Prompt words: bells, St. Nicholas, ships, harbor, lighthouse WC: 626
|Angela sit in the swing on the weather beaten wooden porch staring out across the harbor. Around her shoulders was her grandmother's silver faux mink blanket. The one Granny Tillie's first husband had given her when he purposed marriage. Until that day she had never questioned any of her grandmother's stories, but now she wondered if anything the old woman had told her was true or just the figment of her aged imagination.
"I shouldn't have gone to the lighthouse," she said as she watched the lights of the fleeing ships recede into the ocean darkness. "I should have evacuated St. Nicholas with everyone else. Instead I had to go looking for something that never existed. A myth. The ravings of a demented old woman. The bells of St. Nicholas never existed any more then any of Granny Tillie's husbands."
"Angela," masculine voice reverberated through the port's empty streets. "Angela, I'm not a myth. My bells aren't a myth. You must find them and ring them before the solstice dawn. Or this island will be crushed beneath the pack ice of the coming winter."
Angela sighed, stood up, folded the blanket, and laid it on the swing. "Now I know I'm going crazy," she descended the steps into the front yard. "Not only am I talking to myself, but I'm hearing the voice of St. Nicholas himself." She walked through the front gate, stopped, looked both ways, and started toward the lighthouse sitting at the crest of Yule Hill. The bells weren't in the lighthouse, where her grandmother had said they would be.
Angela stopped, her brow wrinkled. "Granny did say the bells were in the lighthouse, didn't she?" Angela wasn't sure about her grandmother's exact words. Her grandmother had died when Angela was ten years old. So much had happened in the last fifteen years, so many people had died because of the dropping global temperatures that survival had become the focus of everyone on Earth. The United Nations, the only governmental body still capable of world wide communications had ordered everyone over 2869 km from the the equator to evacuate.
"Could Granny have meant the old church next to the lighthouse?" Angela continued toward the hill that lay in the center of town. The church had been abandoned for decades. Angela knew that it, like the lighthouse next to it, was untouched by the passage of time. The hill itself remained snow free in the coldest winter. Strangers always commented on the uncanny warmth of Yule Hill and its structures. No one, native or tourist, ever climbed the hill or entered the buildings at night because of the sparkling mist that covered the crest of the hill.
Pausing at the foot of the hill, Angela looked up into the mist that seemed to be creeping toward her. Taking a deep breath, she ascended the hill ignoring the warning flashing in her mind. She stopped when she came to the church's double oak doors and glanced around her. She could feel someone staring at her, but she knew she was alone. Pushing the doors open Angela entered the sanctuary. Around her the air glowed with a pale white light that seemed to pulse as she moved toward a staircase that appeared to ascend to upper story.
She stepped into the bell tower and looked around. In the center were two bells hanging from the roof. She search for the ropes she though should be hanging from them. When she found no rope, she stood on tiptoe and touched one of the bells. She lost her balance pushing on the bell before falling face down onto the stone floor. As she lay there she heard the bells begin their ringing growing louder as the minutes passed.