fresh snowfall twenty feet north of where she stood caught her eyes.  Focusing through the gale of wind driven snow, a spine tingling image.  The body of a man lay motionless in the snow.  When the beam made its revolution, breath left her body, it was Paul.  Shanon ran from the woods to his side.

Paul lay face down in the white carpet interrupted by blood-drenched snow.  Shanon gently turned him over.  Blood was rushing from his chest.  Shanon’s heart pounded in her ears.

Placing her ear next to his mouth, his breathing was labored and shallow.  “Paul, Paul, can you hear me?”  Shanon placed her hand over his chest applying pressure as the blood pulsated through her fingers.  Paul slowly opened his eyes.

“Shanon, get out of here.”  He muttered.

“NO!  I will help you hold on Paul.  Please hold on!”  She touched his face.

“Shanon, Jack… Jack.”

“Paul, what about Jack, Paul, what about Jack!”  She asked holding his head.  Shanon looked around scanning the area between them and the house.  “Paul, I will be back.”

With gun in secure in her hand she ran to the house.  Adrenalin was the perfect companion.  In spite of snow past her knees every tactic taught by Jack and Paul surpassed consequence and elements.  The back door was wide open.  Stepping into the house she relied on training not security from the lighthouse keepers.

Shanon grabbed her purse.  Opening the closet door, her heart sank.  Jack’s parka was still in the closet.  “God, Jack you didn’t take your coat.”  Grabbing his parka, slipping on boots she rushed out the front door to her SUV.  Slamming the car into drive, pushing the gas to the floor she drove to Paul.  Jumping out of the truck she placed her hand under his nose, he was barely breathing

“I am here Paul.  Do you hear me?”  Placing her hands under his arms she dragged him to the truck.  Opening the passenger door, she pulled and tugged until she got him inside.

Covering him with Jack’s parka securing the seat belt, turning the heat on high driving through the yard and onto the snow packed highway.  Pulling the cell phone from her bag, she dialed Dr. Bennett’s personal line.

“Dr. Bennett speaking.”

“Dr. Bennett, I will be arriving at your office in fifteen minutes.  Paul has a severe gun shot to the chest.”

“I will meet you in the driveway Shanon.”

“Paul, hold on for me, we will be at Dr. Bennett’s in minutes.”  Paul’s arm moved slightly.  Shanon reached over touching his arm.

Her vision limited through white out conditions.  The turn came abruptly.  The light of Dr. Bennett’s clinic guided her.  She pressed softly on the brake.  Dr. Bennett pulled the passenger door open.  Shanon jumped out of the truck.  Together they lifted Paul onto the gurney.

Dr. Bennett opened Paul’s shirt.  Shanon could see the bullet hole as the blood pulsating from his right lung.  “Shanon go into the lobby Sally and Mike will be here shortly.”

Shanon ran into the lobby, clothes blood soaked.  A car stopped next to Shanon’s Explorer.  Shanon raced out the door.  “Sally, they are in examination room one.”  Shanon stood at the door holding tight to her weapon Mike was the next to arrive.  Parking his blue Chevy pickup next to Shanon’s SUV.  He met Shanon on the wide porch.  Mike’s eyes stared at Shanon’s blood soaked sweater.  He took her arm escorting her into the lobby.

“Shanon, what happened?”  He asked speaking softly.  Placing his hand on the gun, he gently released it from her hand.

“I found Paul between the Lighthouse and property line.  He has a serious gun shot wound to his chest.  I do not know where Jack is Mike.  I cannot find Jack.”

“Honey, are you injured?”  He held her face to gain her attention.

“No.  I am not hurt.  I do not know where Jack is Mike.  He would not have left Paul to bleed to death in the snow.  He would not have left me alone to fight the man with white skin and hair.  This makes no sense Mike, this is insane.”

“Shanon, start at the beginning.  I thought you and Jack were still on your honeymoon.”

Shanon quickly explained what she and Jack found when arriving home.  The house had been tossed.  The intruders made it personal destroying her lighthouse collection, Haviland China service, every dish in the kitchen etc.  Mike listened carefully trying to put together all the elements.

Shanon stared at Mike in nervous confusion.  “Shanon I am going to get you a blanket.  I want you to sit down on the sofa, wait here for me.  Ok Shanon?”

Mike quickly returned with a blanket, wrapping it around her upper body.

“Mike I am not cold.  I am fine.”

“Honey you are trembling.”  Shanon’s teeth began to chatter as her body trembled violently.

Mike wrapped his arms around her, trying to comfort her.  “Shanon, Jack can handle anything.  He must be addressing another complication.  You are right.  Jack would never abandon you or Paul.  I will go back to the house to look for Jack.”

