ii) The lighthouse rises up


The lighthouse rises up from the sea’s edge on a rocky outcrop, pounded by waves. A goat path winds around it, circling its way to the spire above. Struggling with the cookpot, the team sees a faint light from the top of the lighthouse, as though from a cookfire. Splashing liquid gold, they hurry up the path. A few children, awake with the dawn, follow far behind, grabbing up tiny splotches of wet amber, which melts into mud in their hands.

Exhausted, their breathing ragged, the gang reaches the base of the lighthouse. It stretches into the sky above them, impossibly high. Their muscles go weak at the thought of lugging their iron cookpot to the lighthouse’s summit, even though, with all the spillage, it’s lighter than ever.

Abia knocks upon the lighthouse’s wooden door, waits a beat for no response. She tries the handle; it’s locked. She looks to Cang, offers him a “go ahead” gesture, but he shakes his head, holds up a trembling hand. “Doubt I possess the capacity, at present,” he says.

Abia nods and channels the cells of her body to shift. She gently rests her fingertips against the door, feels its saltwater-pocked grain, delves deep in her mind to the molecules it’s made up of, aligns her own polarity to its.

A wracking, screeching noise drifts forth from the door as splinters appear along its length. Jagged chunks of wood strip and peel, rent away by the force of Abia’s touch. Her glowing eyes are closed.

Fassn grabs a piece to use as a toothpick before realizing his teeth are all gone. He feels at the hard nubs of bone crowning through his tender gums, and sighs.


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