My name is Gloria West, I’m a writer. I’m best known for my non-fiction writing on surviving in the wild. From time to time I’ll dabble in fiction writing. But typically, I enjoy explaining reality rather than fantasy. I’ve never been a whimsical type of person, so I guess you’d probably call me practical. I mostly just enjoy living in reality though.
Currently, I’m in a bit of a slump. My last book completely flopped, and my agent is rightfully furious. How was I supposed to know that a book about the ins and out of dirt collecting was too boring for any readers? Anyway, in order to get some inspiration for a much-needed new book. I’ve decided to move to the east coast. I found an old lighthouse for sale, having always been a fan of such things. I immediately bought it with what I had saved up.
The drive across the country was a long one, but a much-needed one. It allowed me some time to think about where my life was going. By the time I arrived in the small village Brightwell the sun was slowly peeking over the Pacific Ocean through the fog. Making my way along the long and twisty road leading out of town I saw my new home sitting in the distance. The old lighthouse beacon was already on, turning slowly in the early morning sunrise.
My Volkswagen came to a slow stop in the driveway leading up to the lighthouse. Letting out a relieved breath I shut my car off. Though I had only lived just a few states away, the distance seemed far greater now that I had traveled it. It never ceased to amaze me how big this world was.
Yawning, I slowly got out of my car and stretched. “Sweet Jesus that was rough!” I announced to no one cracking my back. My voice and the sound of my back echoed in the silence. It was then I realized just how far my home was from other people.
While during my childhood I lived in a cabin in the mountains with my grandparents, after I got older, I had moved to the city. I guess I had gotten used to the sounds of other people because of how deafening the silence was.
Distantly I heard a foghorn and relaxed, it was good to know there would still be some noise despite the lack of people. If it had been completely silent out here, I'm sure I would've gone insane.
As the sun rose further up, I heard other sounds of the ocean as the world woke up. The seagulls began to make their screeching calls as they flew overhead and distantly I thought I heard the sound of singing.
Pausing in the middle of pulling a box out of the back of my Volkswagon I strained my ears. It sounded so far away, yet so close... My eyes widened as I sat down the box on the edge of the tailgate and pulled my phone from my pocket.
Sure enough, it was still on with music playing through the headphones. Rolling my eyes at myself, I turned off the music. For a moment there, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't almost expecting some sort of singing specter down on the beach. But with all things 'supernatural,' there was always a logical explanation.
"Huh, maybe I should do my next book on ghost hunting?" I asked myself aloud as I lifted on the box and headed towards the door of the lighthouse. I made a mental note of the story idea as I sat down the box next to the door. Looking at the small stack of boxes forming. I decided that was enough to start lugging some of them inside.
Most of the much heavier furniture had already been moved in a week prior to my arrival. Or at least that had been the hope... I would forever be burned by Blackburn and Son's moving company for stealing my furniture back in college. With a small breath of hesitancy, I pulled out my keys and opened the door.
You could imagine my relief to see all my furniture there and ready for me. "Wow, they even set up," I spoke to myself, it was probably a bad habit to talk to myself like this. But I had been doing it too long to stop now. The good news was, however, some of my best conversations had been with myself. So thankfully I was good company.
Stuffing my keys back into my pocket, I bent down to pick up the first of many boxes. Just as I stooped down, a car pulled up in my gravel driveway. Quickly standing up with my guard raised, I carefully watched as the car came to an idle and someone got out of the car.
A part of me, despite myself, lessened my guard at the sight of the middle-aged woman stepping out of the car. "Hello~!" She greeted in a sing-song voice. Her hair was cut short, like mine, into that typical soccer mom cut you'd expect.
She waved at me before reaching back into her car and pulling out a covered tin pan. "Hi!" She greeted again as she shut the door to her jeep and walked over. She was wearing a hot pink dress with hot pink heels.
Though I thought there were only stories and rumors, it seemed that it was my first encounter with a Stepford wife. Faintly, I wondered if she would be a robot as well...
Stopping just a few feet from me she gave me a big smile. "Hi there, my name's Veronica I'm your neighbor!" She said before motioning over to the extremely nice house in the distance. "Hi, Veronica." I greeted, "My name's Gloria." I introduced myself just as Veronica looked me up and down.