“No, you should not go Mike.”  Shanon stared out the window.

“I will be fine Shanon.”

“You don’t understand Mike.  These men are methodic, mercenaries.  That man in my bedroom could still be alive.”

“I will be fine.  I too want to find Jack.  Patricia will be here soon to sit with you.”

“Mike.”  Shanon grabbed his forearm.

“Yes Shanon.”

“Take my gun with you.”

Mike shook his head then kissed Shanon’s forehead.  Walking out the clinic door, he knew Jack was in trouble.  Only death or severe injury would prevent him from returning.  He tucked Shanon’s gun into his coat pocket and drove to Seabrook Manor.

Sitting on the sofa, she remained composed, no tears or emotional outbreaks.  Dropping the blanket, she walked quietly down the hall.  She could hear Dr. Bennett talking to Sally but could not decipher the conversation from the hall.  Looking into the room, Dr. Bennett was performing surgery on Paul.  Paul’s color was ashen.  Several IV’s with fluid, blood, connected to his hand and arm.  Shanon watched hoping it was not too late.

Shanon felt a gentle tugging on her arm.  Looking over, it was Patricia, Mike Worthington’s wife.  “Shanon, let’s go sit on the sofa.”  Patricia smiled.  Her brown eyes glistened in beauty’s affection.

Shanon sat down as Patricia covered her with the blanket.  Patricia left the room then returned with a glass of water.  “Here Shanon, drink this, I have a pot of tea brewing, it will be a few minutes.”

Shanon took a sip.  “What time it is Patricia?”

“It is eleven o’clock honey.”  She said putting her hand on Shanon’s hand.

“Is he gone again Patricia?”

“Who honey?”

“Jack, is he gone again?”

“I am certain he will return soon Shanon.”

“Shanon, why don’t you lie down and rest for a while.  I will wake you when I hear from Mike or when Dr. Bennett comes out.”

“I’m not tired Patricia.  My dog, Sammy, I locked him in my bedroom closet.  I need to phone Mike!”

“You lie down and I will call him.”

Shanon leaned back.  The trembling had stopped, now the grip of cold embraced her body.  She pulled the blanket close.  Patricia left the room again.  She called Mike on his cell phone.

“Mike, where are you?”

“Right now I am down on the beach area by the Lighthouse.  How are Paul and Shanon doing?”

“No news on Paul yet.   I think Shanon is in shock.  Shanon left her dog locked in their bedroom closet.  It would bring her comfort to have him close.”

“I will get him.  I have not been to the house yet.  There are not boats here.”

“Why are you looking for boats?  There is no fishing in the middle of winter.”

“Shanon said Paul saw a boat crossing the Bay.  I will see you soon.”

Patricia poured a hot cup of tea returning to Shanon.  “Here honey, drink this, it will warm you.  I spoke to Mike.  He will find Sammy and bring him to you.”

“Thank you Patricia.  It is cold in here, isn’t it?”  Shanon said softly.

“I will get you another blanket.”

Patricia wrapped another blanket around Shanon, sitting next to her.  Shanon watched the hall, then the window.  Patricia held her hand wearing her peaceful expression.  Never once did she show nervous tension or fear.

Shanon closed her eyes for a few minutes.  Her head was spinning, she felt dizzy.  Still trying to find logic in turmoil, it was her means of holding emotions in check.  The sound of footsteps in the hall brought Shanon upright.  Shanon searched Dr. Bennett’s face for any indication of Paul’s condition.  Dr. Bennett showed no expression.

“Shanon I removed the bullet, a nine millimeter.  It punctured his right lung.  He has lost a tremendous amount of blood.  I have to honest with you Shanon.  It does not look good.  I am sorry but in my opinion without an act of God, he will not make it through the night.”

Shanon stood up grasping the blankets.  “Please, can I see him?  Can I sit with him?”

“Shanon you do not look well.  I am concerned about you.”

“Dr. Bennett, I am fine.  Please let me sit with him.  He cannot be alone.”

Dr. Bennett looked down, then back to Shanon.  “Alright go ahead.”

Nurse Sally was standing over him.  Paul’s face covered in an oxygen mask.  A second liter of blood was on the rapid infuser.  Taking a seat next to his bed, Shanon took his hand.  She closed her eyes to gather composure.  “Paul, it is Shanon.  I will not leave you.  Dr. Bennett removed the bullet.  Please rest, everything is going to be fine.”

Paul lightly squeezed Shanon’s hand.

“Sally, Paul squeezed my hand.  He can hear me.”  Shanon whispered.

