Gunfire erupted around me. My comrades fell, one by one being shot by the enemy, their blood staining the stone streets. I dove behind a small wall built with sandbags. I knew it wouldn’t save me, but it at least gave me a few moments more of life.
When the shooting stopped I became even more afraid. I was at peace with the thought of dying for my country, but if the line of bullets ceased that could only mean one thing: the enemy was coming. They wouldn’t kill anyone they found; no, they wanted them alive. Alive to torture them. To extract information from them.
That is what I feared. I pulled my service pistol from its holster and brought it to my head, my face wet with sweat and tears. I could not be taken alive. The weapon was cocked and loaded, and I was just about to pull the trigger, but I couldn’t. She stopped me. Thoughts of my wife, of happier times.
I quickly put the gun away, knowing that no matter what I must try to stay alive. For her. For us. She was my beacon of hope, my only reason to live.
Then the bullets came again.
One sliced through my arm, another my chest. Searing pain rushed through my body, begging for death so that the pain would be no more.
~ :: ~
I sat up in my bed, by body dripping with sweat. I shook my head and rubbed my face. Just a nightmare. That’s it, just another nightmare. It wasn’t real.
I pulled the covers off me and got out of bed. I walked toward the bathroom and let the water run, splashing it on my face. As I reached for a towel I glanced out the bathroom window to see nothing but the blackness of the waves, dotted with glimmering light as the moon and stars touched the surface. For a brief second a bright, incandescent light made its way clockwise across the waters. A few moments later the light appeared again, and immediately I thought of her again.
Through her help I made it home, back to safety, back to my family. I survived the war, survived the nightmares. We had an amazing life together, full of happiness and delight until old age claimed her. But I thank her and God for every moment of life we had. Every moment I still live.
Now here I am, the watchmen of the waters. The sole occupant of this lighthouse. Just as her beacon kept me alive, now I am the beacon to others to guide them to safety. To keep them alive.