A thought occurred to me and I prayed to whatever God that would listen that Veronica wasn't going to say what I think she was.
"It's so good to have a new neighbor." She said cheerfully, relief filled my entire being and I thanked the God that listened to my prayer. "It's even better to know that we have such an interesting one!" Oh God no...
"I've never been neighbors with a lesbian before!" She spoke casually with a laugh, "Not since college anyway." She added with a playful wink. I winced at this and silently cursed whatever God who did this.
I awkwardly laughed along with her, "It's that obvious huh?" I asked as Veronica smiled, "Well I do have a bit of a gaydar!" She looked way too proud of herself when she said that. My eyes looked over to the lesbian flag decal on my Volkswagon. She also had eyes as well. But sure, let's go with gaydar.
"Anywho!" Veronica spoke up, apparently not noticing my displeasure at her presence. "Since you're just moving in, you probably don't have a lot of food stocked up!" Veronica said handing over the tray. Inside was lukewarm casserole of some sort.
My guess is she probably left it out to cool while getting ready. An action that was both very thoughtful, because I wasn't being burned and strangely efficient. I silently checked off one box on my mental list for robotic characteristics for Veronica.
"Thanks," I said taking the tray awkwardly into my arms. Veronica then apparently noticed all the boxes. "Oh dear, you've got quite a bit to move by yourself! Looks like you could use a man to help you out!" She spoke with concern.
My eyes rolled, never in my life had I ever needed a man to help me carry boxes. The only time I ever needed a man was when I got stuck in a tree when I was six. "I think I can manage on my own," I spoke up, still, despite myself trying to be polite.
"Are you sure? I could call my hubby and he could help-." Veronica offered, I cut her off however, "I'm fine!" I snapped. Realizing how harshed I sounded I then repeated myself in a much softer tone. "I'm fine."
"Alright then." Veronica slowly backed off, finally getting the message. "You might want to get everything in before nightfall." She said increasing the distance as she headed towards the car. "There's supposed to be a big storm coming." She spoke just before she got back into her car.
"Will do," I said waving her off, though I felt bad for snapping at her. I was glad to see her leave. The whole reason why I even bought this place was so I didn't have to deal with as many people like that. Veronica gave me one last wave before peeling off.
My guess is I won't have to speak to her again after an incident like that.
Carrying the tray into my house, I sat the casserole onto my table. I took a quick scan of the room to see that most of the furniture was set up but none of the decorations were put out. I supposed that was fair, after all, they had no idea how I wanted things. But it did also add yet another thing onto my growing list of things to do.
"I probably won't get to write today." I mused aloud before heading back outside to get the rest of my stuff inside. If Veronica was right, then it was best to get as much in as possible.
I continued on with carrying in each of the heavy boxes inside. I got about half of them carried in before I decided it was time for a break. Shutting the hatchback to my Volkswagon I headed inside to get a bite of some of the casserole that Veronica provided.
At least lunch would be one thing that I wouldn't have to do myself for today. Walking over to my table after shutting the door, much to my displeasure. The casserole was ice cold now. Letting out a sigh I opened up the tray before placing it into the oven. I was sure a few minutes in the oven would warm it right back up.
In the meantime, I looked to the stacks of boxes deciding to start unpacking everything.
Cutting open the first box, I pulled out my printer. It was one of those cheapo twenty-five dollar printers you got at any one of those big box stores. I had bought like at least eight in the past, this was the newest in the ever-growing line of printers.
You'd think I'd spend the extra money not to buy a more expensive one. But I'm not technologically inclined enough to figure out all the other bells and whistles that came with the more expensive models. After all, I just needed something that printed. Nothing else.
Getting caught up in unpacking the memory of the casserole slipped into the back of my mind. As I opened about my third or fourth box, I suddenly smelt something odd. Sniffing the air, it almost smelt like...
"Oh, God! The casserole!" I screamed rushing towards my kitchen tripping on some empty boxes along the way. I fell face-first onto the floor before scrambling to my feet. As soon as I opened the oven door the smoke alarms sounded off from the massive cloud of black smoke that came pouring out of the oven.