Sally looked at Shanon, shaking her head yes but her eyes told a different story.  Sally did not believe Paul would be with them in the next few hours.

“Paul, Sally and Dr. Bennett are taking good care of you.”  Shanon stroked Paul’s shiny black hair his eyes began to flutter.  “Paul, just hold on to my hand.  I will be here when you wake.”

Sally watched closely as Paul responded to Shanon’s words.  Sally left the room to see Dr. Bennett.  She found Dr. Bennett sitting with Patricia.  “Charlie, Paul is responding to Shanon.”

“How?  What is he doing?”  Dr. Bennett stood up quickly.

“He is squeezing her hand, his eyes fluttered when she touched his hair.”

“This is a good sign Sally.  The agent defies the odds.”  He smiled touching her shoulder.

Dr. Bennett stepped to the side of Paul’s bed.  He checked the monitors, noticing a rise in Paul’s blood pressure.  “Shanon, talk to him.  I want to watch his response.”  Dr. Bennett whispered.

“Paul, there is an image in my mind of you holding Sammy’s leash while Jack and I said our wedding vows.  You looked wonderful.”

Paul squeezed Shanon’s hand.  Dr. Bennett shook his head in affirmation, smiling slightly.  Shanon stroked Paul’s head, again his eyes fluttered.

“Paul, rest now.  You do not have to squeeze my hand.  We know you are listening.”  Shanon spoke in tender confidence.

Paul lifted his hand slightly gripping Shanon’s as if she was his lifeline.  Dr. Bennett left the room, with a whisper of hope in his mind.

Shanon looked up at the clock it was midnight.  Still holding Paul’s hand, in the light of the monitors she could see color slowly returning to his face.  She stroked his head as he rested.  Sally came into the room every fifteen minutes checking Paul’s vitals.  Shanon believed if she remained next to Paul, he would not leave them.  When Sally came in at two a.m. Shanon motioned for her.

“Has anyone heard from Mike?”

Sally put her mouth to Shanon’s ear.  “He is in the waiting room.  He just got here about five minutes ago.  If you want to talk to him, I will sit with Paul.”

Shanon quietly walked out of the room, moving quickly down the hall.  Mike was drinking a cup of coffee with Dr. Bennett.  Mike looked up at Shanon smiling warmly.

“You didn’t find Jack?”  She said softly.

“I’m sorry Shanon.  I searched the entire beach along the property, passageway, and the house.  Sammy is here, he is outside with Patricia.”

“Thank you, Mike.  What about the man in my bedroom?”

“There was no man Shanon, only blood on the carpet.”

“How could he have gotten up?  I hit him with the steel poker, twice.  Mike there had to be more than two men.  This is the only explanation for Jack’s absence.”

“You are correct.  We have no idea how many intruders were on the property.”  Mike placed his hand upon her shoulder.  Shanon looked down, heaviness held her heart.  She looked up at Dr. Bennett.  “Dr. Bennett, what is Paul’s prognosis now?  He has made it longer than you initially projected.”

“Indeed he has Shanon, frankly, I am shocked.  He is a fighter.  I would have never believed he possessed the strength to squeeze your hand.  Paul has a battle ahead but I feel he is holding his own.”

“I am going to go back to him.  Thank you both.  Mike, please tell Patricia I appreciate her coming out tonight.”

“I will honey.”

Mike Worthington and Dr. Charlie Bennett were Holocaust survivors, both friends of Ezra and Eliza Rosenbaum.  Two devoted individuals in the network of Lighthouse Keepers whose allegiance to humanity defied laws and self-preservation.  Coming of age in Auschwitz did not leave scars of resentment.  As Ezra and Eliza, these men embraced life in breath of sacrifice and duty.

Shanon walked down the hall, stopping when she heard the sound of Sammy’s footsteps.  She turned as he ran into her arms.  Shanon held him close to her chest. “I’m sorry little one.  Stay here with Mike.”

Shanon took Paul’s hand, staring his handsome face wondering why Paul spent his time alone.  Was he too a victim of his past as Jack.  Paul was not shrouded in the cast of emotional detachment, as Jack had been, until recently.  Was it duty to Jack that kept him close?  Or had Jack asked him to step into the role of Lighthouse Keeper?

Shanon touched his cheek.  His face was warm, not icy when she found him.  She watched him sleep his body now relaxed, his breathing no longer labored.  Placing her head on the side of the bed, she continued holding his hand.  Shanon closed her eyes.

In a dream state, she could feel Jack’s hand upon her head.  She opened her eyes, hoping he had returned.  Instead it was Paul’s hand, Shanon looked up at this face, his eyes were open.

