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The Whitehead Island Lighthouse Incident
The car’s high beams sliced through the hazy Maine air. Leaning forward and straining to make out the median, Damian cursed under his breath. Now and then, he checked his rear-view mirror for the familiar blue and red lights and nervously readjusted his bloody hands on the steering wheel. A beam of strong, pale light flashed through the fog and disappeared, beckoning Damian urgently. He smiled and jumped out of the car moments before it sped through the sands of the abandoned beach, stopping halfway submerged in a violent spray of icy water. The waves pulled at the old vehicle, dragging it slowly into the ocean. Damian didn’t turn to watch its decent, however. Running a hand through his dyed black hair, he turned to the brick-and-mortar lighthouse, glancing warily around him in every direction before ducking inside.
It was smaller than it looked from outside. The walls seemed too close together, ready to converge over his head and suffocate him. He shook his head as he took the steps two at a time to the top. The uppermost room was unsettling. It was a spacious room, made all the more open by the bare furnishings—a small bed without blankets, a chest of drawers, and a desk without a chair. A candle sat half-burnt at the edge of the desk. A thick blanket of dust had settled over the entire room and cobwebs lined the support beams and furniture. It was obvious that whoever used to maintain the space was long since gone and someone was merely visiting now and then to turn the lights on and off during the night.
Damian opened the drawers roughly, rummaging through dated clothing, kerchiefs, and trinkets. There was nothing of use. He left them open as he continued to ransack the place. There was little to be found except a partially rusted spade. Still, it was a better defense than nothing. Wiping the dust on his black hooded sweatshirt, he held the tool tightly in his hand as he glanced out the window, surveying the beach and the road that wound toward it.
Police lights penetrated the rolling fog that had settled around the area. Damian cursed and clutched the spade to his chest, watching officers pour out of each parked car and surge toward the lighthouse. They had surrounded it.
“Come out with your hands where we can see them!”
Damian leaned out of the window and flipped him the bird before ducking back inside. He misjudged the height and the base of his skull smacked against the frame. For a horrifying moment, he started to slump forward, but caught himself and fell backward instead. After a moment of lying still, he touched the back of his head and marveled at the blood there. He looked at his faint reflection in the opened windowpane and at the room he was in, not recognizing any of it. He ran his bloody hands over his face, leaving a streak across his jaw. Flashing lights beckoned to him from the window. He descended the stairs and opened the door, the lights blinding him.
“Put your hands up!” an officer barked at him.
He complied. “What’s wrong, officer?”
“Shut your mouth, son!” Handcuffs restrained him in an instant, tugging his sleeves up to double-check the sleeves of tattoos along his arms. The officer’s finger slipped through the kid’s gauged earlobe, pulling the tube out and making a face at the dangling empty space. He twirled it around his finger, handing Damian off to another officer. “You’re pretty d*mned clever, but the law will always find your kind.”
“What are you talking about?” Damian demanded. “Aren’t you going to give me my rights?”
“Can it, murderer,” the cop restraining him snapped, shoving him into the car. “You’ll get what’s comin’ to ya. God have mercy on your soul ‘cause prison ain’t gonna.”