Welcome back for the second part of the Fort and Light Adventure!
If you missed last week, here’s a quick recap: You were about to leave the old military fort you were exploring when you heard a voice from inside. Upon checking it out, you found yourself not in an old fort but in a fully manned military operation. The voice you heard told you to get the lighthouse lit because there’s a boat trying to sneak past on the river. Readers voted to use the matches in your pocket to try and light the lighthouse. (If you’d like the read the beginning, click here.)
Let’s see what happens.
Fort and Light Option B: Matches
There’s no time to lose. You pull the rattling box of matches from your pocket as you approach the lighthouse. A winding staircase takes you up to the lantern at the top of the structure.
As you open the box of matches, your hands shake and you barely manage not to lose the five pieces inside. The first match head breaks off when you strike it against the box. With a growl, you pull out another one and, with careful fingers, grate the match to life. The tiny flame flares bright in the dusky night. When you hold it to the lantern wick, it sputters for a second before catching the oil soaked material. It gives a soft whoosh.
The multifaceted lenses surrounding you catch the light and a beam shoots out across the river from the lighthouse.
“PAN LEFT,” shouts a now familiar voice.
There’s a wheel next to the lantern for turning it. You give it a twist and the beam of light glides up the river to land on a ship that’s flying a dark colored flag. There’s a brief moment in which you get to stare at that ship, taking in the rows of oars moving it along the river at an alarming speed, and the round barrels of four cannons that line the ship’s side.
The first cannon bucks hard enough to rock the ship. It spouts a grayish cloud and then a boom reverberates through the fort. The lighthouse rattles as your ears go momentarily numb of sound.
Just as your ears start ringing, you hear, “FIRE!” from the familiar voice of the man leading the men on the fort wall.
The stone beneath you shudders and your ears go dead again but in the beam of light on the river, you see the giant splash as the fort’s cannon ball narrowly misses the bow of the ship.
Shouted jeering accompanies the angry fists of the pirates as they yell at the fort but they’re far enough away you can’t really make out their words or their gestures.
You give the wheel a slight turn.
This time, both the ship and the fort fire at the same time. You clap your hands over your ears but then something makes you look up. You’ve been in a car accident before. At the time, everything seemed to slow down and even as you remember the accident later, the events happen in slow motion in your memory.
This is exactly like that. There’s a round shape hurtling toward you. The beam from the lighthouse seems to be swallowed by that dark shape as it draws closer. At the last moment, you turn away and launch yourself down the stairs of the lighthouse.
Glass shatters. The ground shakes and sharp chips of stone bite into your back. The lantern, and any other source of light, simply disappears.
Light gilds the backs of your eyelids. It shoots pain into your skull, and all you want is to keep your lids closed, but there’s an insistent tugging at your sleeve. When you crack your eyes open, you find your hands tied together.
There’s another tug at your sleeve. With a soft groan, you look right to see the man who was shouting orders earlier. He’s a shorter man but the heavy, gray beard covering his face lends him an air of age.
“Shhh,” he cautions as he points toward the river.
It’s then you realize you’re sitting on the riverbank with your back against the remains of the fort wall. The pirate’s ship bobs on the river, highlighted by the rising sun. Beyond the gray bearded man sits the group of pirates eating their breakfast around a fire they’ve lit on the rocks.
“They’ll finish soon,” the bearded man whispers, “and then they’ll decide what to do with us.”
You try to lean forward to get a better look at the motely crew but sharp pains run through your body, particularly down your back.
“Careful. You don’t want to draw their attention.” He shoots a look at the pirates and, reassured they’re not looking, continues, “We need to warn the town. If we’re to escape, the time’s now.”
“Escape?” you ask.
“River’s probably our best bet. You ready?”
Even sitting on the riverbank, it’s chilly. You cringe to think of getting into the water, but the man’s probably right. If you’re going to get away from the pirates, now is the time to do it. Your back twinges as you shift a little. Can you even swim? You’re not sure the extent of your injuries. The man might have a better chance of getting away without you.
Leave your vote in the comments below. Next Thursday, we’ll see how this adventure continues.
(If you liked this story and are interested in more adventures, you can find my book, The Adventure, on Amazon.)