“Paul, don’t talk.  I will get the doctor.”  Shanon huried down the hall.  Mike was sleeping on the sofa.  Dr. Bennett was asleep on the chair.  Shanon touched Dr. Bennett’s arm.  “Dr. Bennett.”

He opened his eyes.  “Dr. Bennett, Paul is awake.”

He jumped to his feet.  Shanon followed him down the hall.  Dr. Bennett put his stethoscope to Paul’s chest, while checking the monitors.  Smiling, shaking his head in disbelief, Dr. Bennett removed Paul’s oxygen mask.

“You are an amazing man Paul.  You cheated death my friend.”

Paul showed a slow smile.  “I did not think I would be here.”  He spoke slowly.

“I too had doubts.  Only Shanon believed you would.”  He said smiling.  Paul tried to sit up.

“Paul, do not be the hero.  You lay here and rest.  You are not out of the thick of it yet.  I will be back shortly.”

“Shanon…where’s Jack?”  Paul whispered.

“I don’t know Paul.”

“Shanon, I saw two men on the back of the property while walking toward the house.  Then three more men come up from the side of the rock wall.  Before I could react, I felt burning in my chest.  The shot came from the woods, six men in total.  I am sorry Shanon.  I never made it to Jack.”

“You have nothing to apologize for Paul.  I have to leave for a while.”

Paul reached out for Shanon’s hand.  “Do not go back to Seabrook Manor Shanon.  You need to wait, I will go with you.”

“You are not going anywhere Paul.  You almost died last night.”

“You saved my life Shanon.  I heard your voice in the snow.  I heard you on the phone.  I knew I was in the Explorer but I cannot recall how I got in there.”

“I got you into the Explorer Paul.”

“Shanon, I do not know how you did that alone.  Thank you.”

“Paul, there is no need to thank me.  You are my friend.  I would not leave you.  Remember you were an integral part of my training.”

Dr. Bennett walked into the room.  “Shanon, I want to examine him.”

“Shanon, do not go home, please!”  Paul stared at her, his eyes pleading.

“I am not going home Paul.  Just rest now.”

Shanon walked into the waiting room.  Fatigue, worry and reality weighed heavy on her mind and body.  Mike was still sleeping on the sofa.  Shanon sat on the chair.  Sammy jumped into her lap.

She grabbed her keys and walked to the SUV.  Digging into her bag, she found her cell phone.  Checking for missed calls and messages, there were none.  The sun was rising.  A clear sky held a deep, cold breath.  Looking over she saw Paul’s blood froze to the leather seats.  Closing the car door, she saw her bloodied fingerprints freeze-dried on the door.

Shanon had to return to the house and check the computer in the passageway.  Jack left her messages before on the computer.  Walking back into the clinic, Shanon told Sally she would call and check on Paul.

Dr. Bennett walked into the lobby.  “Paul is going to be fine.  He is out of the dark.  His lungs sound clear and strong.  I gave him pain medication he is sleeping.  Shanon, I now would like to check you over.”

“I am fine Dr. Bennett.  I am just tired.”

“Shanon, you have been through a terrible ordeal.  Why don’t you stay here, I have a spare room upstairs where you can rest.”

“I appreciate your offer Dr. Bennett.  I am tired but my mind is racing.  I have to find my husband.”

“Shanon do you think it is wise to go back to Seabrook.”

“I need to check something out Dr. Bennett.  I will not stay long.  How long do you think Paul will sleep?”

“He should sleep through the day.  Shanon, Jack would not want you returning home without him”

“I think I will go to the Convent.  You have my cell number if you need to reach me.  Tell Paul when he wakes where I went and I will see him in the morning.”

Collecting Sammy, Jack’s parka and gun she climbed into the SUV.  While driving, her mind raced over several scenarios of where Jack could have gone.  Still, she believed he was close.  Looking at the clock, it was six a.m.  Shanon decided when she reached the Church, she would tell Mother Superior and Father Anthony the entire truth of her and Jack’s life.  No more secrets, she needed their help.

After a few stops for clean clothes, dog food and bottled water, at nine a.m. she drove into the back parking lot of the church.  Shanon entered the private entrance of the convent, quickly made her way to Mother Superior’s office.  Without knocking, not wishing to run into the children.  She slipped inside closing the door quickly.  Mother was not in her office.  The room was warm, fatigue was pressing upon her.

Chapter 29

Truth

Shanon sat in the chair drinking bottled water.  She dialed Mike from her cell phone.  “Mike, I am fine.”

“Ok Shanon, I know where you are.  If I hear anything I will phone you immediately.”

