By Kathy Sharp
He had fled to the top of the lighthouse shouting, “I’ll be ready for the flood! I shan’t be caught unawares!”
The lighthouse keeper was furious, seeing as Mr Fazakerly was obstructing the light, and thus posing a danger to shipping. As to persuading him to come down, every approach seemed to have failed, and there he stayed, obstinately clinging to the rail.
Mrs Fazakerly was furious, too. “It’s all the fault of that fortune teller – came to town with that travelling fair – told him water would be the death of him. It’s outrageous, frightening people like that. Ought to be illegal. Convinced himself he’s to be drowned in a flood – and now look at him!” She gazed hopelessly up at the distant figure of her husband at the top of the tower.
The lighthouse keeper tended to agree. How was he supposed to make a proper job of tending to the building – much less keep the light in good order – with a crazed man hurling himself about the place, screeching about impending floods and generally getting in the way? Should he consult his superiors? Demand that Mr Fazakerly be formally removed, as an impediment to lawful lighthouse-keeping? It was the best plan, and a note of complaint was duly written and sent. In the meantime, though, life, and light, must go on, Fazakerly or no Fazakerly.
And so the sober and proper upkeep of the building continued. The lighthouse keeper, a fastidious man by nature, discovered a trail of muddy footprints all the way up the spiral staircase. “Didn’t even stop to wipe his feet, that Fazakerly. Scandalous.”
It was not to be borne, and though it was late in the day, a mop and bucket were carried to the top, and the laborious cleansing of the many steps begun. But it was growing dark, and the lighthouse keeper stopped to tend the light. Normal service must be maintained, he thought, as far as possible under the circumstances.
But Mr Fazakerly, blinded equally by terror and the startling light, barged past him yelling, “The flood! The flood is coming!”
As the lighthouse keeper said at the inquest: “Pushed past me, your honour – very rude – tripped over my bucket, and went bump, bump, bump, crash, bump all the way down the stairs. Broke his neck somewhere on the way down. Buckled my bucket, too.”
Mrs Fazakerly, in deep mourning, told her neighbours about the prophetic warning of the fortune teller. “Water would be the death of him, she said, and she was right. But it wasn’t a flood, like he thought, oh dear, no. It was just a bucketful did for Fazakerly.”
About the author
For full details of all Kathy's books, follow her on her Amazon page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kathy-Sharp/e/B00E5BJ0BK/
Whales and Strange Stars. Lovely historical novel set in the marshlands of 18th century Kent.
‘The sense of place is perfectly captured, and the writing just dances off the page. Highly recommended.’ myBook.to/WhalesAndStrangeStars