The eilean mor mystery, p.1
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       The Eilean Mor Mystery, p.1

           Eduard Joseph
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The Eilean Mor Mystery


  THE EILEAN MOR MYSTERY

  By Eduard Joseph

  Published by Eduard Joseph

  Copyright 2017 Eduard Joseph

  Front cover design by Eduard Joseph

  Author's official Twitter Page

  Author's official Facebook Page

  This is a work of fiction. The events and characters described herein are imaginary and are

  not intended to refer to specific places or living persons. Any resemblance to any person or

  persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

  All Rights Reserved

  The right of Eduard Joseph to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by him under the South African Copyright Act of 1978 (as amended).

  INTRODUCTION

  Some time during December 1900, the three lighthouse keepers of Eilean Mor, Flannen Isles disappeared without a trace. When the relief keeper, Joseph Moore arrived on the island on 26 December 1900, he immediately knew something was wrong when none of the keepers were there to welcome him on the island landing.

  Moore discovered that the lighthouse door was open, the beds were unmade and the three keepers, James Ducat, Thomas Marshall and William McArthur, were all missing – leaving behind their oilskin coats. A single plate of half-eaten food was still on the kitchen table with an overturned chair as if somebody got up in a hurry while having dinner.

  After reading the lighthouse logbook, Moore discovered that – despite no storms being reported in the area – the logbook indicated that a turbulent storm struck the island on 12 December 1900 and that the keepers were praying for the storm to subside. Entries showed that the storm subsided and whatever happened to the keepers, happened after the storm.

  Moore informed the mainland and an extensive search was conducted for the three men, but nothing was found – not even bodies.

  Moore gave his statement and handed over the logbook for further investigation, but what he didn’t disclose was that he had discovered the personal diary of Thomas Marshall which he had kept to himself; hoping to solve the mystery of the Eilean Mor disappearances.

  10 DECEMBER 1900

  The lighthouse had always been cold in December, but it’s been particularly cold up until now as if God had forsaken this island for some reason without informing us. While on break, I took a stroll around the island like normal and noted that the air outside was not as cold as it was inside the lighthouse – something I found odd since the fireplace usually warmed up our living quarters.

  Being stranded on an island with only Ducat and McArthur for company can take its toll on the mind as there is only so much to talk about. The crisp air outside refreshed my mind; allowing new conversation ideas to be born for the evening that followed.

  Standing on the island landing, staring up at the lighthouse on the highest peak of the island was always an intimidating sight to behold, but as I stood there this afternoon I couldn’t help but feel suffocated by the presence of the lighthouse – an unseen presence that embraced me from behind and suffocated me with both hands around my neck.

  The walk back up to the lighthouse somehow felt foreboding and I willed my legs to continue though my mind wanted me to turn around and run. It was a strange feeling – a feeling that I’ve never had before and as I got up close to the lighthouse, I felt like a child standing before an adult with a whipping cane in his hand.

  The light circled and circled again as the sun set in the distance and I feared it might be the last time we ever saw the light of day.

  McArthur made chicken stew for dinner based on a family recipe he vowed to take to his grave and despite my constant compliments and pleading, he never shared the recipe with me – not that I can cook. I tried making dinner once and we all decided it was in our best interest that I don’t make dinner again.

  After dinner, Ducat and McArthur each settled down with a book and I came to write in my journal. My therapist said it would help to write down my thoughts, so that’s what I do every night. It keeps me from going mad in this utter silence that usually befell the island at night and in the silence it’s not easy to miss a call for help, but Ducat and McArthur both swear they didn’t hear the cries for help that echoed through the night.

  Ducat and I both took a lantern and searched the island, but found nothing. As I sit here writing, I swear to God that the voice sounded familiar – if only I could place it.

  11 DECEMBER 1900

  I couldn’t sleep last night. That voice calling for helped was still ringing in my mind when I got up this morning, so after breakfast I set out on my own to search the area near the lighthouse. As expected, I found nothing but the stairs, its railings and the watery cliffs sharpened by years of abuse by restless waves.

  When I took the empty crates down to the island landing, I noticed that the seagulls acted particularly odd this morning. Normally while the crates stood on the landing awaiting new supplies, the seagulls would swoop down like vultures to see if there was anything worth taking in the crates. This morning, they kept circling above my head looking almost afraid to land. It wasn’t my presence that spooked them as they kept up their odd behavior as I walked back to the lighthouse.

  Ducat was logging when I got back to the lighthouse as was his duty as the Principal Keeper, but he wrote half frantic and seemed oblivious of my presence when I entered. McArthur said Ducat was preoccupied with something he saw on the horizon.

  Though I stood on the watch-room balcony for several minutes staring at the horizon, I saw nothing concerning or out of the ordinary.

  I went back down to the island landing to pick up the crates of new supplies only to be met by the still circling seagulls and empty crates. The supply boat never showed up – unusual in itself as we always received new supplies on Wednesdays.

  A seagull fell at my feet with its neck broken as if it flew into something. Its legs still twitched as the rest of the seagulls flew away and out of sight.

  The walk back to the lighthouse felt never-ending long and as I reached the door to our living quarters, I spotted a blackness over the horizon where the sunset should be. I must have stood there staring at the approaching darkness for a good while as I don’t recall seeing the sun set. Ducat was as white as a sheet as he stood next to me.

  The only words he spoke to me were, “it has arrived.”

  12 DECEMBER 1900

  A storm has been raging since late last night – battering the lighthouse and living quarters like rocks. I’m not quite sure what time it is as the clock in the kitchen seems to have stopped at 2 AM… that was about seven hours ago – give or take a couple of minutes.

  The sky is thick with dark clouds which the sun can’t seem to penetrate today. The sun isn’t the only thing we haven’t seen today. Ducat went to the watch-room when the storm hit and he hasn’t come down since. I checked up on him, but he said he needed to be alone – stating that the darkness was calling to him.

  I tried to radio the mainland, but got only static – something that isn’t uncommon for a storm, but the static sounded almost like a thousand whispers washing over each other to form an inaudible message of doom.

  It’s been hours since the sunrise that never came and I found myself praying to a God I didn’t believe in to bring an end to the relentless storm that was visibly moving the island deeper out to sea. McArthur was crying at the kitchen table and seemed oblivious of anything around him – even ignoring me when I laid a hand on his shoulder. He felt cold and wet though he was clearly dry.

  The crying stopped abruptly as I made myself a cup of coffee and then I was alone. McArthur was gone. I searched the living quarters, but found no trace of him and I put on an oilskin coat against my better judgment.

&nbs
p; One can easily get lost in a storm, but getting lost in a storm on an island this small is unheard of. The moment I stepped out into the storm looking for McArthur, I knew I made a mistake. I swear I only took two or three steps out into the pounding storm, but when I turned around to go back inside, the lighthouse was hundreds of feet away – its light battling to be seen in the choking hold of the storm.

  I still can’t explain it even if I tried, but with every hurried step I took towards the lighthouse, it seemed to get farther and farther away from me until it eventually surrendered to the darkness of the storm. At one point I nearly stumbled and fell over the side of the island to a rocky death, but it was only by God’s grace that I didn’t. Why was He protecting me when I had such a hard time believing in Him?

  I must have walked two or three miles in a straight line without ever reaching the lighthouse, rocky shoreline or the island landing and after hours of battling to walk upright in the ferocious storm, I heard the calls for help again somewhere in the windy darkness that consumed everything around me. Though I called out several times, the person in need never responded directly to my calls; instead they kept on calling for help until their voice dissipated into the howling wind.

  I found myself circling around myself in search of the person in distress only to find myself standing on the doorstep of the
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