Placing her phone back into her bag, she noticed the gun.  She forgot to leave it in the car.  This was not the place for a weapon.  Shanon heard movement in the halls.  Closing her bag, she held it close.  The steps were closing in on the door.  The knob turned, Shanon did not blink she stared at the door.  Mother walked inside, looking startled at first.

“Shanon, child, what is wrong?”

“Mother, please close the door and lock it.”

“Shanon, you have blood on your shirt.”  Mother rushed to Shanon’s side.

“I’m not injured, this is not my blood.  I need to speak to you and Father Anthony.”

“I will get Father.”  Mother locked the door behind her.

Shanon’s mind began to race.  What if someone is following?  The Explorer is in the parking lot for all to see.  I need to move my vehicle out of sight.  Shanon’ heart began racing.  She was thinking through raw emotional, exhaustion, not calculation as Jack taught.

Shanon heard the key in the lock.  Mother Superior and Father Anthony walked inside.  He looked as shock by Shanon’s appearance as Mother Superior.

“I must move my Explorer out of view immediately.  Do you know a place I can stow it for the time being?”

“Shanon, I will have one of the sister’s move it to the old garage around the back.  Why don’t you give me your keys?”  Father placed his hand on her shoulder.

Mother pulled her chair from the desk and sat next to Shanon.  Father Anthony left the room briefly.

“Shanon, can I get you anything?”  Mother Superior asked still wondering why the teacher who devoted her time to children taken in by the church, wards of the state, was covered in blood soaked clothes.

“No thank you Mother.  I have water that is all I really need.”  Shanon finished the bottle and dropped it into the grocery bag.

Father Anthony returned taking the chair on the other side of Shanon.  “Your car is hidden, here are your keys.”

“How much time do you have?  This is a complicated story.”

“We have all the time you need.”  Father Anthony said looking directly into Shanon’s eyes in support and dedication.

Shanon took them back to the time Jack went to work for Ezra Rosenbaum.  She included all details; from Jack killing the first intruder, to her act to save her life and the life of their unborn child’s by taking a life.  All events leading up to this moment when she sought sanctuary.

Father Anthony and Mother Superior listened to every detail and fact.  He and Mother Superior did not judge Jack or Shanon.

“I should not have come here.  I was not thinking clearly.  I wanted a place to rest for a few hours.”

“Shanon, God did not take your child in retribution for taking that man’s life.  It is a tragic circumstance.  You sought to save your child, as Jack had to make decisions to protect infinite lives.  These are trying times for many in this world.  God knows your soul.  He knows you are incapable of bringing malice to anyone.  You must stay here.  We will keep you safe.  We will shield you from the authorities if necessary.

This situation is larger than anything I have known.  I understand you cannot seek help from law enforcement agencies.  God and the church will help you and Jack always.  God is protecting Jack.  Have faith this will work out.  I am deeply sorry the price you and Jack have paid for trying to assist God’s children.

What can we do to help?” Father Anthony took her hand.

“I don’t know Father.  Pray, pray for Jack.”

“I will pray for you, Jack as well as Paul.”

Tears began to stream through Shanon’s blood shot eyes.  Still she held her emotions tight afraid if she began to cry, she would break down.  “Father your graciousness and support means everything to us.  I love you, the sisters, Mother Superior, and the children deeply.  I cannot remain here longer than necessary.  I just need a few hours of rest.”

“Shanon you stay here.  God guards these doors.  He knows how to combat the greatest evil of all.  When you wake, pick up the phone, and call me.  We can put our heads together and perhaps find an answer.”

“Thank you, father.”

Father placed his hand upon her shoulder, a touch of unconditional love. “Mother Superior, the church, God and I will support you and Jack without condition.  The mission Jack took in his life as agent. He is as you work for those individuals, society deems expendable.  In God’s eyes every life is a gift.”

Two additional keepers joined the network.  Catholic priest, Mother Superior and perhaps the infinite being some define as God, Buddha, Allah, Yahweh, or Source aligned to the force of once licensed killers, citizen soldiers and conscious contributors.  One flawless motive transcended human fallibility, to protect the greatest resource of all, humanity.  The human factor arises each day to embrace a dream, cheat life, rise against the odds, or seek first and foremost one directive to survive. It does not matter if that world consists of finding water to sustain life, working two jobs to put food on the table, taking a job as greeter at a monopolized multi-mart with a bachelor’s degree.  Hiding and seeking solace from a government contingency whose policies of ethnic cleansings threatens the lives of your children.  Every life matters, every individual increases the broad expense known as life.

Mother Superior led Shanon down an unfamiliar side hallway.  Opening the door to her room, they stepped inside.  A small dresser, wooden desk, and chair, with single bed completed the pristine, simplistic room.  Mother placed Shanon’s bags on the desk.