Coughing and cursing, I quickly pulled out the pan from the oven and threw it into the sink letting water run over it. The smoke died down somewhat, but my eyes burned from the smoke that lingered still. Coughing a little bit more, I begrudgingly headed towards the door.
I had to eat and I couldn't stay in the house while smoke filled it like this. Taking a moment before I left, I cracked one of my windows open just enough to let the smoke air out while I was gone.
I had serious doubts that anyone would break-in. If they did, well there wasn't much to steal. Unless they really liked stationery and beach-themed decorations.
Closing and locking the door behind me I looked up at the sky to see the previously sunny day slowly becoming more and more grey. I supposed it was some of that wonderful 'New England' weather that I had heard about before moving.
Heading to my car I was greeted by a couple of bikers riding past on their bicycles they seemed to be apart of some sort of local cross country biking group judging by their outfits. Giving them a wave I hopped into my car and headed off towards Brightwell to pick up some food and supplies for the apparent storm coming.
Brightwell, all in all, seemed to be a very safe and normal port town. As I drove into the village I saw fishermen docking their boats on the docks nearby. It seemed most people tended to walk here, judging by the number of people walking around along the main street through town.
Making my way towards the grocery store, after fighting with myself about wanting fast food. I parked in their small parking lot and went inside. The store seemed to be locally owned due to the lack of name branding littered through the store. Though a popular soda brand did seem to be sponsoring them. Or at least that's what I assumed from the single old neon sign of their outdated logo.
Grabbing a cart I began strolling through the aisles of the store. Naturally, I got a few looks from people shopping. It was a small town and I was a new face. So I tried not to assume anything of the people staring.
Grabbing some canned goods, some candles, a few flashlights, and various other odds and ends I headed towards the front. Just as I rounded a corner my shopping cart crashed into another.
"Oh terribly sorry!" A male voice sounded out, looking up I saw a young man around my age. He was average looking, attractive if you were into the clean-cut nerdy look. But for obvious reasons... I wasn't. "It's alright," I spoke up not interested. I went to head towards the checkout but was stopped by the man.
"You just moved into the old lighthouse didn't you?" He asked smiling at me. I looked down into his cart to see bags of dog and cat food filling most of it. "I did," I replied looking back up at him. He stuck his hand out for me to shake, "I'm Joshua Stutton! I'm the local veterinarian!"
Staring at him for just a moment, I sighed before shaking his hand. "Gloria West." I greeted. Joshua grinned at me, "Nice to meet you Gloria!" he said smiling. I gave him a half-hearted smile back. "Nice to meet you too," I said before beginning to walk away. "Now if you excuse me, I have to head back home to finish unpacking," I announced heading for the checkout. "Don't let me keep you waiting then!" Joshua called after me, I rolled my eyes.
Checking out, I realized why stores like these didn't last long once a bigger boxed store came in. They charged way too much. For what little I got I ended up spending nearly fifty dollars. On top of that, what I got was so cheaply made I could've probably bought it wholesale for less!
But I was tired and hungry so I didn't make a fuss about it. Heading out to my car I heard Joshua's voice call after me. "Feel free to stop by the animal shelter any time!" I waved without looking at him before loading up my car and taking off.
As I drove the clouds came rolling in more and more. What started as a light sprinkle quickly became quite the storm. Crawling slowly up to the lighthouse I parked the car and grabbed what I could before rushing inside.
The window that I had left open was now wide open from the winds and letting in a lot of water. Rushing over I did my best to shut the window before it made even more of a mess.
Looking down at the box that I left under the window I sighed seeing it soaked. "Why the hell did I leave that under there!" I cursed my own stupidity. Cleaning up the mess as much as I could. I settled down to cook, by now, the smell of smoke had faded away and had been replaced by the smell of the ocean.
Sitting down to eat, I listened to the storm rage outside. Faintly, I heard the sound of music again. But I assumed it was my phone laying playing some music through my headphones once more. But I was too lazy to get up and check.
The howls of the wind grew even louder, eventually, I couldn't hear the music anymore. By that time it was late into the night and I headed to bed.
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