“Come on let’s get you settled.  “The bathroom is just inside that door.  Should I get you something to sleep in?”

“I purchased some things at the plaza.  Thank you.”  Shanon was besieged by exhaustion.

“Would you like me to bring you a nice bowl of soup and perhaps a cup of tea?”

“No thank you, I am too tired to eat.”

“I will bring you a bag for your clothes.  Would you like me to take Sammy for a walk?”

“Yes please.”

“I will be back soon.”  Mother kissed Shanon’s forehead.

Shanon folded her soiled clothes, placing them on the floor next to the bed.  Removing the tags from the pajamas, she slipped them on then crawled into bed.  From a honeymoon in Vermont returning home to the wake of destruction then loss.  Closing her eyes, sleep was the only antidote.

Mother Superior walked into the room with trash bag to house bloodied clothes resting the bag on the desk, she checked.  Lifting Sammy to the bed she covered Shanon.

“Sleep, sleep Angel, God is watching over you.”

Shanon sat straight up in bed gasping for breath.  Looking around the room, she did not know where she was.  The dream, Jack was in the passageway, bleeding, broken.  The image was vivid and clear.  Turning on the light next to the bed, she pulled away the covers.  Jumping from the bed pulling on jeans, sweater socks and boots.  Opening desk drawers searching for paper and pen.  Through eyes veiled in fatigue she penned a note:

Mother Superior,

Thank you.  I cannot stay hidden nor can I bring darkness upon this sacred place.  I will contact you soon.

Shanon slipped on Jack’s parka, grabbed the bags and her purse.  Picking up Sammy, she slid him inside the parka.  “Come on Sammy, we are going home.”

Shanon left the convent undetected.  Walking around the back of the church, she found the old garage where her vehicle waited.

Turning onto the highway the snow was falling lightly.  “It snows all the time up here Sammy. We need warmth.”  The highway was treacherous even with four-wheel drive.  Pulling the thirty-eight from her bag, she placed it in her lap.  “No more hiding, no more running.”

The highway was desolate in the early hours of Tuesday morning.  Only an occasional semi truck passed.  The night was quiet.  The only sound was the wiper blades passing over the windshield.

The sign indicating Seabrook exit made Shanon anxious.  She wanted to drive faster the slick snow pack roads dictated caution.  Concentrating on the road, she gripped the steering wheel as her foot pressed the accelerator further.  With each mile, her resolve mounted.  She would drive to the lighthouse enter the passageway.  If she does not find him inside the tunnel, she will continue searching every inch of the property until he is at her side.

Turning the Explorer down the secluded road where the lighthouse waited.  Dimming the lights, she drove slowly.  Putting the car in park, turning off the engine. Shanon placed the cell phone in her pocket, sliding Sammy inside zipping the parka to her neck.  Removing the safety from her weapon with flashlight in hand cautiously departing the SUV.  Allow the beam of the lighthouse to illuminate she moved without sound to the door of the lighthouse.

Securing the lock turning on the flashlight, she scanned the interior.  Nothing in the rooms had changed since Sunday night.  Laying her head next to the trap door, she listened before raising the door.  Holding tight to the flashlight and gun, she walked down the tunnel.

On the final leg of her journey, she stopped at the computer.  When Jack was on the mission to secure the microchip, his means of communication were messages sent on the computer.  As she touched the keyboard a muffled sound of movement from the weapons room stopped her. Turning slowly the sound of tapping was not to be denied.

She positioned her finger on the trigger walking in silence to the room.  Turning on the flashlight pointing the gun with intent to kill, she dropped the gun and flashlight.  In relief and horror, she saw Jack, half lying, half sitting on the cot.  His face drained of color, eyes half closed.  His clothes were saturated in blood.  Shanon could not tell where the blood began or ended.  Running to his side, wrapping her arms around him.  “Jack, I could not find you.”

“Shanon….I….searched…”  He reached for her, his left arm dropped lifeless.  Blood poured from both shoulders and his left thigh.

“Jack, I will get you out of here.”

Shanon lifted Sammy from the parka. “We are…free…now.  I killed…all…four of them.”  He whispered, looking into her face.  His eyes could not focus upon her.

“Don’t talk Jack.  I will help you.”  Shanon gently moved him, placing his head upon the bed.  She opened the supply cabined and pulled out sheets.  Ripping them into strips, wrapping his shoulders and leg, making tourniquets to slow the bleeding.  She knew he was in far worse condition than Paul.

“Jack, listen to me, you must stay awake.  Shanon removed the parka and slipped it on his wounded body.  Let’s get to Dr. Bennett.”  Shanon put her arms under his arms trying to lift him.  “Jack, you need to hang on to me and help me honey.”

A weak smile appeared on his lips as he closed his eyes.  .  His face was icy.  Placing her fingers upon his neck, a weak pulse.  Picking up the gun shoving it into her jeans, racing into the hall turning on the lights, she rushed back to his side.

Shanon stood over Jack, placing her hands on the front of his parka.  “Jack, help me get you out of here!”

Jack opened his eyes staring at her.  Shanon could see, there was no recognition in his expression.  He draped his right arm over her shoulders.  Shanon wrapped her arms around his waist.  With all her might pulled him to his feet.  Jack’s knees buckled, placing his weight of two hundred pounds upon her one hundred pound frame.

“Jack, stand up!  Stand up and help me!”  She shouted giving him an order.  Jack was foremost, always the solider that would first respond to orders.

Jack exhaled with the remaining strength of his ravaged body.  He stood, leaning against her for support.  Shanon pulled him through the tunnel, with every muscle in her frame of five feet four.  His body trembling as life force was leaving his being.

“Jack, listen to me, we have only feet to go to reach the base of the lighthouse.  We can do this together.  Look at me Jack.  I need you to look at me.”  Shanon spoke in authority as tears flooded her eyes.  There was no time to call for help.  With each minute that passed took him closer to death.  Jack’s eyes opened briefly his breathing shallow and labored.

At the base of the stairs, Jack collapsed onto the floor.  Shanon fell to her knees wrapping her arms around his head.  “Jack, you can’t go without me.  Jack do you hear me!”  They were only feet from the car.  She placed his body on the floor running up the stairs throwing open the trap door.  Securing her arms under his, pulling him up the four stairs to the living room of the lighthouse. Lying on her back, with him on top of her she fought to catch her breath.  Rolling out from under him, she ran to the door.

Dragging him through snow to the reach the SUV, she was breathless.  Her body trembled beads of sweat dripped into her eyes as she called upon all her strength.  Adrenalin was a kind friend.   Again, she put her hands under his arms pulling his upper body to the passenger seat.  Sammy jumped into the backseat of the SUV.

Securing the seat belt around him, his head dropped to his chest.  Starting the engine, turning the heat on maximum she slammed the accelerator to the floor, heading toward the highway.  Dialing Dr. Bennett.

“Dr. Bennett.”

“I have Jack, leaving the lighthouse.  Gunshot wounds to both shoulders and left thigh.  He is bleeding profusely, unconscious hypothermia.  Please call St. Cecilia’s church, ask Father Anthony to come immediately to the clinic.”

“I will take care of all details.”

In spite of the elements Shanon slammed her foot on the acceerator.  “Jack, listen to me.  I am taking you to Dr. Bennett.  I need you to hold on.  Jack do you hear me?”  Jack tried to lift his head.

Shanon gripped the steering wheel fighting to keep control.  The racing of her heart ignited perspiration as her body trembled from physical and emotional exertion.  Blinding headlights were closing in behind her a black Hummer closed in on the rear bumper.

“No!  Not now, this cannot be happening.” Jack said he killed four, four, there were six.  Looking down at the speedometer seventy miles per hour in conditions dictating twenty miles per hour.  “I will not leave this highway!”  Shanon pushed the pedal harder.  The turn off was next on the left.

Coming toward Shanon on the opposite side was a semi truck.  Shanon’s mind began calculating.  If she sped up, she could turn in front of the truck to the turn off.  If she timed precisely, she could make it to the door of the clinic before the hummer could close in on them causing the truck to be a barrier.

Shanon slammed her foot on the pedal putting time and space between her and the Hummer.  At the exact moment, she turned sharply in front of the semi.  She heard the sound of airbrakes as she fought to control the vehicle.  Weaving off the drive she gained control of the vehicle taking the driveway at fifty miles per hour.  The truck jackknifed becoming the barrier.

Dr. Bennett and Sally rushed out with the gurney lifting Jack to safety.  Shanon slid Sammy into the bathroom then followed them into the examination room.  “I will be right back.”  Running out of the clinic Shanon locked the vehicle.  Running down the drive, the tree line and darkness cloaked her.  The Hummer was still on the highway blocked by the semi.

Shanon waited for the occupant or occupants of the vehicle.  They would not harm Jack or Paul further. Hate and anger pulsated through her body.  In resolve and purpose, it was now up to her to stop these monsters.  No more will these men bring further destruction and death upon their world.  “Greed suffers the greatest motivation.”  Shanon whispered.  She raced to hide on the side of Dr. Bennett’s clinic.

Car lights turned down the drive.  The vehicle stopped just past the apron of the driveway.  Father Anthony exited of the vehicle, closing the door.  Out of the darkness, a tall shadowy figure grabbed Father around the neck.

“How did I miss this?  Where was he hiding?  The coward will not use Father Anthony as a human shield.”  Rage controlled her choice.   Hunching down behind the porch swing she watched them walk up the steps to the door.

Shanon rose from the darkness, tall, erect, focused and numb.  With precise agility, she moved in as a silhouette behind them.  Shanon pressed the barrel of the gun to his head.  In the light from the waiting room, she could see it was the same man she left on the bedroom floor.

“Let him go or I will blow your brains all over this porch.”  The tone Shanon heard was not hers.  It was a voice of dark, indignant, indifference.

“Mrs. Smith”, he smiled in aroused mental foreplay, “Your husband taught you well.  It is too bad he will not live to know of your performance.”

“Let Father Anthony go now!”  Shanon spoke without fear, without altering her tone.

He released Father from his death grip.

“Father, go inside and see to my husband please.”

“Shanon, you do not have to do this.  I will remain here with you.”

“Father, please check on Jack now.”  Shanon’s voice was calm her focus unwavering.

Father Anthony hesitated at first, and then walked into the clinic knowing the right moment would come.

“Mrs. Smith, you have been a thorn in my side, and I like it.  It is too bad you are not with our group.”

“Put your hands in the air and turn around now!”

He slowly lifted his hands, turning to face her down.  Again, he wore the same caustic smile created to disarm.

“What are you going to do with me Mrs. Smith?  You cannot call the police, FBI, CIA, or Interpol.  There is no one to help you.  Your husband is dying and you are out here playing with me.”

Shanon heard his words but she let them bounce.

“All Jack’s meticulous training cannot make you a perfect, guiltless killer as he became.  The CIA will eventually arrest and torture your husband.  He is not a hero to them.  He is a traitor to his nation, a criminal.  Jack is a wanted man.  Even if you kill me, your husband will one day pay the debt made when he decided to have a conscious.  Put the gun down.  Shanon you are not a cold-blooded killer.  You are the educator, a voice for the misbegotten children born to addicts, whores, and inferiors that make take up oxygen and give nothing.”

“One man’s corrupt perception does not lead credence or validate truth.  You are correct I cannot call the FBI, CIA, or Interpol.  However, you are wrong about me, like my husband, I am a cold-blooded killer.  I will give you a piece of information you can take to your grave.  The chip is gone, it has been gone for months.”

“If you kill me, you will have blood on your hands again Mrs. Smith.  The angel of mercy with high ideals and principles yet you continue to wash your hands in blood.  Has it occurred to you, as long as you are with Jack, death will be constant at your door.

Jack is no different than I am Shanon Smith.  He too is a hired killer but of course, the government of the United States protected him.  Jack was the best.  Even Jack is not immune from prosecution.  More will come for him.  One will come who will be better than Jack.  Your husband is falling down on his game.  He found love and became careless, weak, blinded by emotion.  You made him human, in turn he made you a killer.”

“Stop talking and lie face down on the porch.”

“You cannot kill me can you Shanon Smith?  The teacher, the humanitarian, good Catholic girl cannot kill me.”

“I said to get down on the ground, face down!”

“Shanon is he worth it?  Is Jack worth prostituting your soul?  Think about it Shanon, can you justify murder?  You cannot live in two worlds at the same time.  Sooner or later, it will destroy you, just as it destroyed Jack.  You will never know peace as long as Jack Smith is in your life.”

Father Anthony returned from Jack’s room determined to protect Shanon.  Walking faithfully through the lobby to the porch. For a split second, Shanon looked away from her captive.  “Father, please go back inside, now!”  From her peripheral, the mercenary reached into the inside pocket of his black leather jacket.  In a slight of hand brandishing a weapon, aiming at Father’s chest.

Shanon aimed, depressing the trigger, firing until the clip was empty.  The blonde haired man collapsed to the ground.  Father Anthony rushed over to him to administer last rites.

“You were wrong.  I am a cold-blooded killer.  I will always protect those I love.”  Shanon dropped the gun, stepped over him, and ran to exam room two.

4 Responses to Lighthouse Keeper Redemption

  • Patricia Martin[Patsy] says:

    I am reading and wanting more! such ‘ALIVE’ characters. I look forward to buying , reading and recommending to friends!

  • Patricia Martin[Patsy] says:

    ‘Lighthouse Keeper Redemption’ is my kind of read, I love sinking my teeth into suspense and any story with lots of deception keeps me hooked!

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